We have all been very interested in space for ages. And today, we are blessed with technologies that take us closer and closer to space.
Till now, travelling to space is pretty much for astronauts only. But soon there might be a time when it won’t just be limited to them. And all credit will go to Space Elevators.
But what are space elevators?
1. Space Elevators: Future Of Humanity
Well, we all know what normal elevators are. The elevator is a mechanical device that travels in a vertical shaft between the different levels of a multistory building. We all use the elevator as it is efficient and quick.
The space elevator is the first step and milestone to colonize the solar system. As of now, we use rockets to go outside the gravity of the earth.
These rockets are non-reusable and they are very expensive. Also, during launch, it emits a lot of chemicals that are harmful.
So, while colonizing the solar system, we can’t afford these rockets. But in the future, the space elevator will be the better option.
But space elevators are tricky too. There are a lot of things that need to be taken care of.
Firstly the load-bearing cable should be made up of extremely strong material. While being strong it should also have to be flexible. This is for supporting the heavy mass inside the elevator.
Currently, there is no such strong and flexible material available. But no need to worry! Our great scientists and engineers will invent such material.
The imagination of the structure of the Space Elevator is complex. But if we can think and create the space elevator this will be a boon to humanity.
In a normal elevator, wired cables are present to pull and push it. But in terms of space, we need to create these cables differently.
The centrifugal force will help to cable to remain taut. Also, the development of high speed is an important factor.
2. Space Elevator: Is It Possible?
Space Elevator is considered science fiction rather than reality as of now. There is a boundary between science reality and science fiction. And the technology is the way to cross these boundaries. So, for making science fiction a science reality technology is the only key.
Within the next few decades, scientists might be able to build the space elevator. If scientists are able to replicate the elevator system of Earth on a larger scale, it will be the biggest milestone for us. It is said that space elevators can be built till 2050.
It is interesting to see what is going to happen! As estimated if space elevators are created by 2050 many of us may take ride through it!
Due to the space elevators, scientists will get easy access to other planets to study them. Also, life on the other planet could be studied on a low budget.
This planet-to-space transportation system will soon take a hit, and we need to know how one can build it if one plans to.
3. Creation Of Space Elevators
Creating a space elevator won’t come easy. But thanks to centripetal force, we do have a vision.
This centripetal force must be equal to the gravitational force. So, first, we have to decide starting point of construction. Also, we have to put massive satellites in orbit. These will begin the construction process.
We can not build an elevator by building up. We have to build down the elevator. That is we have to build from the finishing point to the start point.
If we will extend the cable of the space elevator from one end only, it will not balance the center of mass of the earth. So, to balance the center of mass we have to extend the strings from both sides of the earth.
The next step is to create the perfectly engineered elevator structure that can reach the final spot!
4. What If We Build Space Elevators?
After creating the Space Elevator we will be able to go on cheap vacations to the space. We all know creating a space elevator is expensive. But once it is created it will of budget-friendly.
After the successful creation of the space elevator, we will never need a rocket to launch any space mission. These will reduce the overall cost of the mission by many times.
Also, these Space Elevators will open new doors for energy creation. If we place the solar panels along the cable it will generate a lot of electricity i.e. energy. This energy will be radiated back to the earth at a very low cost.
But there are many obstacles to putting solar panels along the cable. As everything is supported by the cable, it should be strong, flexible, and reliable.
If we didn’t wait for the right material our entire space elevator would collapse. This would be very dangerous. If it breaks near the base, the whole system will be hanging in the space. If it breaks near the top, then whole the elevator will crash down.
So the best decision is to wait till we invent the right material.
5. Hurdles In Space Elevator.
Well, there’s a lot of difference between ideas and reality. And reality comes with a lot of challenges.
Space elevators, similarly will have a lot of challenges to overcome too.
The density of the cable is one of the challenges. Its maximum tensile strength should be able to bear all the load. Also, the length and width of the cable should be uniform. Without the creation of the cable, it’s impossible to build the space elevator.
Even today we do not have strong materials that can be used in the creation of cables for space elevators. Scientists believe that carbon nanotube carbon nanotubes may be the option.
5.1 Carbon Nanotubes
Carbon nanotubes are multi-walled. It has low density. However, these carbon nanotubes have greater tensile strength than any other material. It has all the properties that we need for creating the space elevator cable.
But still, there are some problems with the carbon nanotubes. Carbon nanotubes are small. These carbon nanotubes are a couple of centimetres long. It can be a maximum of half a meter long.
