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  What happens if a space elevator breaks?

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Author Topic:   What happens if a space elevator breaks?

Posts: 4999
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-26-2022 09:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What would a falling space elevator cable look like in real life?
It's not that simple to model, but we can make a rough guess.

Let's model the cable as being made up of 100 individual pieces. Each piece starts in a motion around the Earth, but with the same angular velocity as the Earth. (So, not in orbit.) In an actual space elevator cable, there would be some tension forces between pieces. But just for simplicity, in the model each piece will only have the gravitational force from the interaction with the Earth.

Now I can just model the motion of these individual 100 parts of the cable to see what happens...


Posts: 3400
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 01-27-2022 11:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This was described in great detail in a sci-fi novel by, I think, Ben Bova. Suffice it to say the structure caused considerable damage around equatorial lands.

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