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No Joke - An Elevator to the Moon

Updated on March 2, 2013

Space Elevator

The Physics
The Physics | Source

Space Elevator

It can not really be said that this is a new idea. As early as 1895, the idea was put forward by Konstantin Tsoilkovsky. Then, in 1960 further analysis was provided by the scientist Yuri Artsutanov in a Sunday supplement he wrote in Pravda.

In 1966 John Isaacs published an article in “Science” about the concept. None of these though really reached the scientific world at large.

In 1972 James Cline submitted a paper to NASA describing a lunar elevator concept. This though was rejected by NASA citing risk and cost.

Finally in 1975, Jerome Pearson published in “Acta Astranautica” the concept for a space elevator and this reached the scientific world in general and even inspired Sir Arthur Clarke to write “The Fountains of Paradise”.

Sir Arthur C Clarke

Always Ahead of the Times
Always Ahead of the Times | Source


The theory is that a one meter wide thin strip of strong material could be anchored to a base on Earth and stretch into space. Specially developed vehicles could then “climb” these strips carrying space craft materials or even people into space. This of course would be more cost effective than using rockets each time. It has been estimated that by use of an elevator such as this, the cost of putting something into space would be perhaps $100 per kilo, as opposed to the $10,000 to $40,000 per kilo today.

Robert Cassanova, a director of the “NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts” has now said that there is nothing wrong with the physics of such a concept.

David Raitt a senior technology officer for the “European Space Agency” believes that it is only a matter of time before one comes into existence.

The problem has always been finding a material strong enough that was suitable for the job.

This changed though with “Nanotubes”. These are sheets of graphite rolled into tubes which although are only nanometers in diameter, they are 100 times stronger than steel but lighter. The trouble with this though is, there isn’t enough of it, as yet, to make the elevator.


Now a California based private company “The Liftport Group”, headed by a former NASA researcher, Michael Laine, is planning to make a space elevator to the Moon within 8 years.

The plan is to make a space elevator to link the Moon to a special space station, that space station will then be linked to a platform on Earth.

President of the company Michael Laine says that the project should only require the launch of one space craft, approximate in size to the famous Soviet Sputnik 1.

Although it has been confirmed that the plan relies on the use of “ribbons”, the actual material to be used can only be speculated at, several possibilities are M5 Fiber, T1000g carbon fiber, Spectra 200 or Zylon, all of which are very thin and very strong.

The company plans to first make a test with a cable reaching 2 kilometers high. This, they say, will be funded by investors over the internet. After which investors will be sought to build “The Elevator to the Moon”.

Funding should not be hard when it is considered that this project could lead to many future ventures.

Included in these ventures may be tourism and satellites capable of capturing solar energy.

Perhaps the most profitable venture though may be the mining of the Moon.

Helium 3 is a raw material that is known to exist on the Moon and can be used as a source of energy on the Earth. Experts estimate that the natural resources of Helium 3, on the Moon could solve all the Earth’s energy problems for a minimum of 1000 years.

I think that the only question left is: which will be built first, a hotel or a mine?


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    • somethgblue profile image

      somethgblue 5 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

      Since we 'supposedly' landed on the Moon in '69 to '72 we have yet to return at least publicly.

      Does anyone really think this is due to funding? Do you think we don't have the technology? Do you think we don't have the resources, training, motivation?

      We haven't been back because we have been told in no uncertain terms that until we get rid of nuclear weapons and stop killing each other we are not allowed.

      Our neighbors in space do not want us in it, do you really think the Star Wars initiative put in place by the Reagan administration is pointed at Earth to deter nuclear weapons from Russia?

      It is to shoot down UFO's but doesn't work because we are a thousand years behind in technology.

      Thank you Rafken for allowing me to explain, perhaps I should open a forum topic?

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Who denies permission, somethingblue? god would surely be all for it as he can't help our overpopulation problem. It's nonsense like this that leaves man in the dark ages.


    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico

      All this will be commonplace when our grandchildren are middle aged.

      It would seem huge helium balloons could support a way station for light materials, then another step to the space station using the lowest possible orbit, then the moon...great stuff!


    • Firehorse1967 profile image

      Gavin Fowke 5 years ago from Kingston Upon Thames, UK

      Interesting Blog. I have been following this type of concept for a while, and it does appear 'nano-tubes' may offer a good solution. Mining gives a sound economic background to the project as well.

      To me, just the saving in cost of moving equipment etc. to space suggests we have to view projects like this with all seriousness if we want to explore the solar system and beyond.

      The other suggestion of a space tether has always fascinated me. I would be interested to hear on why a cable to the moon may be more technologically possible, as well as the accepted possibilities for mining and perhaps generating hydrogen fuel from a water pocket.

      Thanks for the blog.

    • profile image

      gogogo 5 years ago

      I am curious who said we cannot get off this planet, and what about the astronauts that have . Interesting hub

    • sparkster profile image

      Sparkster Publishing 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Indeed. Didn't Michael Jackson actually have a trip to space or the moon booked and paid for before he died? And isn't Richard Branson (Virgin) also planning on allowing public space travels? This is what I have heard anyway.

      There certainly have been talks about this kind of thing going on for a long time yet nothing like it has actually been done yet. A way of securing funding perhaps?

      As for mining on the moon I have also heard that our governments have actually been doing this already for a very long time.

    • somethgblue profile image

      somethgblue 5 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

      I have heard of this concept from many different sources some of which you mention and as you write it isn't anything new.

      However the same reason NASA hasn't returned to the Moon even though the Rockets were built and the crew's were trained in the 70's still holds true and that is that we are not allowed off this planet.

      We can send all the unmanned probes and satellites we want into space and can even build and man a space station but getting off the planet either to the Moon or Mars is not allowed, period, end of story.