Peter Clark, Jerry Mitrovica, Glenn Milne and Mark Tamisiea have published research showing that a sudden rise of the sea level several thousand years ago was due to the collapse of an Antarctic ice shelf. Ring a bell? Is it time to start building an ark?
For a space elevator to function, a cable with one end attached to the Earth's surface stretches upwards, reaching beyond geosynchronous orbit, at 21,700 miles (35,000-kilometer altitude). After that, simple physics takes charge.
The competing forces of gravity at the lower end and outward centripetal acceleration at the farther end keep the cable under tension. The cable remains stationary over a single position on Earth. This cable, once in position, can be scaled from Earth by mechanical means, right into Earth orbit. An object released at the cable's far end would have sufficient energy to escape from the gravity tug of our home planet and travel to neighboring the moon or to more distant interplanetary targets.
[via Boing Boing]