To build the Death Star, we’ll need this space elevator


Last year, I wrote about why we should make massive-scale space projects like Star Wars’ Death Star a serious long-term goal for humanity. I wasn’t joking.

OK, I was kind of joking — I chose the Death Star as my example because it was the biggest and most absurd-sounding space technology project that I thought readers would generally be aware of. But I could just as easily have chosen a Dyson sphere, or a ringworld, or a topopolis, or a faster-than-light spacecraft. Whether the project resulted in an energy source in space or a planet-destroying battle station didn’t really matter for the purposes of my argument: The idea was that by reaching for the stars we could employ hundreds of thousands (millions?) of people during economic slumps and we’d accumulate a huge number of helpful technologies for use on Earth.

The good news is that we don’t have to wait for super laser or tractor beam technology before we begin work. The first steps should be comparatively small R&D projects, such as sending a manned mission to Mars or building a permanent base on the Moon, which are well within reach. Or, as a new report from the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) shows, we could begin by building a space elevator.


9 thoughts on “To build the Death Star, we’ll need this space elevator

  1. How about fixing our infrastructure here on Earth first? Many roads and bridges are in a very poor condition. Many buildings are poorly insulated against heat losses, causing unnecessary energy waste. Our electrical grid is operating at the edge of collapse. Too many cities have power lines attached to wooden poles with transformers hanging above the sidewalks. That needs all to be rebuild to first world standards.

    We need high quality research in these areas before we start thinking about traveling with speeds higher than the speed of light.

    It is a phantasy to think that we can escape the problems and the garbage we have created here on earth by traveling in space ships, faster than the speed of light. To what end? To pollute and waste other pristine areas of nature? No, let’s clean up our acts here on this beautiful planet first.

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  3. John: you weren’t yet born when Asimov (?) wrote a sci-fi drama based on a plot in a station in synchronous orbit tethered by a super-Kevlar line on which vehicles climb and descend. I didn’t calculate the effects of line and vehicles beneath synchronous altitude, but I bet the author did.

  4. I can’t think of a better way to nourish the human spirit…. and to those who think this endeavor is a worthless distraction… a distraction is probably just what we need..

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  6. Wow… with every article you publish Aziz you keep proving to us how little you know about economics, money, and wealth. You don’t create wealth by employing people in useless labor. You create wealth by producing things that people value now and need now.

  7. 1. I really liked your blog, even when I disagreed with your, I’d really love to see more REAL posting here, you’re one of those guys who we’re not afraid to say things his audience did not want to hear, and personally I think this is the best virtue a blogger can have this days: courage!

    2. the problem with Daeth Star and the like is that it is a proposal to do things that side effects – some believe – will benefit humanity, while it itself is not beneficial, so why won;t we do the side effects solely? apparently it will not be beneficial! contrary to some peoples’ belief.

    3. you point out an elevator – but it itself IT IS beneficial by itself! unlike Dath Star! you see? Keynesianism encourages projects that are supposed to “miracacleously” spur beneficial side effects that outwieght the enterpirse itself in the long run, but they don’t have any convincing proof it really would. an elevator ITSELF probalby would. but we still have other things to do first! to have enough annotubes we have to devise production facilities first, and to do that we need healhty engineers focused on it, but first we need consumers of ordinary stuff etc.


    both Keynesians and Monetarists don’t see the case for ordering.

  8. Interesting, however the ruling classes would not want too much prosperity to filter down into the bottom layers of the stratified economy. People might leave jobs, go do other work, not take crap fro bosses, not worry about health, housing etc. They cant have that, they need some insecurity for it to function this is why cyclical boom and bust are necessary and continue.

  9. Hey John! Thought I might chime in after a leave. The problem with your idea is that it is not addressing the problems (which you well know).

    Until the imbalances are dealt with, nothing will change. Technology is NOT going to save us, as it only increases the rate of change, but has little to do with composition.

    Hang in there and thing will eventually return to “normal.”

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