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bean +‎ stalk


beanstalk (plural beanstalks)

  1. The stem of a bean plant, proverbially fast-growing and tall.
  2. (figuratively, colloquial, by extension) A tall, slim person.
  3. (chiefly science fiction) A space elevator.
    • 1979, Sheffield, Charles, The Web Between the Worlds:
      If we don't build a Beanstalk, somebody else will—and once one is working, the number of rocket launches will drop to zero. That's the source of more than half our income.
    • 1982, Heinlein, Robert A[nson], Friday, page 1:
      I have never liked riding the Beanstalk. My distaste was full-blown even before the disaster to the Quito Skyhook. A cable that goes up into the sky with nothing to hold it up smells too much of magic.
    • 2005 May 1, Parkinson, Bob, “Partial Beanstalks for Mars Exploration”, in Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, volume 58, number 05/06, page 197:
      Space elevators proposed for the Earth require novel high-strength materials and a substantial counterweight for their implementation. The problem becomes easier for Mars. There is no available "counterweight" for a synchronous "beanstalk" but Phobos proves a substantial anchor in non-synchronous orbit. A tether extending 1456 km from Phobos could release objects into an orbit just entering the Martian atmosphere, providing a launch and recovery device for Mars Excursion Modules. Extending the "beanstalk" to a length of 5832 km would place the end at the fringes of the Martian atmosphere.