Since a space elevator is out of the question, due to the fact humans suck at making materials strong enough to do it, why not make a space mountain?
Just build a mega mountain that reaches to or past the Karman line. Then people can WALK to space!
Imagine a 100km high man made mega mountain (Mount Everest altitude is only 29km high)
Edge and Base Cone Length 115.47km long (based on an equilateral triangle)
Volume: 349,000km cubed/83729.5527 miles cubed
Weight: 92.4 million megatons (0.0000015% of the weight of the Earth or 184.8 billion 'BelAZ 75710' dump truck loads)
We'd probably need to build 2 of these on the equator. One opposite the other on the other side of the world. This would be to prevent too much trouble with changing the spin of the planet. Though, these would increase the spin of the planet, but probably balance out the slowing effect all the main made lakes/ponds have around the world to some degree.
You can launch and land space craft from the Space Mountain all day and never have to worry about a shit load of things. Suddenly, space travel is cheap and easy.
How feasible, from a physics standpoint, is this? Could it physically be done and what impact would it have on space travel? I don't care about money and politics. Obviously, special equipment would need to be made to truck stuff up past a certain altitude, but that doesn't matter either since it could be done easily, we put shit on Mars after all.
>sorry for the shitty maths and non-/sci/-approved units, but you get the idea I'm sure
>Just build a mega mountain that reaches to or past the Karman line.
Material science isn't simply there to build such an object.
Carbon nanotube production is still in its infancy. Metallic foams and programmable buckyballs is, again, still being worked on.
And despite ambitious attempts by billionaires to build arcologies, we don't have anything taller than what's sitting in Malaysia. We don't have best building practices down yet.
Such arcologies, pyramid buildings, etc won't be around for a very...very long time.
Aside from that, theoretically it is possible to build such a structure, if we had the right building materials.
>Material science isn't simply there to build such an object.
It is. You literally just pile shit up in the form of a giant mountain. The real problem is that it will sink. That is, make the entire Earth's crust sink in that spot. The more you pile, the more it sinks. The only way for it to work is to have a completely cold core in the Earth and everything be solid under the crust. You'd always end up with a Mount Everest-sized tip sticking up out of the crust regardless of how much you built. With light weight, strong materials you MIGHT get to 35km.
1) We can't build anything remotely that high. The square cube law (the same reason an ant can lift many times its own weight and you can't) applies to structures too. Mount Everest is already pretty close to the theoretical limit for how tall a mountain can be without collapsing under its own weight. That's why planets are round in the first place! If you built it out of some exotic material you could get higher, but not THAT high.
2) Even if you could, it wouldn't make space travel easier. Getting to space is about moving fast, not getting high up. That's what almost all the fuel us for. If you launched from that high up you would save SOME - but first you'd have to climb an impossibly tall mountain...
>It is. You literally just pile shit up in the form of a giant mountain. The real problem is that it will sink. That is, make the entire Earth's crust sink in that spot. The more you pile, the more it sinks.
I was referring to building megastructures using extremely lightweight yet durable materials, not cardboard, 2 x 4 studs, sheetrock nails and used tampons.
>The only way for it to work is to have a completely cold core in the Earth and everything be solid under the crust. You'd always end up with a Mount Everest-sized tip sticking up out of the crust regardless of how much you built. With light weight, strong materials you MIGHT get to 35km.
I forgot the term, but construction engineers have a limit that is imposed on such heights given today's technology.
Right now I think the highest object that we can theoretically build that is both stable and usable is 2 miles.
>You literally just pile shit up in the form of a giant mountain. The real problem is that it will sink. That is, make the entire Earth's crust sink in that spot. The more you pile, the more it sinks. The only way for it to work is to have a completely cold core in the Earth and everything be solid under the crust.
That's not true. You can't build that high even with an infinitely solid foundation.
Sure you can. Th only real problem is that it'd be so fucking massive that the atmosphere and gravity would shift to include it and the net benefit to space travel would be negated quite a bit. This is because the base would be massive and the mountain would be more like a rounded shape instead of a cone like in the OP.
>Th only real problem is that it'd be so fucking massive that the atmosphere and gravity would shift to include it and the net benefit to space travel would be negated quite a bit
One of the fundamental problems facing engineers over building super tall structures atmospheric drag. The higher you go, the winds get stronger and stronger. Eventually superstructures (like the one you're talking about) wouldn't stand up to jet stream winds because there is nothing there to provide rigidity. The components to your "trash pyramid" would simply blow away, erode or topple over.
