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Next floor, the moon: ’Space elevator 'could soon take you from Earth to the lunar surface



A high-tech 'space elevator' may soon make trips between Earth and the moon a reality, according to a new study.

The proposed device, which would stretch from the moon to our planet’s satellite-level orbit, would open up uncharted territories of space exploration.

The study, from the Columbia University in New York, found the elevator would cut down on the rocket fuel needed for a trip between the Earth and Moon by a third.

The concept, first proposed in 1959 by Russian engineer Yuri Artsutanov, could even be built using current materials, according to the authors.

"With current materials, it is feasible to build a cable extending to close to the height of geostationary orbit, allowing easy traversal and construction between the Earth and the moon," the author’s claim.

Traditionally, the concept planned to link a cable from Earth to a point directly overhead, stretching beyond our orbit.

This version of the elevator has yet to be built, in part, because we do not have the materials to make a cable strong enough to support its own weight.

Scientists Zephyr Penoyre and Emily Sandford instead suggest building building the elevator the other way around, reaching out from orbit to the surface of the moon to avoid the gravitational pull close to the Earth.

"By extending a line, anchored on the moon, to deep within Earth’s gravity well, we can construct a stable, traversable cable allowing free movement from the vicinity of Earth to the Moon’s surface"

The catch?

The journey could take up to several weeks.

So you might want to choose your fellow astronauts wisely.


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