Originally published in Speed Magazine, December 2012
Image credit: Liftport
Imagine an elevator extending from the Moon’s surface into space that would allow us to safely land cargo, and even people, on the Moon using current technology. Sounds far-fetched? Not so says a company headed by former NASA researcher Michael Laine. In fact, he’s pretty confident we can do it in less than a decade. All it would take is $800 million.
Laine’s company, Liftport, has already successfully raised over $38,000 via Kickstarter to fund research for what they say is the precursor to building the first space elevator on the moon: a robotic car that would be sent two kilometers up via a cable and high-altitude helium balloon platforms that are tethered to the ground that could also act as communications towers.
While the next short-term goal is to raise $3 million to help fund a one-year feasibility study for the moon space elevator project they’re hoping to spearhead, Laine emphasized that he set a relatively modest initial fundraising goal to garner media attention and get people interested in the endeavor. Meanwhile, Japanese construction company Obayashi Corporation has also set the goal of building a space elevator by 2050. Let the space elevator race begin!