Re: SPACE: Mass transit idea

Anders Sandberg (
Sat, 4 Jan 1997 23:55:40 +0100 (MET)

On Mon, 30 Dec 1996, Michael Lorrey wrote:

> Reading Homo Excelsior, using that wonderful Omega Database (great work
> guys!), I came across the Lofstrom Loop concept, which seemed rather
> intriguing. There was not much detail on it, except that it used TWO
> space stations and one ground station, with an EM propelled/controlled
> "stream of bars", which I did not understand the purpose for, unless
> they can carry payload.

The idea, as I understand it, is to build a trapetzoid loop out of a moving
chain of metal bars, accelerated by em-accelerators. Clarke's space tower
showed that you don't need a chain, just objects with momentum. A rough
sketch would look something like this:

/ \
/ \
/ \

where 'X' mark deflector stations. The stations in space would be held up
by the momentum change. There is a discussion of this, and related
schemes in Forward's _Indistinguishable from Magic_.

And yes, the protagonist in the HeeChee books by Pohl (quite transhumanist
sf actually, with no bias against uploads or AI!) was close to ground zero
of a loop failure (due to terrorism). Apparently the excess energy was
absorbed by boiling away a big lake...

Anders Sandberg Towards Ascension!
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y