from the now-we-just-have-to-get-to-the-moon dept.
Zothecula writes "When the late Neil Armstrong and the crew of Apollo 11 went to the Moon, they did so sitting atop a rocket the size of a skyscraper that blasted out jets of smoke and flame as it hurtled skyward. For over half a century, that is how all astronauts have gone into space. It's all very dramatic, but it's also expensive. Wouldn't it be cheaper and easier to take the elevator? That's the question that Michael Laine, CEO of LiftPort in Seattle, Washington, hopes to answer with the development of a transportation system that swaps space-rockets for space-ribbons. LiftPort ultimately wants to build a space elevator on Earth, but the company isn't planning on doing it in one go. Instead, Laine and his team are settling for a more modest goal – building an elevator on the Moon by 2020. This is much easier. For one thing, there’s no air on the Moon, so no icing problems. Also, the lower gravity means that no unobtainium is needed for the ribbon. Kevlar is strong enough for the job. And finally, there’s very little in the way of satellites or debris to contend with."
PL/I -- "the fatal disease" -- belongs more to the problem set than to the
-- Edsger W. Dijkstra, SIGPLAN Notices, Volume 17, Number 5