Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Tangential space elevator material currency standard

Several ideas in one
  (+3, -5)
(+3, -5)
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Start by building a small space elevator out of carbon nanotubes. This is done by exploiting large quantities of carbon as are available in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and in the crust as fossil fuels. Hence the world goes from depending on fossil fuels economically and creating a large carbon footprint to depending on carbon nanotubes. Base the currency standard on the nanotubes.
However, this is no ordinary space elevator because it starts horizontal and stretches out in a straight line. It's supported from beneath by nanotube struts. This material is in relative terms almost exclusively used by the bridge/elevator since it's a megastructure. As more is manufactured, inflation becomes tangential - the bridge is tangent to the equator and inflation is largely calculable by the trig function of the tangent (i think).
Once the bridge gets beyond a certain length, it will either collapse or need more material. Obtain this by sending a craft along the bridge which will travel to Deimos, largely made of carbon, and bring it back using a mass driver.
This will solve several problems at once. Firstly, it will make inflation tangential and therefore predictable, so financial decisions can be based on a known rate of inflation. Secondly, it will provide a profitable material into which carbon can be sequestered whose majority will be outside the atmosphere - no more carbon footprint. Finally, it will make it possible to drive into space from a horizontal position, easing space travel phenomenally. Needless to say, these vehicles would not be powered by fossil fuels. Moreover, a series of off-ramps would make this equivalent to a road system and the force of the planet's rotation would help the vehicles travel up but not down.
nineteenthly, Mar 09 2009

Stairway to heaven Stairway_20to_20heaven
My take. [phoenix, Mar 09 2009]


       Several ideas in one big mess.   

       Is Absinthe the drink of choice of the designers of this structure?
eight_nine_tortoise, Mar 09 2009

       On 2nd thoughts I like it. I'll give you Z$20,000,000,000,000 for the patent rights.
eight_nine_tortoise, Mar 09 2009

       In that case, i propose setting up a bank account in Nigeria to fund this and acquiring the dosh by the usual means. Come to think of it, Nigeria's quite close to the equator and it's got lots of oil.
nineteenthly, Mar 09 2009

       Thanks, [phoenix], i'd forgotten about that one. I think for yours the carbonaceous asteroids would be a better bet than the Moon. I don't see the Moon providing strong enough materials.
nineteenthly, Mar 09 2009

       //Several ideas in one big mess.//   

       if that isn't a tagline I don't know what is...
blissmiss, Mar 09 2009

       This is what REALLY happens when you give a moose a muffin.
colorclocks, Mar 10 2009

       //Several ideas in one big mess.// Yes, but if each one is half-baked and there are three, that makes it baked one and a half times, which is a better score than my usual.
nineteenthly, Mar 10 2009

       Do the vehicles travel on a maglev monorail?
wagster, Mar 10 2009

       Yeah, OK.
nineteenthly, Mar 10 2009

       Arthur C. Clarke is turning in his grave. Hook him up to a generator to power the maglev!
eight_nine_tortoise, Mar 10 2009

       Well, if he's gonna be involved, there have to be hovercraft. How high is a hovercraft feasible?
nineteenthly, Mar 10 2009

       With enough puff any height is possible. Although as an engineer I must state that depends if you mean height off the ground, or the height of the hovercraft. Because one of them is just silly (I'll let you decide which).   

       By the time I got to the Post Office the Z$ had degraded again, so I have sent off the 5p postal order for the patent rights.
eight_nine_tortoise, Mar 10 2009

       Bed time now, so I had better sign off.
eight_nine_tortoise, Mar 10 2009

       I'm talking about the distance between the surface of the elevator and the hovercraft. However, it now occurs to me that the hovercraft would start off horizontal and tangentially approach verticality.
nineteenthly, Mar 10 2009

       The idea is simple, yet elegant. Congratulations. Construction should begin tonight.
el dueno, Mar 10 2009


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