So this news may not impact many of us (unless those of you reading plan on living for another hundred years, to which I would say, “That’s impressive”) but apparently, experts are saying that space elevators could be ready for use within a century. And to make this sound even more appealing, these space elevators could be built cost efficiently, which means no major debts or big payments to recover from most likely.
All this information is coming from Peter Debney, a leading engineer at global construction and design firm Arup. He believes that, although many have predicted that these space elevators could be contstructed and completed by as soon as 2035, which would be incredibly expensive, that the there is a more affordable way to build these devices – which essentially act as a transportation system, using a cable, that would allow people to travel between Earth and space – over a longer period of time.
“Space elevators are a permanent infrastructure that will reach from the ground to high orbit,” Debney said. “I believe that they could be built cost-effectively within a century, and pay for themselves within just a few years. While we have not quite got all the technology in place, and there are still engineering challenges to be overcome, the space elevator has nearly arrived.”
Debney has stated that these space elevators would cost a great deal initially; however, they will be cheaper in the long run, as the initial price and subsequent costs would still be less than the amount of money that is spent regularly launching rockets into orbit. The estimated building cost of a space elevator, according to Debney, would be around $20 billion.
“Today the aerospace industry carries over three billion passengers and $6 trillion of goods a year,” Debney said. “This means that the cost of a space elevator is about the same as one day’s air freight.
“Cheap space flight would accelerate this innovation, and bring even more benefits in the form of lunar and asteroid mining, as well as an expansion of the human race comparable to our ancestors first leaving Africa or the discovery of America.”
I’ll be honest, the science behind it all doesn’t make a lick of sense to me, but the idea of being able to regularly travel into space? Yeah, I’m totally in support of my grandchildren having the option to do that.
Photo via Factor Tech