October 29, 2021

The Chinese have developed a material that will help build a space elevator

The space elevator theme has come and gone for many years. Until now, mankind has not had the right technology to implement this beautiful vision, but it seems that this has changed for the better. We keep our fingers crossed!

All thanks to scientists from the Chinese Tsinghua University. For several years, they have been conducting intensive research on a special fiber of the future, which would be characterized by extraordinary abilities. All indications are that they finally managed to create something that is ideal for building a space elevator. According to many concepts, with its help it will be possible to carry loads to the Earth’s orbit, and in the future even to the moon.

The construction of such an installation should be quite simple. Vertical rails will be built from carbon nanotubes, along which the elevator will move. Until now, the biggest problem has been the right material. The fiber developed in the Middle Kingdom meets these requirements. Only 1 cubic centimeter of this specially reinforced fiber made of carbon nanotubes has a strength of up to 800 tons. The Chinese boast that it is currently the most durable material on our planet.

According to NASA’s concept from over 10 years ago, the fiber required to build a space elevator must have a tensile strength of 7 gigapascals. Meanwhile, the material developed by the Chinese from Tsinghua University reaches as much as 80 gigapascals, and the theoretical strength is up to 300 gigapascals. The fiber is to be constantly improved, so we can expect even better performance in the future.

This shows that mankind already has the basis of technology in hand to build such a space elevator. However, the most difficult issue remains to be implemented, namely the production of at least six rails of 30,000 kilometers each. Chinese scientists believe that humanity currently does not have the technology that will help to produce such elements in less than a decade.

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Either way, the Chinese do not lose hope and will continue to try to realize this cosmic vision of putting the installation into Earth’s orbit. Perhaps some technology will be developed in the near future to speed up the work. We keep our fingers crossed for this and at the same time we wonder if this idea makes any sense, looking through the prism of mastering the technology of landing rockets and their recycling, which significantly reduces the costs of launching rockets with space missions.

Source: CMP / Photo. Pexels