NASA, the European Space Agency, possibly the Chinese and even privateers such as Amazons Jeff Bezos and Tesla's Elon Musk all have lofty visions of conquering the moon during in the 21st century - Lunar Veni, Vidi, Vici. The emphasis is on building spacecraft to economically travel to and from our nearest neighbor, in some cases it involves re-engineering the technology of NASAs glory days.
Two young rogue scientists working out of Columbia University have their own phantasmagorical perception of how to conquer the moon, that on paper at least, would be more cost effective than a rocket ship and lunar lander such as the Apollo Missions used. For chump change, just a few Billion dollars it could be done.
Columbia students Emily Sandford and Zephyr Penoyre have introduced their concept of a “lunar space elevator”. There's no play on words here - it's just that, an elevator to the moon. Now why didn't Ralph Kramden think of that, he could've evaded all those domestic viiolence charges ?
Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, a Russian rocket scientist once proposed a tower that could reach into space, and believed that it could be held there by the rotation of the Earth. That was in the 1920s so folks kinda gave him a queer look and moved on.
Arthur C. Clarke had visions of a space elevator, but he was a science fiction writer so it was to be expected. As is so often the case with new and brazen technologies, most of the earliest mentions of a space elevator come from the realm of science fiction. Arthur C. Clarke floated the idea in a number of his works 2061: Odyssey Three, a space elevator is used on Jupiter and in The Final Odyssey a flotilla of satellites around the Earth are connected via several towers or space elevators.
Skyhooks, are on the drawing board, they are a theoretical class of orbiting tether propulsion systems intended to lift payloads to high altitudes and speeds. These aren't quite space elevators, close but no cigar !
Sandford and Penoyres elevator differs from the sci-fi versions in that it almost sounds feasible. They propose that instead of just building a massive and cumbersome elevator shaft connecting the surface of Earth with the Moon, that the proposed system would be anchored only on one end - the moon. From the moons surface it would stretch roughly 200,000 miles towards an Earth Orbit. The geostationary orbit height of about 22,236 miles above sea level is the point at which objects revolve around the Earth in synch with our planet’s natural rotation.
Hanging the space elevator at this height eliminates the need to to balance out Earths massive gravitational pull. if the elevator were to be built from ground up. This method would also prevent any relative motion between Earth’s surface and space below the geostationary orbit area from bending or twisting the elevator.
It sounds almost like a gigundous laundry shoot but hang on partner - it's not really a shoot - it's a thin line - basically a skyline elevator. Researchers crunched some numbers and concluded that the simplest version of the lunar elevator would be a thin cable. This hypothetical cable would weigh over 80,000 lbs and be about twice the diameter of a drinking straw.
Future lunar tourists will take a rocket to the elevator’s dangling point, and then transfer to a vehicle something like an enclosed ski lift, which would whisk them off to the moon.