In the future human bases will be built on the Moon; how to reach the surface of our satellite as quickly as possible? Of course, thanks to a space elevator! Of course, it is a science fiction scenario, but its construction could still be feasible… at least on paper.
How do you do that? A cable would be anchored to the lunar surface and extend to our planet for 400,000 km (to show you the distance we are talking about, consider that between the Earth-Moon space all planets of our Solar System could enter). The cable would not be attached to our planet, due to the relative movements of the two objects, but could stand high in the Earth’s orbit.
It would take “just” a few billion dollars according to Zephyr Penoyre and Emily Sandford, the two astronomy grad students of the University of Columbia who conducted the study published in 2019. On our satellite, too, there are so many materials to extract, such as helium-3 that could be used in fusion power stations here on Earth, that the elevator would pay back after conducting 53 trips.
The cable, which would not be more often than a pencil, would weigh 40 tons and be made with the Kevlar. The elevator, in this case, would be used to transport materials extracted from our satellite from the Moon to Earth. Once we get close to the Earth’s atmosphere, a spaceship would take the materials and bring them to our planet.
The idea of space elevators has existed for a century and their implementation could become feasible in the future. We’ll see.