"We're about 20 minutes away from the point where Clarke's law kicks in and technology becomes indistinguishable from magic."
Arthur C. Clarke was not the first person to think of a space elevator; however, he was responsible for introducing the concept to a far larger audience in this book.
The first person to think of the basic idea was Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, a Russian scientist. Visiting Paris in 1895, the remarkable Eiffel Tower made him think about a spire that reached all the way into space. In Tsiolkovsky's vision, a "celestial castle" would be built at the end of a cable 35,790 kilometers long. This put the terminus of the structure in geostationary orbit.
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