What Happens If a Space Elevator Breaks

So what if, instead of launching atop a chemical rocket, your object could just ride up on a cable that reaches all the way into space? That’s what would happen with a space elevator.

Space Elevator Basics

Suppose you built a giant tower that is 400 kilometers tall. You could ride an elevator up to the top and then you would be in space. Simple, right? No, actually it’s not.

First, you couldn’t easily build a structure like this out of steel; the weight would likely compress and collapse the lower parts of the tower. Also, it would require massive amounts of material.

But that’s not the biggest problem—there’s still the issue with

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