Near earth Asteroids and a space elevator

Ok so this is silly and purely hypothetical...

I am under the impression that should we ever decide to construct a space elevator we would need a pretty large mass on the space side of things. and that is one of the hurtles to making one.

I am wondering if we have the capability to "catch" one of these near earth asteroids. i guess we would not have to use it for a space elevator a bunch of studies could be done with just an asteroid in oribit. but the space elevator was what prompted the thought.
 

Chronos

Science Advisor
Gold Member
11,398
731
Capturing an asteroid in earth orbit would be difficult, holding it stable in a fixed distance - priceless.
 

Bandersnatch

Science Advisor
2,761
1,587
If you read a publication such as this one released by NASA:
http://www.nss.org/resources/library/spaceelevator/2000-SpaceElevator-NASA-CP210429.pdf
you'll find out that the question of capturing an asteroid is skimmed over, with a suggestion that it is both feasible, not yet developed(as of 2000) and probably less interesting/daunting than other hurdles that need to be overcome.

This 2011 article from National Space Society, talked at length about the guts of asteroid capture:
http://www.nss.org/settlement/asteroids/capture.html

And sure enough, this year the Keck Institute for Space Studies at Caltech published this feasibility study:
http://www.kiss.caltech.edu/study/asteroid/asteroid_final_report.pdf

But the space elevator doesn't need the counterweight to be anything more than an additional length of cable dangling out from the far end. This publication mentions such a variant:
http://www.mill-creek-systems.com/HighLift/contents.html
 
Last edited:

Physics Forums Values

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving
Top