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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Science Fiction/Science Fact


The process of coming together or the state of having come together toward a common point.
An example where Science Fiction may become Science Fact....

From Wikipedia
The Fountains of Paradise is a 1979 novel by Arthur C. Clarke. Set in the 22nd century, it describes the construction of a space elevator. This orbital "beanstalk" is a giant structure rising from the ground and linking with a satellite in geostationary at the height of approximately 36,000 kilometers (approx. 22,300 miles). Such a structure would be used to raise payloads to orbit without having to use rockets, making it much more cost-effective.

and from NASA:

Sept. 7, 2000 -- "Yes, ladies and gentlemen, welcome aboard NASA's Millennium-Two Space Elevator. Your first stop will be the Lunar-level platform before we continue on to the New Frontier Space Colony development. The entire ride will take about 5 hours, so sit back and enjoy the trip. As we rise, be sure to watch outside the window as the curvature of the Earth becomes visible and the sky changes from deep blue to black, truly one of the most breathtaking views you will ever see!"

Does this sound like the Sci-Fi Channel or a chapter out of Arthur C. Clarke's, Fountains of Paradise? Well, it's not. It is a real possibility -- a "space elevator" -- that researchers are considering today as a far-out space transportation system for the next century.

David Smitherman of NASA/Marshall's Advanced Projects Office has compiled plans for such an elevator that could turn science fiction into reality. His publication, Space Elevators: An Advanced Earth-Space Infrastructure for the New Millennium, is based on findings from a space infrastructure conference held at the Marshall Space Flight Center last year. The workshop included scientists and engineers from government and industry representing various fields such as structures, space tethers, materials, and Earth/space environments.

"This is no longer science fiction," said Smitherman. "We came out of the workshop saying, 'We may very well be able to do this.'"

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