Space Shuttle Could Transport Astronauts Between Earth and Moon, Scientists Say

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CAMBRIDGE – It’s a curious new project called Spaceline dedicated to building a space elevator for the purpose of uniting the earth and the moon and drastically reducing the cost of space travel.

The lift that will connect us to our natural satellite was described in an investigation published on the ArXiv prepress server by researchers from Columbia University (USA) and Cambridge University (UK).

The Spaceline would be connected to the surface of the moon and would hang in geostationary orbit around the earth, waiting for astronauts to engage and travel into space.

The proof paper describing the prototype from concept points out that it could be built from materials that currently exist, which increases the chances of space travel being easier and perhaps even having orbital settlements, Ticbeat writes.

Instead of being launched out of orbit, astronauts would only have to reach the end of the Spaceline, reducing the cost and challenge of rocket launching.

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Once the vacuum of space is reached, free of terrestrial gravity and atmospheric pressure, the spacecraft would meet the cable, connecting with the solar-powered conveyor that would climb the craft along the cable.

Zephyr Penoyre, one of the study’s leaders, said this project would become “an infrastructure, much like an old railroad: the movement of people and cargo along it is much simpler and easier than deep space travel.”

Earth’s strong gravitational pull has the potential to break the cable before the journey could be completed if it were tied to our planet. But the risk of catastrophic collapse, according to the researchers, is lower when the cable is only tied to the moon.

Cambridge University astronomy student Emily Sandford pointed out that carbon nanotubes would be the best material to use, although it is necessary to analyze how to build them on a large scale.

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