We all know that space is an unattainable height that can only be reached by rocket. But what if I told you that there is another way to get to space? That way is called a space elevator. An elevator that can take us to the Earth’s geostationary orbit, a distance of over 36,000 kilometers from the surface of the planet.
The idea of a space elevator is not new. It was proposed by the Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky at the beginning of the XX century. He believed that such an elevator could become a real revolution in the space industry and make space travel accessible to everyone.
The technical principle of the space elevator sounds simple: at a certain distance from the center of the Earth, the angular velocities of the Earth and a satellite in orbit are equal. Subtracting the radius of the Earth, the geostationary position is 3.5790.107 m above the Earth’s surface. If an orbiter rotated at this height above the equator, it could be connected to the earth by a tether. Those using this elevator would be able to slide up and down on this cable. At an altitude speed of 600 km/h, they would spend 2.5 days on the road.
However, as always, there are nuances. The rope connecting the Earth’s surface with the geostationary orbiter would not only be very long, but also very heavy. The force pulling the rope will be enormous and, therefore, the required tensile strength of the rope material must be enormous. In the case of steel rope (maximum tensile strength of 2 GPa), the maximum height attainable before it breaks under its own weight is 12 km. When carbon is used as the rope material (material density 2.2 g/cm 3) it looks more favorable. The best available carbon fibers have tensile strength values between 3.0 and 4.6 GPa. The difference from the required 100 GPa remains astonishingly large. With the modern material, the required tensile strength is achieved only by the carbon modification “graphene”, which has a value of 130 GPa. However, graphene is a monolayer of carbon atoms, and a dense and long rope of this material does not exist and is not even produced.
Nevertheless, a space elevator is not impossible. Technologies were invented in the past that we cannot replicate today. This is why the myths and legends of the gods who descended to earth in their flying machines may be a reality. Perhaps these high technologies were invented by a previously forgotten culture. And if so, these myths inform us of lost technology.
The space elevator could be a real revolution in the space industry. It could make space travel accessible to everyone. But to do that, we need to find a material that will make a strong enough rope. Or we can turn to history and look for answers in myths and legends.
According to ancient myths, in prehistoric times there were “ladders of heaven.
The Egyptian ark or Nnu’s ship is the heavenly ark, or, conversely, the heavenly ark is Nnu’s ship; and the heavenly ark was a rotating sphere shaped like a sailing ship with two masts. The ark is depicted as it sails through the vast, incomprehensible, hollow void of formless space; as they say, “the place is empty.”
Another reference to a ladder leading to the gods is also found in the Egyptian Book of the Dead:
“He who sets up the ladder for Osiris is Ra, and he who sets up the ladder is Horus for his father Osiris when he goes out to his soul.”
Ancient Indian epic also claims that geostationary orbiters are the home of the gods:
“Above the surface of the earth are various celestial luminaries, jyoti, which are inhabited by gods riding in their chariots (these ‘houses’ moved in circular orbits, parallel to the earth, around Mount Meru). They never rise or set, but always keep the same height above the surface of the earth”.
A geosynchronous orbiter, which does not change its position in the sky or its altitude above the ground, fits the description perfectly.
Not only in Egypt and the Middle East, but all over the world, we encounter the archetypal tradition of the connection of heaven and earth in the image of a ladder, a rope, or in the symbol of the world tree. The predominant symbol is the tree, in which the classical interpretation is the tree as a representation of the world axis. This is a misinterpretation. The representation of the tree as a symbol of the world axis may have made sense to people who lived near the pole. When they looked at the stars, they revolved around a point that was somewhat vertical above them. With peoples of equatorial latitudes, the pole lies on the horizon and therefore the tree is tilted toward the horizontal. Here the concept of a tree becomes crooked and unusable. Although it seems doubtful that images of vertically standing and towering structures, such as trees, represent the axis of the Earth, it is quite possible to interpret them as a space elevator. Considering that a space elevator would always be