>BUT IT WOULD COLLAPSE UNDER ITS OWN WEIGHT!
A space cable, not in earth's gravity.
A space mountain, maybe. Structurally it is said that chewing gum could reach if the base covered just over half the planet. Everest gets pretty high and it is not made of high performance materials. That said crust deformation and other limits are a notable concern.
Still if it was just over 20km tall it would cut out most of the atmosphere and have very stable weather patterns for an ideal launch platform. Build a electromagnet accelerator track to assist ships. Still need old fashion rockets for that final push, but overall it would make reaching orbit much easier and is well within our abilities. Granted the construction of that kind would be a global undertaking the likes that will never happen politically or economically.
I say cut out the base and just make a floating city, it is actually easier than many think if it is built big enough to get favorable bouncy effects.
\\ A building taller than a mountain seems preposterous. But according to Baker, it's entirely possible.
"You could conceivably go higher than the highest mountain, as long as you kept spreading a wider and wider base," Baker says.
Theoretically, then, a building could be built at least as tall as 8,849 meters, one meter taller than Mount Everest. The base of that mountain, according to these theoretical calculations, is about 4,100 square kilometers – a huge footprint for a building, even one with a hollow core. But given structural systems like the buttressed core, the base probably wouldn't need to be nearly as large as that of a mountain.
And this theoretical tallest building could probably go even taller than 8,849 meters, Baker says, because buildings are far lighter than solid mountains. The Burj Khalifa, he estimates, is about 15 percent structure and 85 percent air. Based on some quick math, if a building is only 15 percent as heavy as a solid object, it could be 6.6667 times taller and weigh the same as that solid object. A building could, hypothetically, climb to nearly 59,000 meters without outweighing Mount Everest or crushing the very earth below. Right?
"I'd have to come up with a considered opinion on that," says Baker. //
Instead of building a supermassive structure, would it be easier to build a series of balloons, tethered to each other using cables of the best standards we could produce currently?
Because they don't have enough lift to carry anything larger that maybe some people. The point of a space elevator is to be able to transport fuel, people, supplies, and even ship parts into orbit.
>Mount Everest altitude is only 29km high
Nobody caught this? Mount Everest is 29k FEET high, or less than 10 km high.
>How feasible, from a physics standpoint, is this?
From a physics standpoint? 100% feasible. From a practical standpoint? 100% stupid.
>You can launch and land space craft from the Space Mountain all day and never have to worry about a shit load of things. Suddenly, space travel is cheap and easy.
Nothing about this makes space travel "cheap" or "easy." Getting above the atmosphere is only a very tiny part of getting to orbit. Odds are, the added complication of setting up and operating launch facilities at an altitude so high that space suits are required would actually ADD to the cost of a launch and easily mitigate any minor gain in performance you might obtain.
Materials aren't a problem at all. A mountain is not a prismatic tower, it's a tapered structure. There is no limit to how tall a mountain can be (from a structural standpoint, that is) since the cross-sectional area increases from the top towards the base, thus spreading the load out and keeping stresses fairly uniform.
Did you never wonder how a mountain made of literal dirt and rock could be tens of thousands of feet high while carefully-engineered manmade towers made of steel only reach a tenth of that?
Multiple trips with smaller payloads is anoption. The thing could run 24/7. You could also have multiple tethers each with a climber. The size of the balloons can be scaled up and the tethers strengthened to carry more weight.
No rocket would be needed. You could potentially use them as a runway for some aircraft which could enter leo but the uppermost cable could launch things directly into space.
You have seems to have missed a problem already pointed out in this thread. The tricky part of getting into space isn't getting up high, it's going fast. Putting your static launch platform 35km up gives you huge logistical troubles for tiny fuel savings.
Guys, I have a better idea which I have recently put some thought into.
It builds on the concept of a launch loop.
Rather instead of it being a strip reaching 50 km into the sky need to be 2000 km long, you build a spiral structure.
The key concept is using the tapering of the spiral to harness the kinetic energy of the rotor, thus eliminating the need for all the advanced materials (well, the idea still requires the use of superconductors).
Will make a quick drawing if anyone is interested in the concept of kinetically enabled structures.
Oh shit. I just realized. You could make the same spiral at the North Pole/South Pole areas. Have the spiral rotate in the opposite direction of the planet. Then the rotation of the planet will help the space ship go up the ramp and into orbit!