We want the carbon tubes that will reach the geosynchronous orbit. The earth’s geosynchronous orbit is about 36 thousand kilometres far from the surface of the earth.
So, for using the carbon nanotubes the size should be dramatically increased. And this is impossible with these carbon nanotubes.
5.2 Other Difficulties in the Space Elevator
Powering the climbers is one of the problems. It is basically about the energy which we have to provide to the space elevators.
There are a few proposals that we can use solar energy for space elevators. Some proposals are about wireless energy transfer by laser beams.
Creating one more cable is also an option. The energy required for the Space elevator will be stored in this cable. Many organizations around the world are testing all methods.
Space debris is also a problem for the space elevator. This space debris can be the biggest danger to the space elevator. The cable of the space elevator can break due to this debris.
Just imagine, while taking a ride in a space elevator, suddenly cable breaks due to space debris, Horrific is it? Also, the possibility is wrapping the cable around the earth.
Not just above, but there are many other hurdles in creating a space elevator. If scientists and engineers are able to overcome all the hurdles, the way to space will be opened for all of us!
6. When Space Elevator be Created?
It is expected that space elevators will be created by 2050. But no need to get excited. Initially, going through the space elevator it will take around 4-5 days.
At the initial stage of the development of space elevators, the ride will be too shitty and boring. But as the structure of the space elevator improves, It will be fun! As like we stay on the ship for 3-4 days.
The creation of the space elevator will be a revolutionary invention and the turning point for human civilization. But to make it perfect we have to wait until we create the perfect space elevator.
Once the technology improves we will be able to get rides in space!
7. Lunar Space Elevator
In the past, we already have studied the moon with satellites. Also due to the APOLLO mission of the USA, we have Neil Armstrong the first human to step on the moon.
But now we are dreaming of building a space elevator to the moon. It will have great significance in building colonies on the moon.
For creating a lunar space elevator, the energy will be provided by the sun. So, firstly we have to launch a satellite with a thin cable on the moon. As discussed above, the cable should be extremely strong.
This cable nearly should be able to bear the weight of 5 tons. This cable should arise from the center of the moon so that it does not wrap around the moon.
If the cable is coated with the superconductor, we can move along it by relying on the magnetic field. Due to this, there will be no friction. So, the Space elevator will take us to the moon very quickly and efficiently. The time required for the ride will be just 3-4 hours!
This will allow us to transport everything that we need, From the moon to Earth and Earth to the moon. Also, the shortest time will be required for transport. It will help us to construct the habitable places on the moon.
The space elevator will be the connecting link between the Earth and the moon. Also by creating the space elevator, we can dispose of the lunar and earth waste by throwing it into the sun.
But still, all the plans are on paper only. Also, predicting when all the plans will be implemented is difficult. The reason is that we still do not know the material that can be used in building a space elevator.
8. Space Elevators to Mars
After the moon, Mars is always a part of the discussion in the science world. Mars is the most habitable planet in our solar system. Through the space elevator, it will be easy to reach Mars.
If we are successfully able to build a Mars elevator it will have significant uses for humanity. We will not need the big rockets. Also, the fuel will be saved.
The space elevator will easily transport everything that we need from Mars to Earth and Earth to Mars. For scientists, This will be a golden opportunity to study Mars and its environment.
The Mars space elevator will also play an important role in colonization of the Mars. Due to this, the cost and time for colonizing Mars will be extremely low.
To build the space elevator to Mars, we have to launch the satellite on Mars with cable. This method is the same for creating all types of space elevators.
We can create the space elevator for all solar systems, not just for Mars and the moon. As technology will be at its peak, These space elevators will also improve.
Till now we have discussed the construction and application of the space elevator. Even though the concept of a space elevator sounds like science fiction, technology is the way to make it a reality.
We will be getting rid of those big bulky rockets after the space elevator. There will be many challenges while creating the space elevator but need not worry as our brightest minds from all over the world are working on it.
Many countries are already working on the creation of space elevators. So, almost till 2050, we will be having our first ride to space through the space elevator.
There are many advantages of a space elevator. Our duty doesn’t end by just creating the space elevator. We have to look at the maintenance of the space elevator.
Any accident with the space elevator will lead to dangerous deaths. We have to develop strategies to prevent such cases.
But besides the negative things, the Space Elevator is a beautiful dream. Together we all going to achieve it. The negative things can be prevented by technological improvements.
Lastly, let us hope that very soon we will be able to ride on the space elevator.
So, what are your thoughts about the space elevators? What are other methods for creating space elevators? What safety measures we can take to prevent accidents in space elevators? Let me know in the comment section.