The idea of a line at the equator to geosychronous station in space is not new, but what about lightning and the electrical issues from what is in the atmosphere? Would it be essential for such a tether to not conduct electricity? Could it conduct it and the electricity tapped?
closed as off-topic by Mołot, L.Dutch♦, sphennings, Ash, Azuaron Oct 16 '17 at 18:58
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Assuming you could build an orbital tether, by no means a given, there could be issues with the build up of electrical charge, to mitigate these charges you want the tether to be a better conductor not a worse one, you want electricity to flow along the tether and "even out" charge discrepancies that accumulate in different parts of the tether due to atmospheric friction, and/or magnetospheric interactions, it's the same principle used in low static carpets. You'd need a conductive cable and you'd need to "earth" that cable to dissipate electrical charge, whether you can get anything out of that process in the way of usable current is a different story, I couldn't even start to guess at that aspect of the equation.
First off, this theoretical concept of a tether station is by no means an accepted plausible concept.
It's largest problem is that no one yet knows of how to make a cable that is:
- light (mass wise) so it doesn't just pulled down by gravity
- long enough to reach that distance
- strong enough (tensile strength) to support and resist all the forces involved
in relation to those problems, its conductivity is rather a small aspect. With the amount of effort needed to engineer such a thing many have theorized it would be advantageous for it to conduct electricity for various reasons.
- to support cable cars
- to harvest energy
People have theorized using some sort of material like carbon nanotubes which are strong and conductive.