So Turbines in Space don't work, how about sticking beefed up versions of regular wind turbines near the top of a space elevator? My thought is that the elevator at the top experiences some serious wind forces as the Earth spins.

How about it?

  • Would increasing the surface area of the elevator reduce the stability?
  • Would the forces to hold the turbine's moving parts be a factor greater than that of the elevator itself?
  • How much power could we generate?
  • $\begingroup$ If you want to generate power using high-altitude wind turbines, do some research into wind turbines on kites flying in the jetstream. There significant amounts can be generated. $\endgroup$ – a4android Oct 17 '16 at 11:41
  • $\begingroup$ Either your elevator is in geosynchronous and no wind, either the power needed to keep a stable orbit is bigger than the one generated by your wind turbine $\endgroup$ – Sefa Oct 17 '16 at 11:43
  • $\begingroup$ I read somewhere that mention sticking hundreds or thousands of rods which when swinging generate power... imagine replacing those with carbon nanotude and it can react to tiny disturbance in the Force however avoid the dark side... $\endgroup$ – user6760 Oct 17 '16 at 12:45
  • $\begingroup$ I cannot make heads or tails of the premise. "some serious wind forces as the Earth spins". What?! Know this: the atmosphere spins with the Earth. There is nothing to stop it from doing this. There is no æther medium that creates drag for the atmosphere so that in the boundary between the atmosphere and space there are huge winds. So I really have no clue as to how you thought that would work. $\endgroup$ – MichaelK Feb 28 '17 at 12:09

It won't work. The Earth's atmosphere extends out to one thousand miles, but that is so tenuous it is almost non-existent. A space elevator will reach up to a distance of 144,000 km (89,000 mi). The top of the space elevator is, therefore, 89 times higher than the top of the atmosphere.

Air density will be almost zero. There should be a wind resistance of somewhat around zero. The forces acting on the wind turbine will be effectively zero. Putting wind turbines on the top of space elevator will generate zero power.

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  • $\begingroup$ how about at some point along the elevator's length? $\endgroup$ – Chris J Oct 17 '16 at 11:40
  • $\begingroup$ Stability of the elevator and it adds unnecessary mass to an already high stressed structure. No. There are better alternatives. See my comment added to your question above. $\endgroup$ – a4android Oct 17 '16 at 11:44

"elevator at the top experiences some serious wind forces" - No. Solar wind is quite fast and Earth spin should be negligible, except when it hides elevator from Sun. What's worse, Earth's magnetosphere shields us from most of it anyway.

Artist's render

Image source: Wikipedia article on Magnetosphere.

And you want top of it way above atmosphere, so no regular wind either.

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