An online video that’s been circulating like wildfire on the internet recently is actually almost two years old, says Michael Laine, founder of LiftPort, a company looking to develop a space elevator. The video was taken in the fall of 2006, at least 20 months ago.
The video has been downloaded over 200,000 times in the past few days, and has been extremely popular on sites like Digg. “I find the whole thing kind of a farce, actually,” said Laine. “I’m glad people are seeing it and commenting on it, but if someone thinks this is news, its not.”
The only reason Laine could site for a possible resurgence of this video is that last Friday, the Conan O’Brien show featured a guest talking about space elevators. Laine wonders if that led to people doing searches about the subject, finding this old video on You Tube, and re-posting it as “new.” Laine says LiftPort has received slightly more email than normal the past couple of days, but until now no one has contacted him to check on the authenticity or timing of the video.
“Everything in it is true, except the timing is strange,” said Laine. “Those are my quotes, (listed along with the video) but I don’t know how someone obtained them, and got that wording. What’s ironic is that we’ve done a lot of experiments since then. That specific test was supposed to be a mile high test, but we had problems with the ribbon snapping. The FAA required that we put markers on it, and the acetone used to mark it weakened the ribbon substantially. The test turned out to be 1,000 feet. We actually were very happy about the test, although we almost lost the ribbon.”
Laine was especially surprise to hear of this new interest in Liftport, since the company has gone through some hard times over the past year, losing investors, a building, and other support. Laine said he will have some positive news to report soon, so stay tuned.
And OK, here’s the video. (You Tube’s version, not LiveLeak’s!) It is pretty amazing.
Click here for more information about LiftPort.
Nancy Atkinson is currently Universe Today’s Contributing Editor. Previously she served as UT’s Senior Editor and lead writer, and has worked with Astronomy Cast and 365 Days of Astronomy. Nancy is the author of the new book “Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos.” She is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.