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B Is a lunar space elevator a realistic proposition?

  1. Oct 16, 2016 #1
    I recently came across this article (from 2005) outlining a proposal for a lunar space elevator: http://www.niac.usra.edu/files/library/meetings/fellows/mar05/1032Pearson.pdf

    Their is nothing in the article which stands out to me as being unrealistic, although the cost estimate ($10B) might well be optimistic. Are there any technical reasons why this could not be done, and would it offer a more economic method of delivering material to the moon and beyond than existing rocket technology?
     
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  3. Oct 16, 2016 #2

    phyzguy

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    It should be feasible. The strength requirements on the cable are much easier than an Earth space elevator and within the range of existing materials. Be aware, though that the cable needs to be more than 50,000 km long. We are nowhere close to being able to build something like that today. As you say, the 10B$ price tag seems very optimistic. If it could be built, it should be a much more cost effective way of getting material into space than rockets.
     
  4. Oct 16, 2016 #3
    The ribbon construction seems to be the biggest variable. The pdf shows weight (ribbon + counterweight) to length estimates for between 60,000km - 300,000km. On page 12 it also lists some possible materials - do you know what lengths are currently achievable, and whether large scale production is feasible for any of these.
     
  5. Oct 16, 2016 #4

    phyzguy

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    I suspect there's no market for cables this long today. Who needs a cable that can go around the Earth multiple times? So probably nobody knows how hard it will be to build something like that. However, I'm not aware of any technical limitations that prevent cables this long from being built.
     
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