Speaker Review: LiftPort
by Georgia Ball
June 6, 2005
LiftPort representative Tom Nyugent presented for Cartoonists Northwest in May to a packed room. The audience was eager to learn about LiftPort’s vision for the future, mass transportation systems that will open up access to the solar system. At the center of this vision is the Space Elevator, a revolutionary transportation service that will make expensive and dangerous rocket liftoffs a less significant part of getting into space.
The Space Elevator is essentially a ribbon extending from Earth beyond geosynchronous orbit, the point at which an orbiting object is going at the same speed as the Earth’s rotation. The bottom of the ribbon would be attached to a base in the ocean that can be adjusted to avoid lightning storms and other hazards that might damage its construction. Outward centripetal acceleration and the competing forces of gravity keeps the ribbon under tension, and once it is in a stationary position, it can be ascended mechanically to orbit. The initial Space Elevator would be a thin ribbon made of carbon nanotubes, strong enough to lift objects along its length, and eventually an even stronger, thicker version would be built to carry passengers. For more information about how the Space Elevator would be built, how it would function, and what effects it would have on the environment, visit LiftPort’s FAQ.
We were also treated with a showing of the concept work by LiftPort artist, Nyein Aung. Nyein is an accomplished watercolorist and industrial designer who will be participating in Spawns alongside the members. A full gallery of his work can be seen here.
LiftPort is the proud sponsor of this year’s Cartoonists Northwest Spawns of Insomnia. They will be giving out cash prizes to participants who complete their 24 page comic book stories and a special prize for best story. To participate fully in the race for prizes, contestants must include a science fiction theme in their comic and mention the exciting Space Elevator. Spawns of Insomnia will be held September 1-4 at the Sea-Tac Hilton and will be hosted by Cascadia Con, the Northwest’s most exhaustive science fiction convention.