It's really expensive to go to space. That's because it's really hard to escape Earth's gravity. The Saturn V rocket, for example, weighed in at 2.8 million kilograms (6.2 million pounds) and 85 percent of that was devoted to fuel alone, most of which was used to simply leave our planet. To borrow a line from an infomercial, there's got to be a better way! Well, there might be, but you have to promise not to laugh. We could just build an elevator: an elevator ... to space.
You Raise Me Up
Nanotubes in the Sky, I Can Go Twice as High
Space Elevator – Science Fiction or the Future of Mankind?
Key Facts In This Video
A space elevator can launch things with only the energy it requires to go up. Sideways movement comes free with the Earth's rotation. 01:23
Here's what a space elevator might look like. 02:36
As a test, some have proposed first building a space elevator on the moon. 04:45
Wake up with the smartest email in your inbox.
Our Best Articles Daily