Are Space Elevators Possible?

18. juli. 2020
978 915 Ganger

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This video is based on, and inspired on the amazing Illnois Energy Professors video of the same title: I highly recommend you subscribe and watch his collection of videos.
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Writer/Narrator: Brian McManus
Editor: Dylan Hennessy (
Animator: Mike Ridolfi (
Sound: Graham Haerther (
Thumbnail: Simon Buckmaster
Thank you to AP Archive for access to their archival footage.

Music by Epidemic Sound:


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  • Wouldn't active support be cheaper way to build space elevators when u build them from bottom up.

    Kalle NevanperäKalle Nevanperä2 timer siden
  • Not possible, even if we had the materials and technology to make this possible then you would create an unstable rotation and cause the earth to change course and wobble

    Jerry DoeJerry Doe4 timer siden
  • Just use interleaved phonebooks

    DeathtruthDeathtruth6 timer siden
  • No. There, I saved you 15 minutes. You're welcome.

    Bryan ShouseBryan Shouse20 timer siden
  • Are you using centripetal and centrifugal interchangeably?

    Theodore SmithTheodore Smith20 timer siden
  • If “said” cord/elevator cable severs, at what speed is the manned station shot into deep space?

    mpalfadel2008mpalfadel200821 time siden
  • Very interesting concept, however I would never go on that ride. First Hurricane along the equator would be a disaster.

    Bobby FBobby FDag siden
  • apart from materials problem, its also action and reaction, as cargo climbs up, it'll pulls orbital station+rope lower

    Ujo XUjo XDag siden
  • Doesn't the Earth wobble a little on its axis? Seems that would complicate the forces involved.

    twinturbostangtwinturbostangDag siden
  • any halo players here? Tell me im not the only one here because of halo 3 odst

    TheNinjaAlex PlaysTheNinjaAlex PlaysDag siden
  • Is it more feasible to build something that dangles into the upper atmosphere, which you reach by balloon or something?

    Magnus HMagnus HDag siden
  • You say about Equator yet pointing at Atlantic Ocean of Bermuda Triangle.... that place isn't on Equator but on Middle Latitudes You should choose Brazil/South America or Africa instead

    Stardust Neo Shadow Vulcanus Nova AlteisenStardust Neo Shadow Vulcanus Nova AlteisenDag siden
  • A space elevators, as a structure climbing up, would be a slow accelerating pod in a rail cannon, with a funnel re-entry, because the jet stream, keeps us from just building up&up.

    Ck digital The Q of 6thCk digital The Q of 6thDag siden
  • Oh please. Belt and Road iniative cannot even be complete on earth, space elevator would be uninitiated.

    Merry ChristmasMerry ChristmasDag siden
  • As a Newfoundlander it is fascinating to listen to an Irish accent and hear where most of my accent comes from.

    lifefordummieslifefordummies2 dager siden
  • But is a space elevator possible on mars or on the moon??

    TomTom2 dager siden
  • carbon nano tube is gangsta

    Ahmad HassanienAhmad Hassanien3 dager siden
  • inflatable elevator is lightee

    Eric PhamEric Pham5 dager siden
  • magnetic tube and lift is possible for supply to international space station

    Eric PhamEric Pham5 dager siden
  • Use spider silk for the tether

    Crawling British ColumbiaCrawling British Columbia6 dager siden
  • What if we build huge tower on the earth surface (or find a suitable big mountain), of let's say 1km height? This would mean that the whole space elevator structure should be 1 km shorter -> it will decrease argument of exponential. Of course it's gonna be a trade off between tower complexity and elevator complexity, so can someone please draw the figures taking such "elevation" into account?

    Sergey SmirnovSergey Smirnov6 dager siden
  • I thought about this in the 1960s when I was in Junior high school. I was laughed at. But to me it was a logical idea.

    PrivatepilotPrivatepilot9 dager siden
  • 1:07 "restricted in heightH" ? There's no "th" on the end of height!

    skierpageskierpage10 dager siden
  • At 3:13 the elliptical orbit has Earth at the center of the ellipse rather than one of the foci. Its a minor mistake, but its there. Not that it really subtracts from the otherwise amazing quality of the video

    dangerous_safetydangerous_safety10 dager siden
  • Yes, right. What I wonder is 500m high lunch jumper. I think it would alone be a good amount of saving, to speed up the rocket then fire up the engines... yeah right, this has flaws itself, but I would like to hear about this as a theoretical concept.

