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Fun Things to do with Six Trillion Dollars, No. 16. Space Elevators. Lots of Space Elevators.

February 16, 2015



We can afford lots of these.  And they’ll pay for themselves before you know it.  So much energy and cost is involved burning rocket fuel to get stuff to escape the earth’s gravitational pull.

The best estimate for construction costs of a space elevator is 40 billion dollars.  So let’s more than double the best estimate and say 100 billion dollars.  That’s 60 space elevators we could build.  Ten per continent – though Oceania should probably give half of theirs to Asia.

Or we could of course spend our six trillion on other stuff on my ever swelling list:

Though apparently first imagined in 1895, recent technological advances are making the Space Elevator look surprisingly feasible.  A boron nitride nanotube is fit for the purpose I’m told.   It is anchored on earth while centrifugal force keeps the far end in place.   It is thought that a functioning space elevator could dramatically reduce the cost of sending people, robots, and other stuff, into orbit.  At present it costs about $25000 dollars to send a kilogram of anything into space.  With a space elevator, this cost could be reduced to just $220.

Now the great thing about having these space elevators is that some of the other things on the list could be done a lot cheaper.  Like the stuff to do comet/asteroid smashers that will prevent the destruction of all life on this planet.  And then there’s the putting giant solar energy panel strip all around the moon and beaming the energy back to earth via microwaves.  And Martian colonisation could be made a lot easier too if we had those space elevators.  Building huge great spacey stuff in zero gravity makes a deal of sense in any case.

Of course, doing all those other things might well be contingent upon taxing the Lords of Offshore more than once.  The idea of the Lords of Offshore being made to pay a modest 25% in tax perhaps twice in the space of twenty years.  Such an imposition of Rule of Law would be a scandalous affront to the sacred primacy of plutocratic hegemony.

Even if a space elevator were to prove a practical impossibility, then throwing 6 trillion at the problem would, without doubt, result in a wealth of exciting related discoveries.  Or we could just do what we have been doing.  Agree with the invertebrate governments of the world that rich people should be allowed to keep our money – dig a big hole in the ground in the Cayman Islands and throw the money in the hole to prevent anything fun ever being done with it.

Perhaps we could split our six trillion and just buy 30 space elevators.  We could spend the other 3 trillion on the asteroid smasher or the giant solar strip.  And with 30 space elevators to build such things – we might even have some change left over.

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