Crazy Idea! Scientists Want To Build An Elevator To Space

 


As space travel booms, experts are constantly looking for the most up-to-date ways to get there. One of them is the idea that in the future there will be no need to use rockets, but just take an elevator like in a skyscraper. Is it possible?

This idea has actually been around for a long time. It was Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky, the Soviet physicist known as the Father of the Cosmonauts, who put forward this idea in 1895. The idea grew in the minds of many scholars on a global scale at that time, namely to make an elevator inspired by the Eiffel Tower, in Paris, France, to connect the Earth with outer space.


Quoted from Science Focus, it took 65 years before Russian engineer Yuri Artsutanov accepted the idea and updated it in his article To the Universe by Electric Rail.



"Traveling into the universe with the aid of a rocket, the vehicle's occupants had to endure the 'chain of gravity', 'high acceleration' and 'engine tension'. So designing a very high lift would overcome these inconveniences," he wrote.


In 2014, Japan's Obayashi Corporation announced the construction of a space elevator. However, the results of logistics management calculations make it only worth it in 2050.



The lift will consist of a "carbon nanotube cable" with an area of ​​96,000 km, a floating inland port with a diameter of 400 m and a counterweight weighing 12,500 tons at an estimated cost of USD 9000 million.


Because the maximum cable tension at the point of geostationary orbit (from west to east) along 35,786 km above the Earth's equator is very strong, in 2000 it was proposed to insert this cable into carbon nanotubes, small hollow channels with interlocking particles. These particles are claimed to be 20 times more resistant than steel.


American researcher Bradley C. Edwards, has designed and increased the strength of this cable for a large-scale project so that it can withstand the attack of microsteroids.



Although NASA is carefully reviewing its studies, the US national space agency has determined that the elevator must be in the western tropical Pacific Ocean, for reasons of budget and risks to the environment.


Scientists from Obayashi Corp believe that the space elevator can accommodate up to 30 people in a cabin driven by an electric motor at a speed of 200 km/h for eight days. The concept also raises and lowers heavy loads using 100 times less investment than launching a rocket.


Space elevator testing

The Raptor team from Nihon University from Japan, led by Yoshio Aoki, Professor in the Department of Engineering and Precision Instruments, participated in four European Space Elevator Challenges prepared by the Technical University of Munich Germany, where they tested the feasibility of mechanical structures.


"The honeycomb-like design allows the main frame to be made as blank as possible, reducing weight by up to 60% while achieving sufficient rigidity and an attractive appearance," said Kaishu Koike, a member of the Raptor team responsible for programming.



Based on the simulations, the researchers achieved a climbing speed of 110 km/h. They maintain the effectiveness of the braking system by applying maximum weight. In this way, eight 1.1 kilogram loads were successfully transported.


According to Yoshio Aoki, this kind of space elevator transportation technique will only be possible in 2030. However, disaster safety protocols are already trying to be built in real proportions.


China wants to build its own space elevator

As part of the roadmap for future space missions to Mars, in June this year, Wang Xiaojun, Director of the Chinese Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT), integrated the construction of a space elevator.


According to the Global Times, the plan consists of three steps: sending an Android robot to collect samples from the Martian environment and explore the surface, a habitable mission whose members build settlements, and finally moving a fleet of goods via space elevators called "heavenly stairs" as a starting point.


Transporting goods to the Moon, for example, would only cost 4% of the current launch costs. The difference is clearly very far. Quoted from Sina News, China will carry out manned missions at five different times, namely: 2033, 2035, 2037, 2041 and 2043.



Although promising, the concept of an elevator into space is still considered impossible for a number of other experts, one of which is physicist Marshall Eubanks. According to him, the calculations made to make the elevator into space make sense, but it is also necessary to take into account the possibility that satellites orbiting Earth could crash into the cable. So, the idea of ​​an elevator into space is unlikely to materialize any time soon.

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