    Péter BaloghPéter Balogh11 dager siden
  • I met a person once that said researching carbon nanotubes, graphene, etc was nonsense because if we don't already know everything we will ever use it for then its useless to learn more about it. I couldnt get them to understand that its by learning more about it that we discover how and what we can use it for. They didn't even get it when I gave the example of electricity and how the people that first discovered it could never have imagined the things we'd be doing with it now, and how it was only through learning about it that we have come to use it the way we do.

    astrolover 95astrolover 9511 dager siden
  • Why NOtown keep unsubscribing me from this channel??? Everytime I come by to whatcha a new vídeo notice that I not subscribed.....

    Célio de SouzaCélio de Souza12 dager siden
  • No

    Dr EvilDr Evil15 dager siden
  • 🤯

    livingood1049livingood104916 dager siden
  • I thought graphene was the option

    brizzlefarmizzlebrizzlefarmizzle16 dager siden
  • Technology advances in quantum leaps so anything is possible.

    Chuck StarkChuck Stark16 dager siden
  • I've already got one.

    Mark VrankovichMark Vrankovich16 dager siden
  • No inclusion of weather factors 👀

    toohightocomplytoohightocomply17 dager siden
  • You should research centrifugal global orbital rings.

    Larry MenascoLarry Menasco17 dager siden
  • No, space elevators are not possible

    dirtdudedirtdude17 dager siden
  • Long answer- yes, with a but... Short answer- no, with a maybe

    Rusty ShacklefordRusty Shackleford17 dager siden
  • "Are space elevators possible?" "Cities skylines joined the chat"

    LetsPlayBongosLetsPlayBongos19 dager siden
  • In another video you did I suggested a fundamental flaw to your concept of how the elevator is constructed and problems that need to be over come. My solution overcomes problems with compression forces and rotation. Who says the elevator has to go all the way to the ground? There's a clue. Work on it.

    Howard TaylorHoward Taylor20 dager siden
  • Yes. Space Elevators are possible. We should be researching building them now, chosing a site, preparing that site, logistics, infrastructure, supplies, applicable laws, multi national or corporate support and funding. The cost is huge, but interestingly, not overly important. The income from a functioning Space Elevator would pay for the project fast and be not only a huge profit for investors, but give the whole Earth a huge economic boon. In fact, a working Space Elevator would singlehandedly change mankind's point of view about life and almost every possible dream. It's so important that having one would inspire more of them. The end result changes the entire way mankind lives for the better and Earth ecology positively. The longer we wait to get serious about a Space Elevator the more dearly not having one is going to cost us.

    Planet EarthPlanet Earth23 dager siden
  • this space elevator is being researched at city shizuoka prefecture university.

    chikeneichikenei23 dager siden
  • Who is holding the 1st screen of my device.that was moved during reset by black chooth community at 140 Baldwin road Hempstead NY.

    Hi AlHi Al24 dager siden
  • What are those dude making at 11:20? World’s biggest hard drive?!

    djtomoydjtomoy24 dager siden
  • The bested place to build a space evaluation technology/ elevator would be the moon 🌙🌚or Mars 🤔

    Joy HouseJoy House25 dager siden
  • Radiation will degrade the material to a strength below the safe point before economic payback is reached.

    Gustav DerkitsGustav Derkits25 dager siden
  • And you haven't even mentioned it actually has to pull up cargo. Like TONS OF CARGO.

    Javier Medina MorenoJavier Medina Moreno25 dager siden
  • Imagine earths athmosphere blows into space because someone pinched a huge needle into our perimeter...

    Lacarian PlaysLacarian Plays26 dager siden
  • Kurzgesagt: How about Skyhooks?

    AaronShenghaoAaronShenghao26 dager siden
  • for earth based elevators, its just not it the materials......yet. however, this idea could be very useful for connecting to the like meteors. "maybe" with a smaller first step being moon based, as the material sciences allow.

    Joe VanJoe Van26 dager siden
  • after I watch AD ASTRA.

    しᗴᝪ ᒍᗩᏀᝪᗞᝪᑎᏀ ꪜしᗴᝪ ᒍᗩᏀᝪᗞᝪᑎᏀ ꪜ28 dager siden
  • The notion of a space elevator is incredibly stupid. Anyone who thinks it is a reasonable idea clearly has no understanding of practical engineering, materials science, politics or economics.

    chuckschillingchuckschilling28 dager siden
  • Spider web

    Maxime LarocqueMaxime Larocque29 dager siden
  • I would be curious what the equations would say to a Martian or lunar space elevator...

