Space elevator – level 3

24-04-2024 15:00

Ideas of a space elevator have been around since the 19th century; however, we still continue to rely on tried and tested methods of getting into space.

Rockets use a lot of fuel to get into space, and they have to carry fuel to lift the fuel, therefore, getting to the Moon or Mars costs millions of dollars. With a space elevator, the cost could be reduced to dollars per kilogram.

The basic idea of a space elevator is a cable that’s pulled thanks to a counterweight. The elevator stays vertical because the counterweight is thrown outward by the Earth’s rotation and the base is held down by gravity. Early ideas suggested building a cable from Earth up into space; however, the materials needed to withstand such enormous weight don’t exist. Physicists have come up with a solution, carbon nanotubes, a supermaterial stronger than other materials. But there are estimated millions of objects orbiting the Earth, and they could cause significant damage to the elevator.

Difficult words: counterweight (a weight that’s as heavy as something else, so that the two objects can balance), withstand (to resist), nanotube (a material that has a tube-like structure and it’s composed of a large number of carbon atoms).

You can watch the video news lower on this page.

What potential solutions or precautions could be taken to address the potential risks posed by space debris to a space elevator made of carbon nanotubes?


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