I’m building a colossal tower. This tower forgoes the use of steel and concrete completely in favor of cheap lighter-than-air modules. These modules have cube-shaped frames made of carbon fiber and other lightweight materials. To achieve lift, hydrogen sacs are used. Unfortunately more flammable than helium but more plentiful, easy to produce and ergonomically viable. I know you will inevitably comment about it being a giant firecracker so let me list my security measures.
- In case of fire, modules placed directly above and under the afflicted area will instantly deflate their sacks to prevent further damage. In the worst-case scenario the escaping gas may also catch fire. Thankfully it is released laterally so as to protect the other modules.
- In case the first measure isn’t enough to stop the explosions, modules above and under the afflicted area detach from the tower to be reassembled later.
- [Other security measures of your choice.]
Moving on with the presentation: The modules have no propulsion system of their own. Instead drones move the modules into and out of place. When replacing a worn down or damaged module from the middle of the tower, cables connecting the modules are attached to their distant neighbors and later pulled closer together once the faulty module is removed.
The modules are designed to last for long periods of time. As such they refill themselves over time. Filters on them sides collect moisture from the air to use for electrolysis powered by solar panels. Furthermore a computer chip controls the center of mass of the module (as well as the safety protocols).
Due to the square-cube-law stating that the linear size of an object being doubled leads to an eightfold increase in volume, the mass of each module is negated at a sufficient size. The cubic design keeps the materials used in the frame to a minimum while providing a stable shape to be stacked. The cost efficiency of the modules makes it so they can be produced by the thousands.
Now that we are done with the technicalities, how do you protect this lighter-than-air tower from wind?
The technology level is slightly futuristic. Things like cost and labor are completely irrelevant in my setting. As for the purpose of the tower... well, I’ll come to that later. For now it’s simply a very tall vertical structure meant to be as tall as physically possible.