While India's Chandrayaan-2 is inching closer to the Moon, researchers have suggested a more economic way to travel to the moon. According to international reports, researchers at Columbia University are suggesting constructing a space cable to travel to the moon. They claim that this will majorly cut down on space travel expenses. While currently, space elevators are not feasible, these Columbia researchers have theorised a space cable with current available materials.
These Columbia researchers have published their findings in a study titled 'The Spaceline: A practical space elevator alternative achievable with current' in ArXiV- an E-print repository attached to the Cornell University Library. The study suggests that a line or a cable could be extended from the Earth to the Moon. They suggest that one end of the cable could be anchored on the moon and the other end attached to deep within Earth’s gravity. The study claims that this will allow free movement of a body from the vicinity of Earth to the Moon’s surface.
The researchers state that with the help of current materials available the cable can be built close to the height of Earth's geostationary orbit. This will allow easy travel and construction between Earth and the moon, as per researchers. The study claims that once the cable is constructed in place, no advance and complex rockets will be required to explore space. All they will be required to do is reach the end of the ' Spaceline'. Researchers have suggested that travel through Spaceline can be powered through solar energy, thus cutting the cost of spanning extraterrestrial distances.
While cost-effectivity is one of the major advantages, researchers claim that Spaceline has its own disadvantages. There is a possibility of micrometeoroids to accumulate around Spaceline which can weaken or break the cable on any major impact. Moreover, if the tension in the cable is distributed across different strands, researchers claim that it may lead to the breaking of one or more strands. But they claim that these strands can be easily repaired. Currently, the Spaceline project is in the developing stage, but scientists are optimistic about its future applications in space transport.