Carbon Nanotubes- Good for space travel?Can Carbon Nano Tubes be used as the "LIFT" for a space elevator. Carbon Nano Tube is the hardest thing known to man, the problem is that humans can create...

Carbon Nanotubes- Good for space travel?Can Carbon Nano Tubes be used as the "LIFT" for a space elevator. Carbon Nano Tube is the hardest thing known to man, the problem is that humans can create very little of it at a time. But if there was an abundant supply Of these, could it be used for the theoretical "space elevator"

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Even if possible, there are still a lot of other problems to get through before this technology can be useful in the mainstream.  For one thing, the cost and development time is very prohibitive currently.  I suppose that’s true of most space technologies!

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

According to scientists at prestigious Cambridge University, yes, because versatile but brittle carbon nanotubes can now be softened and elongated. The softening technology seems to still be top-secret since I can't track down a press release or study publication, but the elongation is accomplished by joining multiple single nanotubes together. NASA has requested 144,000 miles of carbon nanotube tether to provide the pull for an elevator car to be moved along a track to a space station. NASA offered a $4 million prize for this breakthrough because they must retire their shuttle fleet and don't have the funding (which obviously will exceed $4 million) to replace the retired fleet with a new generation of shuttles.

"This isn't going to happen for probably the next decade at least, but in theory this is now possible ... [because of] advance in [nanotube] materials for the tether." (John Winter of EuroSpaceWard. Phys.org)

"This isn't going to happen probably for the next decade at least, but in theory this is now possible. The advances in materials for the tether are very exciting."

Read more at: http://phys.org/news151938445.html#jCp
"This isn't going to happen probably for the next decade at least, but in theory this is now possible. The advances in materials for the tether are very exciting."

Read more at: http://phys.org/news151938445.html#jCp
"This isn't going to happen probably for the next decade at least, but in theory this is now possible. The advances in materials for the tether are very exciting."

Read more at: http://phys.org/news151938445.html#jCp
Sources:
a19360's profile pic

a19360 | Student | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

It is possible but very costly for we have not mastered nanotechnology. Especially when it is used at a large scale. Each gram of nanotubes costs at least 300 USD; a space elevator will need tons of nanotubing. 

NASA needs about 144,000 miles of nanotube to build an elevator, small nanotubes are made into longer ones, but the stability of the nanotube at such length is still questioned.

Source: http://phys.org/news151938445.html

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