Wednesday, June 29, 2011
There have been some crazy ideas out there for building "stairways to heaven," the most widely known of which is the space elevator. The space fountain, however, has been proposed as an alternative to the space elevator. The fountain has the advantage that it does not require a satellite to be in geosynchronous orbit and could thus be built anywhere. The idea is to simply build a massive tower to reach into space. So far no material can handle the weight of such a large structure, however, so the idea is to shoot pellets from the ground along a tube to replace solid beams. The force of redirecting the pellets would hold the fountain rigid enough that an elevator, or any number of things, could be built onto it.