Space Elevator – Science Fiction or the Future of Mankind?

It’s hard to get to space As much as we all wish there were an easy, and affordable way to see our planet
floating in the dark Right now, the only way is to become
an astronaut or a billionare But there is a concept
that might make it possible -while serving as the starting point
for the exploration of the universe- The space elevator How exactly does it work? To understand how a space elevator
will get us into space We must first understand
what an orbit is Being in orbit basically means
falling towards something, but moving fast enough to miss If you throw a ball on earth
it makes an arch through the air, and then hits the ground In space, gravity makes you move
much the same way, but if you move sideways fast enough the curvature of the earth makes the ground
fall away beneath you as fast as gravity pulls you towards it So, to enter Earth’s orbit
rockets have to go up and sideways fast By contrast, a space elevator
taps into energy from Earth’s rotation to get the cargo going fast Imagine a child spinning a toy on a rope
with an ant on the child’s hand As the ant climbs out along the rope it starts to move faster and faster
as it ascends Compared to rockets,
with cargo launched on an elevator you only need to provide
the energy to go up Fast sideways movement comes free
with the Earth’s rotation But the space elevator would without a doubt be the single largest and most expensive
structure ever built by humans So, is it worth it? It all comes down to costs Rockets burn a huge amount of rocket fuel just to get a small
amount of cargo into space At current prices, it costs about $20,000
to put one kilogram of payload into space that’s $1.3 million dollars
for the average human $40 million dollars for your car billions for
an international space station This immense cost is one of the major
limitations of human spaceflight Even with advancing technology, this cost isn’t likely to be comparable with the
price of an airline ticket anytime soon A space elevator would solve this problem After construction, a space elevator is projected to reduce the cost
one hundredfold to $200 per kilogram If an inexpensive space elevator
costs 20 billion dollars, then we’ll recoup our losses
after launching only one million tons Close to the weight
of two international space stations So what would a space elevator look like
in real life? A space elevator has four major components: the tether, anchor, counterweight
and climber The elevator part of the space elevator
is the tether and the climber It extends from the surface of the Earth to space The climber is like a conventional
elevator carriage A chamber that works its way
up and down the tether At the base would be an anchor pinning the tether to the Earth
along with a port for climbers At the top is the counterweight
which holds up the tether The tether is held tight like a rope and supported from above
by the tension from the counterweight Located higher than 36,000 kilometers
above the Earth’s surface At the counterweight
could be a space station, a launching point for all missions
from the spaceport elevator But can we actually build one? It’s hard to say The biggest challenge is the tether It needs to be light, affordable and more stable than any material
we can produce right now There are promising materials
like graphene and diamond nanothreads, but even they may not be strong enough And aside from being incredibly strong, the tether would also have to withstand
atmospheric corrosion, radiation and micrometeorite and debris impacts Additionally, it takes several days
to climb the elevator How do we power the climber? It requires a lot of energy to go up Do we need a nuclear reactor
on our elevator carriage? Or do we beam it power from the ground
with a super powered laser? And where do we get the raw materials
for a 36,000-kilometer-long tether? Do we make it on Earth
and launch it into space? Or do we make it in space
and lower it down to the Earth? Could asteroid mining be the answer? Put simply, there are still some major
technological hurdles to overcome And a space elevator is not without risk Should the tether break,
it would collapse in spectacular style If it breaks near the anchor the force exerted by the counterweight
will cause the entire elevator to rise up ascending into space Should it break near the counterweight the tether will fall, wrapping around the world
and whipping the end off The resulting debris in orbit could pose
serious problems to future spaceflight If we build a space elevator on Earth,
we have to do it right the first time For these reasons some experts
have proposed first building a space elevator on the Moon The Moon’s gravity
is much weaker than the Earth’s so a flimsier but existing material
like kevlar could serve as a tether Even with all these challenges, the payoff of having a working
space elevator would be immense It might be the first step to truly becoming
a space-faring civilization Maybe we will never build
a space elevator, but in trying to do so
we might learn an awful lot And when it comes
to the exploration of the universe, there can’t be too many dreams
of a glorious future Subtitles by the community

100 Replies to “Space Elevator – Science Fiction or the Future of Mankind?

  1. Dumbest idea ever that should never be taken seriously by anyone who isn't a complete moron. Completely impossible for about 3 dozen different reasons. Even if you assume the necessary materials could POSSIBLY exist (which they can't), let alone that they ever will or that humans will ever even be in a position to create and use it, there is absolutely no way humanity would or could ever mine or manufacturer enough raw materials, there is no way to assemble it, there is no way to actually feasibly USE it. It's just idiocy after idiocy after idiocy

  2. Very nice…however there are a few problems:
    #1- lateral acceleration components introduced by upward motion (Coriolis force) can only be supplied by a bent cord. This limits the elevators upward maximum velocity. Best estimates are a minimum of 6 days transition time, could be as high as a month even. For the supposedly largest man made structure, this is supremely inefficient. Rockets accomplish the same in about 5 hours. This will severely limit mankind's ability to to transfer cargo at realistic rates. The idea that a single incredibly large elevator of very limited weight capacity and very long transition time can be considered economic in any larger space based construction project, is laughable. Crossing the Atlantic in a rowboat comes to mind.
    #2- Winds and storms will drift the elevator and the cord in an unpredictable way, we are talking about in the order of kilometers. The only way to counter act this tendency is to greatly increase the cord tension which seems to be out of question since no chord is in existence today that can even support its own weight. The implications of a marginally visible cord wondering about the atmosphere not necessarily matching the likely different wind speeds at different altitudes, is an incredible safety concern to aviation.
    #3- Graphene is highly conductive. Magnetic field changes associated with solar events could effect the cord via induction. These effects need to be studied and experimented on.They could be highly destructive. After all they can destroy power lines here on Earth.
    #4-The cord is extremely long. In the order of thirty thousand kilometers. Its cross sectional area is therefore perhaps hundreds of thousand times greater than that of a space capsule housing humans. Likewise the likeliness of collisions with space junk and meteorites would increase in the same proportion. Is that a risk one can take?
    #5 What about radiation protection? Passengers will need to be protected. How heavy? How effective? The cord itself has to withstand high radiation doses as well..
    #6 Heat expansion effects, weather induced oscillations, earthquake and pole shift etc effects all have to be dealt with, at least conceptually.
    Conclusion: This is a pipe dream. Should we call it a "tether dream"

  3. I'm still holding out for Skylon style space planes with VTOL capability powered by on board nuclear fusion.

    But then, I watch too much TV and am not a physicist.

  4. I kinda find it sad that no one referenced Gundam 00's space elevators.

    They are nearly the same space elevators the video described, but also equipped with solar panels that provide energy to Earth below without using nukes.

  5. I'm just laughing at the idea of Kevlar being "flimsy", haha! I mean, it's not wrong, considering the structural needs of a space elevator; it only makes sense that a substance would be strong or flimsy relative to the engineering application, but it is still rather odd just hearing it.

  6. I am so glad i am 5 years old because i can understand this video. But i couldn't go past 1:90 because it is so nauseating.

  7. A 2,000 km low orbit elevator is far more practical to build than a 36,000 km high Earth orbit one. You still get stuff to space with significantly less energy than today only it doesn't take more than a day to ascend. It's also far more practical for launching satellites which would be the primary commercial purpose for and elevator.

  8. All of this sounds amazing, but how can we spend so much money in something like this while people are dying of hunger…

  9. "1 million tons . . . close to the weight of two International Space Stations"
    Guys, the ISS only weighs ~500 tons, not 500,000 tons! One million tons would get you two THOUSAND International-Space-Stations-worth of material into orbit.
    I think someone looked up the mass of the ISS and read kg as tons, or something. That is a huge error, off by three orders of magnitude.

  10. to be honest, id rather just have a 100% re-usable rocket than a space elevator.

    mainly because of safety reasons and also a rocket launch is a much more amazing visual than some elevator going up very quickly

  11. The real problem with space elevators that all of the proponents conveniently ignore is that every single satellite below geostationary orbit will hit the cable. Every. Single. One.

  12. Let's dig a hole from Europe to Australia and make an elevator there. Makes more sense then this crap. Do people actually believe this?

  13. I'll get some Mexicans from home depot. We'll have that shit done in a few months but I'm low on funding. Venmo me money so I can get started

  14. ISS WEIGHS 417,000 KG, NOT 417,000 TONS
    Great Pyramid weighs 5,9 million tons, so no, ISS does not weigh 10% of the Great Pyramid.

  15. the last line "here are some more videos if you need to procastinate more" man that got me and then i suddenly thought wait if i watch this channel so much why aren't i subscribed yet and then I subscribed

  16. How could we build a space elevator on the moon if the moon doesn't really rotate? I mean it rotates once every time it orbits earth, not very fast.

  17. The tower of babel was supposedly a stairway to heaven. Its funny because it's like history repeating itself. I doubt our languages will get mixed up like the last supposed time.

  18. Excuse me, I have a question. Maybe you could answer it for me. Say you traveled up in the space elevator, up to the 35000 kilometers. In the way up, gravity would be pushing down because of the upward movement of the elevator. But what would happen when it became stationary at 35000 kilometers, would gravity be the same as in the surface of the Earth, would you experience weightlessness or would inertia push you outwards, away from the Earth? Thank you.

  19. I want to that future where it breaks and wraps around the earth and sends earth off its axis then the weather go's haywire ect.

  20. There is no free lunch when considering angular momentum. As the climber is going up, it has to accelerate to geostationary velocity in the horizontal direction. While vertical motion is relatively easy, consider the distance to be covered. At 100 miles/hour, the climber is out of most the atmosphere in less than an hour. The time to 23,000 miles would be 230 hours or less than 2 weeks. All the way up the climber could use a maglev propulsion system but what materials would work? A friction climber would face wear and speed limitaion.

    Most likely a space elevator is a thought problem with no solution.

  21. why not use a bridge instead of an elevator?
    with a bridge we can have more width in places where there more tension, so current materials can work.
    the bridge can also loop throw space and be anchored to earth in 2 locations without any counter weight.

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