Space elevators have been a topic of discussion a lot lately, but now it looks like there could be a much easier and cheaper solution to the problem of getting stuff off the Earth and into space: the Star Tram.
The star tram would be a vehicle running in a vacuum tube and using the same maglev (magnetic levitation) technology that enables the world’s fastest trains to reach their amazing speeds. Between the vacuum in the tube and the maglev technology, star trams would have zero friction.
They’d then travel up the tube at an incredible 20,000 miles per hour, but rather than rising vertically like a space elevator or a rocket, they’d travel at an incline. The tube would be held aloft with maglev technology much like that used for the train, with light-weight tethers used to actually hold the tube down rather than holding it up.
The best part of this plan? We have the technology to do it now, and while the $60 billion dollar price tag sounds like a lot, it’s actually far cheaper than using rockets, to say nothing of the cost of building a space elevator. For more information, check out StarTram.