Can We Get Into Space Without Big Rockets?

Can We Get Into Space Without Big Rockets?

\" \" FlyingSinger/Flickr ( CC BY 2.0 An artist's conception of a space elevator launching from the surface of a greenscaped planet Mars. Since humans began putting satellites into orbit in the 1950s, we've relied upon big, powerful rockets to escape Earth's gravity and get into space. AdvertisementThe Space ElevatorAnother idea that's been around for years is construction of a space elevator. Since then, space elevator adherents have continued to tout the concept, as this 2015 IEEE Spectrum article details, and they've formed an organization, the International Space Elevator Consortium, which holds conferences and publishes technical reports. The feasibility of a space elevator, though, took a hit in 2016 when Chinese researchers published a paper detailing their findings that carbon nanotubes, the material in which space elevator proponents have placed their hopes, were vulnerable to a flaw that could reduce their strength significantly.

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