According to this article/study

A space elevator to the moon could be doable

Its central element is a cable that would be anchored to the moon and span more than 200,000 miles to a point above Earth's surface — perhaps an orbit about 27,000 miles from our planet.

Future space travelers would use a spacecraft to fly from Earth to the end of the dangling cable, which would be held taut by Earth's gravity, and then transfer to solar-powered robotic vehicles that would climb up the cable to the moon

This topic in Space SE provides the cost now of sending to the moon or to lunar orbit, which says to be $1.2M/kg -- $198K/kg respectively

What is the marginal cost of landing on the Moon?

How much would reduce the cost of sending kgs to the moon sending the packages to the lunar space elevator endpoint at 27,000 miles of Earth?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think you have the article reversed. The article is talking about reducing costs of getting things off the moon, not off of Earth. It doesn't make sense for a lunar elevator to greatly reduce costs of getting things off Earth because most of the cost getting out of Earth's gravity well which a lunar elevator doesn't do since it doesn't reach the surface of the Earth. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Feb 17, 2020 at 19:57
  • $\begingroup$ @DKNguyen the second link says taking something to lunar surface instead of lunar orbit it's 6 times more expensive for a particular company. Or at least they charge 6 times more. $\endgroup$
    – Pablo
    Feb 17, 2020 at 20:07
  • $\begingroup$ Interesting, but is that mostly just due to additional hardware required to land (and get it out of Earth's gravity to begin with?) Because it would not be fair to compare what it costs to get just an orbiter out of Earth's gravity and into lunar orbit against doing the same with an an orbiter and lander (just into lunar orbit, no actually landing). $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Feb 17, 2020 at 22:12
  • $\begingroup$ While there was a study and an article based on that study, Lunar apogee & perigee fluctuate by as much as 27,000 miles. While an orbit near Earth's geostationary region could roughly match the moon, that's a lot of slack. I don't believe such an elevator would work, even if there are studies on it. An Elevator from the Moon to Lunar L1 seems far more workable, as Lunar L1 moves with the Moon's orbit, so there would be far less slack in the line needed. Yes, a line could theoretically be made kept taught by gravitational forces, but 27,000 miles is a lot of variation. $\endgroup$
    – userLTK
    Dec 8, 2021 at 12:36
  • $\begingroup$ Asking this question for a smaller elevator, Moon to Lunar L1 doesn't fundamentally change it. It's still the cause of launching from Earth (which is expensive), but the savings would be on the landing on the moon part of the trip. There would be some savings, but total cost Earth to moon, not all that much. Maybe 10%-20%? Very ballpark guess. The bigger savings would be Moon to Earth or Moon to space, if either of those ever become a significant goal, a Lunar space elevator starts to make sense. $\endgroup$
    – userLTK
    Dec 8, 2021 at 12:39


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.