New Space and Tech

Sir Arthur C. Clarke has Died

By Marc Boucher
April 8, 2013
Filed under

It is with a heavy heart I write that Sir Arthur C. Clarke has died. He died early Wednesday at a hospital in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

I had the privilege to meet Sir Arthur in 1997 in Sri Lanka, his home of 52 years. His creative mind inspired many people including myself. He will be missed but his creativity will live on through the people he inspired.

When I met him in 1997 it was for a variety of reason. One of them was to talk about the space elevator. He was so excited to talk about it. We met the at Colombo Swimming Club, he was just finishing up a swim and we had lunch. He was 79 at the time and his mind was as sharp as ever. When we sat down for lunch he presented me with a stack of material he had collected for me on the space elevator. I was astounded that he should do this for me. But this was the nature of Sir Arthur. He was a kind and giving man who would regale you with stories at every opportunity. I enjoyed my brief visit with him.

In 2002 through my work in the high arctic at the Haughton-Mars Project my SpaceRef business partner and I donated a greenhouse and I, with Sir Arthur’s permission, named it the Arthur Clarke Mars Greenhouse. The greenhouse now hosts a variety of research which will help future space explorers.

He was widely known as a premier science fiction writer and famous for his collaboration with Stanley Kubrick in taking his book 2001: A Space Odyssey to Hollywood. But he had many other accomplishments as well including a 1945 technical paper setting out the principles of satellite communication with satellites in geostationary orbits, something which would become a reality 25 years later.

But for those his read this blog Sir Arthur is best known for his book The Fountains of Paradise where popularized the concept of the Space Elevator and his 1981 technical paper The Space Elevator: ‘Thought Experiment’, or Key to the Universe?.

Today teams of scientists and engineers are working on making the Space Elevator a reality. Should this dream be realized it will mostly be attributed to Sir Arthur, and rightly so.

Marc Boucher

SpaceRef co-founder, entrepreneur, writer, podcaster, nature lover and deep thinker.