Menu

Blog

Apr 1, 2021

Far from science fiction, space elevators may be nearing deployment

Posted by in categories: cosmology, engineering

I’ll believe it when I see it. But this is a skyhook which can be made with existing materials.


With one end of a steel cable hovering in Earth’s orbit and the other end somewhere in outer space, the concept of a futuristic floating “space elevator” promises to amplify humans’ ability to explore the universe — and scientists engineering an improved take on the 19th-century idea say the one-time fantasy is close to becoming a reality.

“Technical-wise, it’s kind of ready,” said George Zhu, a professor of mechanical engineering at York University and a coauthor of a new study on the idea. “It just has small engineering [adjustments], and there’s no fundamental difficulty to do that.”

Zhu’s paper, published March 17 in Acta Astronautica, refines his foundational design for a mechanically feasible space elevator, which has several applications for space-related missions. It suggests that instead of previous concepts employing only one cable, or tether, there should be two attached, which can maintain opposite forces while transporting cargo in parallel.

Leave a reply