    Ryan HamstraRyan Hamstra29 dager siden
    • As I watched this, (I just watched one on Mars Colonization) I thought the same thing

      Jim CavavaughJim Cavavaugh28 dager siden
  • Space elevator makes no sense. Most of the energy required to stay in orbit is used to get the payload to orbital velocity. So when you move a payload to the top of your space elevator, the structure at the top will be slowed by the added mass of the payload, and it won't be in geosynchronous orbit anymore. So yeah, it will start slowing down, causing it to be moving around the planet faster and faster relative to the ground with each payload you put up the elevator. You still need massive thrusters to get the payload up to speed as it rises.

    NackDSPNackDSPMåned siden
  • If a company or country did this they'd probably be the new king of the hill.

    Tommy LockerTommy LockerMåned siden
  • space elevator... ok, nice and dandy, we can build it... maybe now... the real hard questions what will be the music in the cabin? and... what are the precaution in case someone fart in the moving cabin...

    Kolerick BloodmoonKolerick BloodmoonMåned siden
  • How about the tether being hollow ? With enough inside diameter to put an elevator inside.

    Mangold KelzMangold KelzMåned siden
  • Elon Musk 12000 internet satellites will prevent this from happening even if a magic material will be found

    D-MD-MMåned siden
  • unless you know the EXACT weight of the person going up it won't work cause it has to be equivalent and weight out or the mass will just fall. I'm 18 and know this

    Grace WheelerGrace WheelerMåned siden
  • "Let's say this thing isn't going to be safe and I am designing it right on the edge of breaking." Damn budget cuts...

    Louis van der MeerLouis van der MeerMåned siden
  • keeping those algorithms happy...

    KoMaHu3λMKoMaHu3λMMåned siden
  • "Are Space Elevators Possible?" Answer: NO.

    DavidFMayerPhDDavidFMayerPhDMåned siden
  • Ask an engineer if the space elevator is possible, the most common answer you'll get is, "I want to say that it's not possible. But I'm not sure it's not possible...hold up, is it possible? Just a moment, I need an envelop and a pencil...." Any time I asked a decent question, my engineer dad tried to teach me so many things with an envelope and a pencil.

    verdatumverdatumMåned siden
  • Please do a video about skyhooks next. Maybe that's another option for us humans

    Wilfredo ManuelWilfredo ManuelMåned siden
  • I'm not science literate beyond HS level but what if you did use a steel cable but add an extremely powerful magnet at the source in orbit to super magnetize the cable so as to resist breakage? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Delyse & Ben TrinkDelyse & Ben TrinkMåned siden
  • I bothers me that space elevator fans never draw the length of the tether to scale. This thing wouldn't be in LEO; it would be several earth-diameters away from earth's surface.

    Pavel KomarovPavel KomarovMåned siden
  • No

    Infinus UltimaInfinus UltimaMåned siden
  • Knucklehead science. All of the base assumptions are unproven. Forget about it.

    HillBilly BuddhaHillBilly BuddhaMåned siden
  • Forget earth, what about the moon and mars?

    keith milnekeith milneMåned siden
  • Not possible. Mathematically lots of things are possible but to a certain extent. if you have %90 success chance or %50 chance it is doable but here it is like 0.00001 possible.

    DamoclesDamoclesMåned siden
  • Wow, this is the most convincing advert for Brilliant I've seen so far. I'm not being sarcastic (for once), I really mean it.

    Kev BKev BMåned siden
  • No.

    Big BlueBig BlueMåned siden
  • I know im late but how high would a Building need to be so we could build a Space Elevator today?

    Leinad SneppülLeinad SneppülMåned siden
  • Great discussion document I really enjoyed it Stuart in Ireland

    Stuart BrownStuart BrownMåned siden
  • You have not considered active support. Also, there are the space hooks. Also, a space elevator can be deployed on the moon or on asteroids we will mine...

    Frame ReadyFrame ReadyMåned siden
  • The tether extending away from the earth could have work, storage and docking stations along its length.

    Raymond MonkRaymond MonkMåned siden
  • I think SpaceX should get involved in the thinking as Musk seems to find answers no others have considered.

    Raymond MonkRaymond MonkMåned siden
  • You can calculate elevator possibility on Moon...

