It would be much easier to escape from Earth's gravity if you were to miss energy-intensive missiles.
This is the idea behind Spaceline, a newly proposed type of space elevator that would bind Earth and the moon in a bid to drastically reduce the cost of space travel.
Described in studies published on the pre-press server by ArXiv by researchers at Columbia University and the University of Cambridge, the space line will be tethered to the moon's surface and curl down into a geostationary, waiting for astronauts to go up and into space. The proof of concept document establishes that the space line can be constructed from materials that exist today, which increases the possibility of easier space travel and perhaps even orbital settlements.
Instead of launching missiles all the way out of orbit, astronauts would only have to reach the end point of Spaceline, reducing the cost and challenge of missile launches. As soon as the vacuum of space, free from Earth's gravity and atmospheric pressure, reaches, the spacecraft will meet with the cable and close on a shuttle that will climb along its length.
Zephyr Penoire, one of Colombian astronomy graduate students behind the space line, told Futurism that "the line is becoming part of the infrastructure, much like an early rail line ̵
Earth-based space elevators would be too taxing on any existing material – a stronger gravitational pull and rotation speed on Earth clicked the cable before it could be completed. But the risk of a catastrophic crash, the researchers say, is lower when the cable is only connected to the moon. In the course of the article, Phnom Penh and Cambridge Astronomy graduate student Emily Sandford often notes that carbon nanotubes will be the best material to use, but cannot yet be built for scaling.
Based on the calculations in the document, it seems that several existing materials could handle the challenge – it is simply to find the strongest thing that can be done on a scale.
"That's a good way to put it. The only thing I have to add is that he also needs to be able to survive well in the deep space, "Penoire said." I briefly looked at this, but I'm not a material science expert. I've often used Dyneema as a sample material in calculations, and it has some pretty good properties. "
As for the line itself, the researchers investigated a number of shapes, eventually reaching for a cable that was extremely tight at both ends so that it does not collapse under gravitational pressure but compresses in the middle to prevent snapping. At this point, astronomers do not take into account collisions in space debris in Earth orbit, but Penoir has identified other projects that have met the challenge. to use it as a coupling device for orbital telescopes, research centers and other facilities that can fly at the point of Lagrange, the altitude at which the Moon and Earth exert equal but opposite gravity tional force.
"Think of the early Antarctic base lamps, initially there can only be three engineers at a time, but unlike the low Earth orbit, the Lagrange point is the perfect place to build," Penoire said. "We could (indulging in a little imagination) imagine prefabricated panels sent up the line and assembled into a growing colony. I was amazed to find that thousands of people now live in Antarctica, living a significant part of the year – eventually the same could happen at Lagrange. ”
More about space elevators: Why space Elevators can be the future of space travel