What is a space elevator, and why would it be so useful?
What sort of material could we build a space elevator from?
Why do different materials have different properties?
What are carbon nanotubes, and how can we learn about them?
In this module we will address the following questions: Images: Benuzter:Scharm@wikipedia
Space Elevator Concept Artist Pat Rawlings concept of a space elevator viewed from the geostationary transfer station looking down along the length of the elevator toward Earth. Image: Courtesy Pat Rawlings
On 20 May the toilet broke down on the International Space Station…..
It wasn’t until 5 June that a shuttle arrived with the parts needed to repair the toilet.
That’s a very long time to wait.
Imagine if the astronauts and cosmonauts were running out of water, or air? How could the repair parts be delivered to them in time?
Space Elevator: A New Way To Reach The Stars
The Space Elevator is a cable-like tool which could connect the Earth with a fixed structure in outer space. - It would provide a permanent link between Earth and outer space.
Image: Courtesy The Enterprise Mission
Let’s Learn More About Space Elevators View the Space Elevator animation and then conduct research as guided by your teacher. Image: Courtesy Pat Rawlings
Space Elevator: Summary Image: Courtesy The Enterprise Mission
The Space Elevator is a theoretical concept. - it would provide a permanent link between Earth and space.
The cable in a Space Elevator could only be constructed from an extremely strong, flexible and lightweight material, such as carbon nanotubes.
Activities Activity 1 – T-Chart Examine the Space Elevator concept further by using the T chart to compare current technologies with the Space Elevator Activity 2 – KWLH Start the process of researching the Space Elevator in preparation for a later performance activity using the KWLH chart
Properties Of Carbon Nanotubes Image: [email_address]
– 200 times stronger than steel.
– the first synthetic material to have greater strength than spider silk.
– 1 square kilometre = 30kg
– Compared to most materials.
– resists burning like a metal.
Carbon Nanotubes? Image: [email_address]
How can we explain the properties of carbon nanotubes?
What about other forms of carbon?
Experiment 1 Forms Of Carbon
Use these molecular images to do the Forms of Carbon Experiment
Forms Of Carbon: Nanotubes Images Top to Bottom: Mstroeck@wikipedia, Pat Rawlings Properties: strong, light, metal-like Molecular structure: carbon atoms in regular, tubular structure Application: space elevator cable
Forms Of Carbon: Buckyball Images Top to Bottom: Mstroeck@wikipedia, compujeramy@flickr Properties: light, semi-conductor or superconductor Molecular structure: carbon atoms in regular, circular structure Application: improved electronics
Forms Of Carbon: Diamond Images Clockwise: betsssssy@flickr, swamibu@flickr, wikipedia Properties: hard, clear, disperses light Molecular structure: carbon atoms in crystal structure Application: drill bits, jewellery
Forms Of Carbon: Graphite Images Clockwise: Wikipedia , orangeacid@flickr, compujeramey @flickr, [email_address] Properties: light, super lubricating, conductor Molecular structure: sheets of carbon atoms in regular, flat structure Application: pencil, sport equipment, electronics
Space Elevator: Performance Image: emeryjl@flickr
Write and perform a 5-10 minute drama that will teach other students and adults about space elevators and carbon nanotubes.
Groups of 5
Performance must include at least 10 scientific facts
Could You Win? Image: spaceward.org
Currently The Spaceward Foundation is running two competitions to design the space elevator.
A total of US$ 4 million is up for grabs.
Design either the climber (the elevator unit) or the tether (the “string”)
Activity 3 - Performance Create a performance to teach others about the Space Elevator and Carbon Nanotubes.
The Space Elevator is a new concept possible due to nanotechnology
Carbon nanotubes are a form of carbon, and have unique properties which can be explained by understanding their molecular structure
With proper referencing, the internet can be used as a first ‘port of call’ for new information and research
Why do scientists want to design a space elevator?
Carbon nanotubes would be an important construction material in the space elevator. Explain how and why they would be used.
List as many different types of carbon that you can.
What causes the types of carbon to have different properties?