Wednesday, February 04, 2004

From Glory to Sideshow: The Space Station's Story

Reading this article on the history of the space station, I had an idea: Build a space elevator on the moon. It would be a great test bed for the technology, and it would actually be easier.

The big issue with a space elevator is that you need a material strong enough to withstand the tension of "suspending" from the ground, into geosynchronous orbit. I would imagine that the fraction of gravity on the moon would make it far easier.

Also, all the big benefits are still there: far cheaper entrance & exit from a planet along with safer tech that doesn't need a rocket.

Here is an article about it. Here is another.

UPDATE: From this article:

Later, Pearson thought about building a tower on the Moon. He determined that the center of gravity needed to be at the L1 or L2 Lagrangian points, which are special stable points that exist about any two orbiting bodies where the gravitational forces are balanced. The cable would have to be 291,901 kilometers long for the L1 point and 525,724 kilometers long for the L2 point. Compared to the 351,000 kilometers from the Earth to the Moon, that's a long cable, and the material would have to be gathered and manufactured on the Moon.

So, maybe the moon idea isn't that hot. Wouldn't the tower from the earth also be affected by the moon?

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