I want humanity to achieve cheap, efficient, repeatable space travel as much as the next guy (or any rabid fan of science fiction for that matter) but I have never been one to subscribe to the space elevator solution. However, it seems a Japanese construction company hopes to have one completed and operational by 2050!
Going Up and Up and Up and Up
The concept just seems absurd, implausible, and too science fictiony to become the solution to the problem of taking humans up to space. I’m no engineer, physicist, or theoretical whatchamawhateverist, but I have to believe that some new form of traditional propulsion is going to be the ticket, not a 59,652-mile-long, carbon-nanotube cable attached to a residential facility located 22,369 miles above the Earth’s surface that will take 30 passengers one week to arrive.
The “conventionally perceived” science fiction methods of space flight, i.e., ion engines, impulse drives, and standard rockets, might just be too expensive, too far away, or in fact too science fictiony themselves to become a practical reality in our lifetime. Still, the space elevator just seems too ridiculous to me to ever become a viable reality.
I guess we’ll have to wait and see. And if it happens to work I’ll be selling everything I own for a ticket!
Image Source: [speculist.com]