Nearly 48% of retirees report feeling happier in retirement than expected, so imagine how happy they’ll be when they can spend their retirement on the moon! According to a recent story from the Huffington Post, a Canadian company called Thoth Technology has been planning an inflatable space elevator that would stand 12.4 miles tall and could carry cargo (and people) to space.
As far back as 1895, with Konstantin Tsiolkovsky’s idea for a 22,000-mile-high geostationary free-standing space tower, scientists have been trying to plan a plausible space elevator. Now, the Thoth model has secured a U.S. patent, and would be “held rigid by pressurized gas,” according to Global Construction Review. The tower would be 20 times taller than the world’s current tallest building, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. The tower would have a platform on top that would act as a launch pad for spacecrafts, which therefore could start to feel more like average passenger jets.
While 12.4 miles hardly makes a dent in the 22,000 miles needed to achieve geostationary orbit, it would still help immensely to cut costs on space travel, if only by lessening the effort of take-off. Eric Mack of CNet explains:
“What the Thoth elevator (theoretically) does is get your payload past the worst of the launch. Most of the mass of a rocket is fuel, and yet more fuel is required to lift it. Air resistance is also significant when you’re trying to get tons of junk to move at 25,000 mph — just think about how difficult things get when you ride a bike against a wind. Even a 12-mile-high elevator would eliminate much of that, with a launch platform at the top for further travel.”
The elevator is nowhere near production stages, but will earn its place in the spotlight at this year’s Space Elevator conference in Seattle, Washington.