I first read about Neal Stephenson’s space tower concept on Google’s Solve for X earlier this year. If you haven’t read about it yet, Stephenson has proposed building a 20-kilometer space tower to facilitate the launch of space vehicles. Because the high-altitude tower avoids a lot of weather and gravity, it should reduce the expense and risk associated with space exploration.
Also, watch Stephenson’s Solve for X video here:
I’ve been a fan of Stephenson’s work since Snow Crash in the ’90s, so it’s no surprise to me that he has visionary ideas, but what’s great about the space tower concept is that his ideas are connecting with people who can do the nitty-gritty engineering that would make the vision a reality. Specifically, Stephenson is working in collaboration with Keith Hjelmstad of the Fulton School of Engineering at Arizona State University (ASU) to make the tower feasible.
Furthermore, this collaboration is part of ASU’s new Center of Science and the Imagination, an innovative initiative by ASU President Michael Crow to pair the visionary talents of artists and writers with the more practical talents of scientists and engineers in order to make big things happen. Cool, futuristic things.
ASU’s Center of Science and the Imagination launches on September 27, 2012.
As an ASU MBA alum and a veteran of post-MBA tech entrepreneurship studies at the Fulton school, I plan to be there for the launch event and will post how it goes. (Plus, my workplace (eBay’s FetchBack subsidiary) is literally across the street from campus, so it’s convenient!).
Anyway, cheers to Stephenson and ASU: let’s keep putting artists and engineers together and make cool stuff happen.