Category Archives: Ludovic Celle

Ludovic Celle’s Mars Space Elevator Concepts and Triptych

Ludovic’s commentary: “Imagine yourself in the warmth of a comfortable rover, automatically
ascending the endless flank of Pavonis Mons, one of Mars’ giant volcanos. Outside, the
temperature is below -120°C. Up there on the horizon, slowly appearing is the shining tent of
Sheffield, the famous liftport of the space elevator. The elevator’s cable stands straight and
disappears among the stars. This all makes you feel you already are in orbit…
Sheffield is 3 kilometres away. You will be there in half an hour. The intense town’s activity, busy
with hundreds of passengers for the cable, will be a huge contrast to the lonely and silent
ascent you just accomplished in the dark and red night. Altitude 14 km, where starts the space
elevator that will take you right in space in a few hours.
As said on MangalaWiki, “because of its high altitude, Sheffield is condemned to
remain a tented city.”
This photo-montage is a lot inspired by a sequence in Red Mars : Ann Clayborne alone in her
rover, making the very very long ascent of Olympus Mons and going so high that it feels like in
space. This photo-montage here is a kind of transcription of this scene on Pavonis Mons.”
Ludovic’s commentary: “This shows the ‘space end’ of the cable. In Red Mars, Kim Stanley
Robinson tells the setting of an asteroid in high martian orbit, as a necessary mass keeping the
space elevator cable straight. This asteroid, Clarke, is named after science fiction writer Arthur
C. Clarke, who described the space elevator concept in one of his novels. (learn more here) KSR
imagines that the cable is made directly from Clarke, with the asteroid’s material, mined and
turned in carbon nanotubes, made in space! This photomanipulation works with the one below
showing Sheffield, the town where the cable rises from the surface of Mars. KSR describes the
cable as being 35.000 km long and 10m thick. More than just a useful mass for the cable’s
balance, Clarke is a base in itself, a spaceport full of docks, living and working areas for the
people involved in space travel, space cargos as well as a spacious station for travelers of all
kinds. What we don’t see in the picture are the spaceships waiting for passengers leaving Mars
or bringing new ones to Mars.”
“….this image is between the two ends of the cable. On this point of view we are still
very close to the surface and very very far to the mid-distance of the cable, still
thousands kilometers away…”
“Here is a new montage showing the base of the space elevator on the tented town called
“Sheffield”, built on the summit of Pavonis Mons volcano (see Red Mars). The cable is supposed
to be 10m thick, which means here than Sheffield city is very big here, at a large level of
development. On the foreground, you can see coloured urban lights. I imagine the main entry
to the planet’s surface would like to be a rich and welcoming show for new settlers. I also
imagine the tent’ skin would be blue, to balance the so red and grey landscape.”
For details on the space elevator in KSR’s Mars trilogy,
(Made with The Gimp on Linux-Ubuntu)