Are space elevators possible? Physicist says they could transform humanity into a ‘spacefaring civilization’

Humanity’s quest to explore — and, perhaps eventually, colonize — outer space has prompted a great many ideas about how precisely to go about it.

While conventional wisdom suggests that space launch via rockets is the best way to send human beings into orbit, other “non-rocket” methods have been proposed, including a futuristic “space elevator.”

The concept of a space elevator — essentially a sky-high cable that would let humans climb into space — has been championed by some industry experts as a way to overcome the astronomical costs associated with sending people and cargo into space by rocket, says Alberto de la Torre, assistant professor of physics at Northeastern.

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