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Moon Cable Space Elevator is Possible- Let's Go Space Truckin'

Updated on April 3, 2015

Time is the Album. ELO is the Artist. So Apropriate

Moon Cable Space Elevator idea

Out of an inexplicably long chain of thoughts came the idea for an almost inexplicably long cable of possibilities. Since the moon faces the earth basically without rotary motion, wouldn't it be possible to balance a cable along the gravitational pull of both celestial bodies, creating an express-transit line for other to experience visiting the moon? Wouldn't it allow us to expand one of the greatest feats of man since biblical times?

The cable would orbit along the earth just as the moon does, traveling faster than the speed of sound. Linking up to the cable would require some tricky moves but nothing our technology can't already handle. The benefit of this alone would allow unbelievable travel along a pre-defined "train route" of the earth. It would be an awesome thing when the cable went over your house, even though it would have to be miles and miles above the surface. Just being in the atmosphere would create a constant sonic rumble that would be magnificent to behold.

How many buttons do you put on a space elevator?
How many buttons do you put on a space elevator?
Every pound costs a lot, so....
Every pound costs a lot, so....
Maybe shrinking people would be an option?
Maybe shrinking people would be an option?
Well, like most novelties it's for the rich to enjoy first.
Well, like most novelties it's for the rich to enjoy first.

The Itsy Bitsy Elevator Climbed Up The Moon Cable...

Cable - heavy - nanofibers. Yes, good show and all that rubbish, but listen up. I think we have a lot to learn from the old spider, designed by G- WHOA, DIAL IT DOWN TO 11! Never mind the designer argument. Don't get your panties all in a bunch over that right now.

The spider can create a lightweight strong line that, on a lunar scale, would make the project feasible. We just have to learn exactly how to make our own giant spider web spinner. If only we knew every engineering principle that went into the design of the spider, or even just the major ones, we could work around what we don't know and do it anyway, with prototypes, tests, and failures galore.

The cable could transport air, electricity, water, and capsules to a (Imagine Dr. Evil saying this) "Moon Base". The purpose of this "Moon Base" would be mostly for-profit entertainment. Part of the entertainment would be the mining operation where visitors to the "Moon Base" would dig out their own souvenirs. The eventual function of the "Moon Base" would unfortunately become military in nature. Like they teach in every academy, you're always better off if you control the high ground.

The cable would do what it's transatlantic predecessors did, make travel and communication less expensive. The added benefit of intra-earth supersonic travel just by "hanging out" on the earth-end of the cable makes the prospect more attractive. I imagine huge shuttles that rocket up to link to it and gracefully detach to land on another continent only hours later.

I imagine other parts of the cable harboring satellite service stations. These would be manned stations with all the tools necessary to repair satellites, clean scope lenses, and deal with the ever-increasing debris field. Somebody has to start cleaning it up.

Come On~ Let's Go Space Truckin' !!!

Where did this scary-a&$ clown spider come from? And how exactly does it sling webs?
Where did this scary-a&$ clown spider come from? And how exactly does it sling webs?

Is it feasible yet?

Let's start by calculating the basics of the moon cable. Assuming one material and creating specs. for the strength along the line we can know what overall mass, thicknesses and densities would be required. Also useful are the speed, what temperatures would the earth-end have to withstand due to friction? What force vectors of drag would act on the cable, and how severe would the bend be?

The less-obvious and even more-interesting calculations necessary for a feasibility study would include - at what altitude limit could the cable reach without contacting the surface of the earth? Where should the moon-end attachment be (if any at all) and what would the pattern of travel look like mapped across the earth? Is there any lingering unknown about gravity that could put a kink in the plans? And just how cool would the "Moon Base" be!

It's time to start considering it as a real possibility, who knows how soon we could have a ticket to the moon via inter-lunar cable. Maybe mankind really can top the Saturn V rocket which has to be man's greatest machine so far, who knows unless we run a true feasibility study.

