Posts Tagged: Michael Shara.



Astrophysicist Proposes Solar-Powered Moon Gondola

Image via the American Natural Museum of History.

Here’s something we’ve never (and I do mean never) seen before:

The American Museum of Natural History is about to open an exhibition titled Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration. The exhibition was curated by astrophysicist Michael Shara and includes his proposal for a jaw-droppingly “simple” means of creating a permanent transit link between the moon to earth.

Why do we here at The Gondola Project care? Obviously because his concept involves a 26,500 mile long cable and a gondola.

Are you as confused and intrigued as we are? Stupid question. Of course you are.

Here’s AMNH News’ exceedingly excellent plain-language description of this amazingly bizarre concept:

Rendering of a proposed solar-powered moon gondola. Image via AMNH News.

“The principle of a lunar elevator is elegant and simple. Any object—let’s say a space station—placed along a line joining the centers of the Moon and the Earth, and more than one-ninth the distance from the Moon to the Earth, will fall toward Earth.

“That’s because Earth is 81 times as massive as the Moon, so its gravitational pull exceeds that of the Moon as soon as you travel more than 26,500 miles toward Earth from the Moon. If you attach a cable from the lunar surface to the space station, the station is tethered: it “wants” to fall toward Earth because of Earth’s dominant gravity, but it can’t because it’s held in place by the cable. Voilà: you’ve just built lunar-Jack’s beanstalk pointing up to Earth from the lunar equator. Now imagine extending the cable 238,000 miles, to just above the Earth’s atmosphere. Attach gripping, rotating wheels to the mechanical arm of a solar-powered gondola connected to the cable, and you have a rocket-free way of transporting anything and anybody between the Earth and the Moon’s surface.”

The saddest part? None of us will be alive to ever ride it. Which is a shame because I want to ride that thing now.

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