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Space exploration - A lunar space elevator prepares for departure at a manned lunar base in the Moon's southern hemisphere; lunar-synchronous points; tether propulsion; non-rocket spacelaunch; spacecraft; spaceship - Space Art Illustration
 

Lunar elevator lunar base

In this speculative illustration, a manned lunar space elevator prepares to depart from its manned lunar base. Surrounding it are support facilities and cargo. The yellow machine on the right is an articulated manned manipulator for handling cargo and managing the elevator.

The space elevator concept involves running a cable from the surface of a planet or moon up to a gravitationally-stable point in space, whereupon a specially-designed vehicle can climb and descend the cable. Also known as tether propulsion and non-rocket space launch, this method permits an alternative way to access space. In the case of the lunar space elevator, the cable is anchored to the surface of the Moon and ascends to a stable Lagrange point.

In this illustration the cable, in the form of a ribbon, is anchored to the southern hemisphere of the near-side of the Moon and ascends approximately 35,000 miles toward the Earth. The manned climbing vehicle, the "elevator," is powered by solar energy collected via its array of photovoltaics. The manned elevator illustrated is approximately 160 feet long. Traveling at a velocity of roughly 60 mph it would take the elevator about 3 weeks to cover the distance between the lunar surface and Lagrange point in space.

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Copyright Walter B. Myers. All rights reserved.

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