While it might appear to be something straight out of science fiction, scientists have been studying methods to make the complicated idea a reality for years and now a duo of astronomers, of the University of Cambridge and the University of Columbia, have what they think is a feasible alternative.
In an unpublished document that has not but been peer-reviewed, they suggest that materials similar to Zylon, a polymer carbon, might permit us to build a tower or cable that might extend from the moon’s surface to Earth’s geostationary orbit, relatively than being anchored directly to our planet.
They stated that the structure could be at a safe distance from the Earth, which is about 362,000 kilometers from the moon to avoid contact with satellites.
The trip to the moon would involve launching at the proper height, synchronizing with the end of the space cable, utilizing solar propulsion to move along the cable to Lagrange points (where there are zero gravity and no other physical interference), and slowing down to land in lunar orbit.
Based on the scientists’ calculations, it will be possible to construct such a structure using current technologies. The idea is “eminently believable and may have been missed as a major step within the development of our capability as a species to move within our solar system,” they stated.
Details of their paper recommend that the cable might be about as thick as pencil lead and anchored on the moon with a budget estimated at billions of dollars. Although this may appear a hefty price tag, such a structure could save us plenty of funds the scientists mentioned that “it will reduce the fuel needed to reach the surface of the moon to a 3rd of the present value.”
However, Bernard Foing, the executive director of the International Lunar Exploration Working Group at the European Space Agency, informed Business Insider that the difficulty was “very complicated.”
When it comes to carrying out such a mission, “a technical plan remains to be very premature, even when it is an inspiring idea,” Foing stated.