A Canadian company proposes a tower that would extend 12 miles into the Earth's atmosphere.
Going up? The space elevator, a so-crazy-it’s-genius idea, has won a patent from the U.S.
As the Mirror reports, Thoth Technology Inc, of Canada, has proposed building a tower that would extend 12 miles up from the Earth’s surface, more than 20 times the height of the current tallest building in the world. Using pneumatic pressure, passengers and supplies could be lifted in an electric car to the top.
The tower’s inventor, Dr. Brendan Quine, proposes the concept as an alternative to the often dangerous rocket launch of current space travel. “From the top of the tower, space planes will launch in a single stage to orbit,” he explained, “returning to the top of the tower for refueling and reflight.”
Thoth president Caroline Roberts claims that the tower launch system could “make space flight more like taking a jet.”
The Christian Science Monitor reports that the tower’s elevator would be 30% cheaper than the rocket fuel currently used to launch space vehicles. Also, it would be reusable, unlike any rockets or fuel.
No construction has actually begun upon the tower, but it is only one of multiple space-related projects various companies are exploring. SpaceX has been working on self-landing rockets. As it stands, the take-off and landing portions of space exploration remain the most uncertain, expensive, and dangerous, and it’s a new kind of space race to discover alternatives.
The hypothetical location of the space elevator has yet to be determined.