    Srobis SSrobis SMåned siden
  • Space elevator on the MOON. Easy no atmosphere low gravity. Can use with mining

    Andrew CliffeAndrew CliffeMåned siden
  • Note that the path of the space elevator also needs to curve or lean spin-ward because as you go up you also need to add angular momentum. Going down you need to lose angular momentum. But the same curve should work if rates of climb and descent match.

    Richard GreenRichard GreenMåned siden
  • Would a space elevator be more possible on the moon? How fast does the earth rotate compared to the moon

    TIM Flugaur-LeavittTIM Flugaur-LeavittMåned siden
  • Building one on the moon, or some other smaller body, sounds like the only real way in the next 100 or so years.

    Dawson ToulouseDawson ToulouseMåned siden
  • I'm definitely very interested in this. I'd also love to know what it'd be like having a Space Elevator on Mars or the Moon, those would be much less onerous I'm guessing (but haven't read the paper nor have the current skills to do the maths nor the time to do the course).

    Michael KublerMichael KublerMåned siden
  • The null freighter alternately saw because birth secondarily tumble modulo a orange latex. dynamic, efficient bird

    Chavez DavidChavez DavidMåned siden
  • What stupid ideas world running after ... elevator from earth to space... orbital fuel storage tanks ... to make space ship with methane... thousands of this

    ilhandurmusilhandurmusMåned siden
  • You didn't mention the balance of the entire elevator system would be affected by a large mass traveling up and down the tether. Obviously, the overall centrifugal force would increase as that platform got further up the tether.

    Stephen GriffinStephen GriffinMåned siden
  • Is it possible that the first space elevator can be constructed on MARS because of the lower air pressure and narrower atmosphere.

    larry heathlarry heathMåned siden
  • I Am only one here who's not understand the equation in 3:56 to 4:09

    Lylialang MalakasLylialang MalakasMåned siden
  • Where does the materials properties graph come from? When you refer to "the last video", can you please provide a link in the description and mention the title? Trying to find "the last video" seven months later is surprisingly hard on NOtown, especially on a smart TV! Thanks. Otherwise great!

    ytubeleoytubeleoMåned siden
  • even if we had the right materials for the job these kinds of things also come with insane costs and amount of materials the earth doesn't have

    zEscOOtzEscOOtMåned siden
  • This is an approach I have contemplated for 6 years now but not at the level you did here. May I suggest making an adjustment to your thinking? You have based everything in this video and all of your calculations on the assumption that the elevator must go all the way to the ground. It certainly costs a great deal to lift weight into space but what if you only had to lift the weight part of the way? We have the technology to lift massive amounts of weight high into our atmosphere. We just need to latch on somehow. It is a compromise but it brings the engineering of the tether closer to near future reality. This approach also negates rotation issues. Go back to the board and look at this problem from this perspective.

    howard taylorhoward taylorMåned siden
    • @Ipro Fox - First we don't have to lift 150 tons. We are not building with steel. Think nano technologies and maybe 20 tons. Second forget about propellent and think lighter than air gas 🎈 This is more fun if I leave some of the work for you. Run with that 😎

      howard taylorhoward taylorMåned siden
    • What technologies are you referring sir? Is it possible with this tech to lift 150 tons without all the traditional propellant?

      Ipro FoxIpro FoxMåned siden
  • Am I the only one thinking of the International Space Antenna from Ad Astra?

    Albert CerveraAlbert CerveraMåned siden
  • This reminds me of that episode of ed edd n' eddy where the eds try to build an elevator going up for no reason lol

    JpdudeJpdudeMåned siden
  • The uncovered canadian alternately refuse because laundry aetiologically pull under a equal scarf. sordid, acid clerk

    Zem KhanZem KhanMåned siden
  • 1:45 this is by using a technique called: being based

    viewofasceneviewofasceneMåned siden
  • Ye it is possible if it's suspended in the air not struck inside the ground. There is another possibility a bacterial rope. A bacteria that breathes breeds and lives like a rope and when it dies it creates a strong solid structure.

    VSM RJTVSM RJTMåned siden
  • Why building tower from earth is not option 🙄

  • Korins Tower but in Real life

    RandyMarshUSARandyMarshUSAMåned siden
  • OK, interesting stuff. "donated"?? You meant "denoted".

    Ron CorkRon CorkMåned siden
  • How feasible would making an elevator on the mood be? I feel that could have quite a few uses and much more possible to create with currently available materials.

    will shumwaywill shumway2 måneder siden
  • Why is the angular velocity (ws) substituted with 2pi? When solving for the radius?

    Nicole BeckerNicole Becker2 måneder siden