Page last updated at 15:53 GMT, Monday, 5 January 2009

Space elevator climber demo

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Age-Raymond Riise demonstrates a simple concept which could be adapted to lift objects into space on the so-called space elevator.

The prototype uses a broomstick, representing the space elevator cable held in tension, an electric sander to provide a rhythmic vibration to the stick, and an assembly made of brushes, representative of the climber that would ascend the space elevator cable with cargo or passengers aboard.

The brushes were arranged with their bristles pointing downwards - meaning it took slightly more force to lower the brush assembly than to raise it.

The vibration from the sander allowed the assembly to slide upward along the broomstick as it moved slightly downward, but grip it as it moved slightly upward. The net effect: the assembly rises against gravity straight to the top of the stick.

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