August 26th, 2005

Looked so good on paper

Too Nerdy for My Own Good

Wired Magazine has a lovely feature called "Found", ending the issue with a picture of some object that doesn't exist yet. I still regret not saving the one with nanotech "seeds" for building houses. The current one is the control panel for a space elevator car, with buttons for the different "floors." That's cool enough I was tempted to cut it out and put it up in my office. Except for one problem. Can you spot it?

The Mars departure point is shown below geostationary altitude. Nope. That would drop you in an orbit around the Earth (eventually colliding with the elevator). If you want to go to Mars--or anywhere beyond the Moon--you have to leave at 47,000 km altitude. Okay, it's a minor technical nitpick, but it would grate on me so much I could never stand to look at it every day.

Pity. It's a lovely picture.