An elevator to space! Sounds crazy right? But it actually may not be that far off…
A space elevator is exactly what it sounds like. An extremely strong “cable” will be strung up between a platform here on earth and a counterweight floating up in space. That would basically act as the elevator shaft.
Elevators will then travel up and down this 62,000 mile long “cable” delivering cargo and humans to space and back. Pretty cool huh?
Now %FIRSTNAME%, If you’re the type of person who wants to really get deep into the science of how this might work, keep on reading…
Apparently the technology to do this is available today except for the one key component: the “cable”. I put cable in quotations because it’s not really a cable in the traditional sense. It has to be much stronger. In reality the “cable” will be made of carbon nano tubes.
Carbon nano tubes are literally as thin as a piece of plastic wrap but are about 100x stronger than steel and 1/5 the weight. The problem is you don’t make carbon nano tubes, you grow them. The longest ones grown so far are only a few inches long which make them a bit short of the 62,000 miles needed.
So we’re just kinda waiting on the carbon nano tube technology to catch up so this space elevator can be built. But once it’s built, it can be constantly moving people and cargo to and from space. The estimated cost per pound to deliver something to space is $200 (the cost using the space shuttle was $10,000 per pound).
How About an Elevator To The Moon Instead?
That’s actually possible right now! A company called Lift Port says they can build an elevator to the moon right now if they had the money.
Because there isn’t as much gravity, they don’t need to use carbon nano tubes. Instead, they can use Zylon which is a synthetic polymer. Sadly, no construction has started on the Moon elevator yet.
I don’t know about you but this stuff gets me pretty jazzed! Maybe in the not too distant future we could be taking the elevator to space for some much needed R&R.
Would you take a ride on the space elevator with me?