That’s right Space elevators. Not the everyday elevator in your apartment. More like the ones you would see in star wars or star trek. Space Elevators are much more complex. A space elevator would be the single biggest structure ever made by man! The concept is simple though. Instead of exploding stuff upwards why don’t we make an elevator (for more on how we get to space and other solutions check out The prison of earth #1). Now you must think I’m way crazy but I beg to differ, the person to build this would be the real crazy one. Building a space elevator is a huge risk and needs lots of investment (at least 20 billion) and lots and lots of resources but if they work boy are they rewarding.
The benefits space elevator:
1.The cost for sending stuff to space will only be 95% of what it is now. That is $500 per pound!
2. It can save lots of energy as it will eliminate all of the fuels and reactions created in normal rockets.
3. It will make current rockets able to travel more distance with less trouble. It will also allow easy access to earth’s orbit.
A space elevator is made out of 4 main parts, The Anchor, Tether, Climber, and Counterweight.
- The Anchor would pin the elevator down to the earth. It would probably be buried underground and at the surface, there will be a huge port for loading and sending the climbers.
2. The Counterweight would be located at the top of the tether. It will hold up the tether tight like a rope. stopping it from falling back on earth. At the counterweight there will be a space station and a place for all rockets to launch
3. The Tether is the main component of the elevator and though it seems simple it is not. The tether must be very cheap, light, and affordable to work. It must also be able to withstand atmospheric corrosion, radiation and micrometeorite debris. This is next to impossible with current material but some like graphene and potentially diamond nano-threads can hold up this beast of a structure.
4. The last part is the climber itself. It would take about seven days to reach the station and though it will not take even close to the amount of energy and fuel used by rockets it will still eat lots of energy.
How will we build it? (hint: not with cranes): Do we launch it into space and build down or build up from earth? This obstacle is still largely up for debate. I personally think that we must do a combination of the 2 sending a counterweight, into space and building the tether from both sides dividing the time it takes to make it and also making it safer to build.
Question: What do you think would happen if the tether broke? …answer: 2 possibilities… I’ll go with the better one first (ha better… good joke).
- if it is cut close to earth then the bottom part will crash down and the rest will float away like a very very very expensive balloon(Wow that brings some bad helium balloon memories).
- If it is cut near the counterweight it would crash down on earth killing billions and scaring the earth forever. lots of debris will surround the earth and sending up rockets will be next to impossible. So we only have one chance to get it right… otherwise, we are all dead… well probably.
Then what are the benefits? You must be like, the first person I see which wants to build this will be killed with fire but this incredible risk comes with an incredible reward. The cost for sending a kilogram of stuff into space would be less than $500 in relative to the current $10 000! This can mean commercialized space travel. All though we must be very very very sure that it works (that is if we don’t want earth and all that’s on it to perish)…
Ready… Set… Take Away!!!!!!
Space elevators are still a very new Idea recently made possible with advancements in nanotechnology and space technology. In fact, A Japanese company by the named Obayashi plans to build a space elevator by 2050!
- Space elevators are expensive to build but will considerably (that’s an understatement) lower space exploration costs.
- They pose a big risk to humanity if not built properly
- They are composed of 4 main parts, the tether, anchor, counterweight, and climber.
Remember Think Big, Think Ahead, Think Like a BOSS, and don’t forget to Do Stuff.