Practicing for cable construction might look like this
Practicing for cable construction might look like this
Enjoy the view as you travel the circuit
Enjoy the view as you travel the circuit
NASA already has lots of designs that would fit the idea
NASA already has lots of designs that would fit the idea
How close the cable must get depends on so many things
How close the cable must get depends on so many things
Leaving earth would look similar to this
Leaving earth would look similar to this
Docking and undocking maneuvers must be precise
Docking and undocking maneuvers must be precise
Imagining what it would look like from earth is a fun daydream to have. Many daydreams have become reality.
Imagining what it would look like from earth is a fun daydream to have. Many daydreams have become reality.

Update April 2014

Saw a TEDx entitled "Space Elevator" that kinda nails it, have to share it here.


Submit a Comment

  • SidKemp profile image

    Sid Kemp 

    6 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

    The place to start your feasibility study is with Arthur C. Clarke. At the time of trans-oceanic cables, he proposed the geosynchronous communications satellite, which became a reality. In science fiction, he then proposed a space elevator from Earth to geosynchronous orbit in a novel, and it was built of spun diamond (not too different from nanotubes, which are spun carbon, and diamond is carbon). It began with a thread, spun into a cable, and then into a tower with elevators inside. He thought we might do this within 100 years. (I don't remember the name of this novel off-hand.)

    Then, in the novel 3010, he proposed a geosynchronous ring 22,500 miles above earth, with many towers from earth to the ring, each with elevators. That would be a great earth-side anchor for the moon cable. The Earth-end of the cable could slide around the ring, once a month, staying directly below the moon!

  • starlightreflex profile imageAUTHOR

    Doug DeWalt 

    6 years ago from Ohio USA

    Great comment!

    Changing the length of the cable could be done by winding up or down anywhere along the cable. I presume it would wind lower just long enough for docking and unload.

    With proper planning planes could take off using jets and use booster rockets to the upper atmosphere, reaching the hot earth-end of the cable. Once docking is complete, all shuttles would be pulled up by the winding mechanism.

    Once clear of the atmosphere, the same booster rockets could propel the rockets to a high velocity along-side the cable. Stopping could be done via orbit of the moon using the gravity (slow), rocket (expensive), or drag along the cable (feasible?)

    The nanotubes would be woven for strength just like any other cables to achieve the overall distance.

  • scottcgruber profile image


    6 years ago from USA

    Interesting idea. This is essentially a variation on the space elevator and skyhook concepts that engineers have been proposing for years. Though I can think of a number of reasons why the Moon Cable isn't practical.

    First - the moon's orbit around Earth isn't a perfect circle. The difference between apogee and perigee is about 50,000 kilometers. So the Earth-end of this cable would have to be at least that far from Earth to avoid hitting us at perigee, meaning you could really only use it once a month. And that's assuming it had some sort of collision-avoidance capability, as you wouldn't want the cable dragging through GEO destroying your communications satellietes.

    Second, it would also be moving backwards, relative to our rotation, at about 1,500 km/h. You'd need a pretty substantial suborbital rocket to lift passengers or cargo to the hundreds or thousands of kilometers in altitude the Earth-end would be.

    Third, you'd need a pretty fast cable car to transport passengers. It took the Apollo astronauts three days to reach the Moon travelling about 22,000 km/h. A Moon cable car travelling at a thousand miles per hour would take about ten days to get there.

    Finally, there's the problem of building materials. Even the strongest hypothetical carbon nanotubes have a breaking length of 6,000 km. That's long, but far short of the 380,000 km you'd need.

    There are some alternate ideas that might be useful. You could have a space elevator to geostationary orbit and another between the Moon's surface and the Earth-Moon L1 point. Using these would save the fuel cost of launching and powered landing for sending cargo back and forth. However, a cable spanning the entire distance is not practical, even if it is physically possible. Since the point of a space elevator is to save on the energy and fuel cost of getting out of Earth's gravity well, there's really not much benefit to launching a heavy rocket from Earth to save on the comparably minimal cost of trans-lunar insertion.


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