Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Near earth Asteroids and a space elevator

  1. Mar 15, 2013 #1
    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.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 15, 2013 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Capturing an asteroid in earth orbit would be difficult, holding it stable in a fixed distance - priceless.
  4. Mar 15, 2013 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    If you read a publication such as this one released by NASA:
    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:

    And sure enough, this year the Keck Institute for Space Studies at Caltech published this feasibility study:

    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:
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2013
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook