A space elevator is an elevator that takes us out of the earth’s gravitational field or out of the earth’s atmosphere. The space elevator is simply an idea at present coming from the dreams of a person watching the open sky from earth and thinking what it would look like to see the earth from space. To make it feasible either we should be an astronaut or a billionaire out of which the most economical way for a normal human to see space is to build an elevator to outer space. We got an impossible dream to build a space elevator but since necessity is the mother of all inventions let us see its possibilities.
Theory of a Space Elevator.
The elevator moves between two points i.e., the starting point and the stopping point. For a space elevator, the starting point is the earth and the endpoint should be some point in space.
Let us consider the conditions of the point in space where we can place the endpoint of the elevator.
- The endpoint should always be on top of the geographic location, where the space elevator is built.
- The endpoint should always stay at a constant distance away from the earth.
The best location in space for the endpoint of the space elevator is geostationary orbit because the point on the orbit stays on top of a location at the same time staying at a constant distance away from the earth’s core even when the earth revolves. Geostationary orbit is special because its orbit is circular due to the effect of counter forces acting on each other i.e., the earth’s gravitational force and the centrifugal forces.
For a satellite in a geostationary orbit, the earth’s gravitational force and centrifugal force cancel each other.
From this equation, we have the distance between the center of the earth to the endpoint of the elevator i.e., is equal to 42,168 km. We could reduce this by taking the start point of the elevator on the surface of the earth at the equator now the distance between the space elevator start point and the endpoint is 36,000 km. So from this, We got some numbers to work with. But to build an elevator to space we are required to design its parts efficiently keeping those numbers in mind.
Want to what are materials can be used to build a Space Elevator and What are the main parts of the space elevator do check my blog on Can we Build a Space Elevator in Real Life? | Space Elevator
Originally published at https://www.futuretechideas.com on April 26, 2021.