It turns out that the idea of an elevator to the moon is a naturalEarth satellite - doesn’t look so crazy. Such an elevator can drastically reduce costs and increase the reliability of equipment on the surface of the moon. Such an elevator will make it possible to deliver supplies and materials from the surface of the Moon to the orbit of the Earth and vice versa. It is much easier to get valuable materials on the Moon, and then send them to Earth than from Earth.
Washington company LiftPort Group seesthe development of such an elevator is possible. The strategic plan of the company provides for the creation of a working infrastructure Lunar Space Elevator (LSEI). The project provides for a commercial approach, involving the best technologies, the simplicity of Sputnik and a single solution for lifting heavy materials.
- 1 Infrastructure
- 2 Steady progress
- 3 pressing issues
- 4 paving the way
- 5 Reclamation of the Moon
- 6 Latest Technology
- 7 Celestial goods
LiftPort concept involves usinghoisting vehicles that will travel up and down the ribbon cable, which will be part of the anchor station mounted on the airless moon. Such a lunar elevator is extremely important because it can provide a soft landing on the lunar surface. And indeed make it expedient to develop this area.
The company envisages launching a rocket from Earth toPicoGravity's lab at Lagrange, which will deliver cargo to the surface of the moon. After the lunar elevator starts working, it can easily deliver equipment and people to the moon. Approximately thirty people a year will be able to take a space elevator in the first years of its operation.
“We are making steady progress,” said Michelle Lane, president of LiftPort Group, in an interview with Space.com. “I think the moon has attracted enough attention over the past year.”
Recall, not so long ago, NASA announced the programLunar Cargo Transportation (Lunar cargo transportation) and Landing by Soft Touchdown (Lunar CATALYST landing), which are designed to stimulate the commercial transport of goods to the surface of the Moon.
In addition, the proceeds from a recent Kickstarter company allowed LiftPort to focus on the idea of a moon elevator. Nevertheless, she will have to solve a lot of problems.
“There are certain differences between complex, extremelydifficult and impossible. ” By extremely complex questions, Lane means other projects. "Of course, we plan to make an elevator between Earth and Mars, but it will take a little longer."
Some believe that building a space elevator on Earth is already a rather difficult task, not to mention the moon.
“The prospects of the Earth space elevator are a bitbrighter, but still have problems, ”says Jerome Pearson, president of STAR. He is one of the first supporters and inspirers of the ideas of space elevators.
Pearson says in the list of challengesthere are at least a few points: the production of a huge number of high-strength carbon nanotubes; the dynamics of the structure of 100,000 kilometers in length and the problems of debris in low Earth orbit, which can destroy the cable of the space elevator.
Pearson Design - EDDE, Electrodynamicgarbage destroyer, has to do something with orbital trash. Pearson believes that EDDE, a maneuverable spacecraft, can eliminate all dangerous debris - more than 10 centimeters in diameter - from low Earth orbit in about 10-15 years.
But first and last, Pearson says, engineers need to understand the dynamics of such gigantic structures before they risk building a space elevator.
Paving the way
“A lunar space elevator can be built fromexisting high-strength composites without waiting for the corresponding carbon nanotubes, and its dynamics can be tested on the Moon, where the elevator will not endanger satellites in low Earth orbit or Earth’s geostationary orbit, ”says Pearson.
In addition, the lunar space elevator candeliver a huge amount of lunar regolith to high Earth orbit. Pearson believes that it can be used to counterbalance the Earth’s space elevator. An asteroid can also be used as a counterweight.
“At the current pace of progress, EDDE could rid the Earth of dangerous space debris by the middle of the next decade, and a space elevator could be built at about the same time.”
“The development of the lunar industry will provide miningregolith, lunar polar water and possibly helium-3 for nuclear power, says Pearson. “Thus, I expect that we will have a space elevator on the moon by 2025, and this will open the way for the construction of a space elevator on Earth.”
Last year, selenologists sent a letter to the US Congress calling for the exploration of the moon for scientific and commercial use.
In particular, the letter states that the studyand use “is not just a box to look into. We believe that if we take into account the diminishing superiority of our nation in space exploration, if we ignore the moon, this will be the most adverse effect on US economic growth and national security. "
Among the key topics for conversation in the letterit is said that the Moon has rich resources that can be used to significantly reduce the cost of developing the solar system, and it can also stimulate new industries and technologies (including creating new jobs) - mining, extraction, storage and use of these resources for providing near-moon industry and exploration of space beyond the moon.
“The Earth Moon is a treasury of useful“Fossil, precious metals, rare earths, helium-3, and propellant oxygen,” says Charles Radley, Technical Advisor, LiftPort Group. However, flying to the moon is currently very expensive. Using modern fibers, space agencies can build a lunar elevator, which will reduce the cost of transportation to the moon by six times.
The lunar elevator is increasingly called “technology,which will change the game, "because it will open the way for the commercial development of the lunar surface. A lunar elevator can reduce the cost of mining on the moon to near-terrestrial level.
In addition, a lunar elevator can make sending materials from the Moon to Earth virtually free. The elevator will pay for itself in 19 cycles of useful transportation.
On this account, Radley provided severalheavenly goods that will be available thanks to the moon. For example, the use of lunar oxygen, he says, will reduce the cost of launching a geostationary satellite by about seven times.
Then there is helium-3, which today is sold formillions of dollars per ounce in the secondary market. Demand far exceeds supply. It is abundant on the moon, but extremely rare on Earth. In the USA, helium-3 will end by 2030.
Thirdly, there are rare earths thatvital to the defense and high-tech industry. 96% of rare earths today are mined in China. The moon can be a valuable alternative.