TED Conversations

Ken Gettys

Semi-retired, Volunteer computer instructor at local Senior Center

This conversation is closed.

How high can we build on Earth?

The Experiential High Altitude Platform Organization (www.XHAP.org) is proposing to build Earth Tower One (ET1) which will be 20 miles high and 40 miles wide. ET1 will be a tribute to humanity, built with open source architecture, and based upon the long standing structure of pyramids and mountains!

The reasons to build ET1 are numerous:
* If built above deserts (1/5 of the Earth's surface), the base area within the open framed pyramid can be slowly transformed from desert to farm land by providing shade and by diverting moisture from upper atmosphere to the base.
* Wind turbines and solar panels can be constructed on movable platforms that rotate toward the wind or sun or away from the high winds of hurricanes and tornadoes into protective shells. This can provide power for remote areas.
* Hundreds of Weather stations, Air Quality Monitors, Weather and Aircraft Radars, Cell Towers, Ham and Public Service radio transmitters and repeaters, and Internet routers and access points can be installed within ET1.
* The high altitude platform on top of ET1 can be used to launch Solar Sails and other objects into space using Space Cannons mounted long the top of ET1.
* Telescopes built near the top of ET1 will have a clear view than surface based telescopes.
* Laser beams installed near the top of ET1 can be used to disintegrate space junk then Solar Sails can be used to sweep up the dust and bring it into the atmosphere to burn up.
* If ET1 is built off shore from major cities, it can help protect those cities from tsunamis.
* If ET1 is built in areas of tornadoes or hurricanes, ET1 can be used to create 200 mph wind streams and releasing reverse winds into the paths of tornados or hurricanes to counteract their destructive forces.
* ET1 will be the tallest pyramid on Earth and a tribute to humanity not just tombs to ancient pharaohs.

So the question is: "How high can we built on Earth" (not "Should we built tall Earth objects")?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Jul 27 2012: To respond to your “Concept of Hubris” comment Barry, I put on my Don Quixote hat before I go about attempting to supporting the design of a 20 mile high building containing, among other things, wind mills.

    Since I know I am not the smartest kid on the block (especially with ancient Greek words like “Hubris”), I had to Google this “Hubris” word, which means (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubris): “extreme pride or arrogance. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power.”

    As a retired person, I am not a person with any power as I hold no public office (thought I do volunteer on a local city flood plains control advisory committee). So your Hubris comment may concern “the overestimation of my competence or capabilities or contact with reality” not being a person in a position of power.

    Of course building a 20 mile high ET1 with a 40 square mile base by stacking 1/8 mile high (660 feet tall) pyramids on top of each other (up 160 levels) is an overestimation of my person budget, competence (I am not an architect), and capabilities (nor am I an engineer or builder) just a designer (and yes, a day dreamer because, with old timers, I forget the dreams I have at night)!

    So it comes down to my "contact with reality". However that all begs the question at hand: “How High Can We Build on Earth?”. That is “How High Can We Build…”, not “I build” (as I already know I can build a house of playing cards maybe 50 levels high and maybe a 70 to 80 feet high stack of pyramids, each level stacked upon the tops the pyramids below using PCV pipe). Of course these are just small proofs of concept not the massive 20 mles high pyramid shaped ET1.

    So go figure: How High Can We Build on Earth?

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.