The space elevator is a proposed method of space transportation that would virtually eliminate the need for the large, expensive rockets that we use today. The main component of the system would be a cable, commonly referred to as a tether, that would be anchored to the earth’s surface and then extend 60,000 miles into space.
Believe it or not the concept of a space elevator was first published in 1895 by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, a Russian rocket scientist, in a paper titled “Speculations about Earth and Sky and Vesta.”
The case against space elevators is easy to make, but the desire to build one persists. The scientists working on this ambitious project aren’t a fringe freakfest of researchers, in fact Google X recently developed plans to build a space elevator. Though the secret lab scrapped the project, it is clear that the concept is a moonshot Google considers worthy of exploration.
“The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing,” Arthur C. Clarke famously wrote. There’s reason to admire the people who aren’t willing to wait that long.
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