Space stasis: What the strange persistence of rockets can teach us about innovation. – By Neal Stephenson – Slate Magazine

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I agree that we need to look for alternative ways to get to space. Space elevators seem possible (soon-ish) but ultimately impractical and fragile. When nanotechnology becomes commonplace we’ll likely clean the air of excess carbon dioxide, and the excess carbon could be used to build a space launch tower in the form of a largely hollow, several hundred KM tall mountain.

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