Researchers at NASA’s Flight Projects Directorate are considering the feasibility of a concept once held to be pure science fiction – the space elevator. Essentially, a giant cable is strung from earth to space, elevators are attached, “Fifth floor, gents haberdashery and geostationary orbit.”
The top of the cable is anchored 35000 Km above the earth and the bottom is either attached to a huge 50Km high base station tower or is left dangling in low earth orbit. The base station would have to be situated on the equator to provide protection from violent weather.
The cable itself would be constructed from an exciting new material called carbon nanotubes. This material is exceptionally light and strong with an estimated strength of 200 Giga Pascals, a hundred times stronger than steel.