Rockets are the primary means of sending cargo to and from space, but chemical burns are incredibly expensive, and this has some firms looking into alternative methods.
One idea is a space elevator, which sounds entirely crazy, but might be the next big thing. Researchers are currently testing the feasibility of such an approach, which would involve a tethered line between two points and a motorized cart moving between them.
As opposed to chemical burn rockets, which cost approximately $2,700 per kilogram to put things into space, the space elevator idea could reduce costs to a measly $200 per kilogram because there’d be no expensive rocket fuel to burn.
As of now, the biggest challenge standing in our way of making this idea a reality is developing a material strong enough to act as the tether. It’d need to be resistant to weather, radiation, and other elements that would pummel it daily.
Building a space elevator would be no easy feat, and would need to be an international collaboration. It’d be incredibly expensive, but the savings, in the long run, could be worth the effort.
Isn’t science awesome?