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An Elevator that's 20 kilometres high

20 kilometer high elevator Image
The Burj Khalifa is the currently the world's tallest building at 829.8 metres and has the world's third fastest elevator. You might have seen a few YouTube videos that showcase how the elevator travels from ground to Floor 124 in just under a minute and many think that its an amazing feat. But, did you know that the Burk Khalifa elevator travels at modest pace of 10m/s whereas the elevator at the CTC Finance Centre doubles this speed with quite an ease. Check this nice graphic from the Financial Times which takes you through the transit times in the elevators in the high rise buildings

But today, we will not be talking about how fast can elevators go. Instead, we are going to look at how tall an elevator can we build? Going back to the graphic from the Financial Times, we know that tallest elevator shaft award will go to the Burj Khalifa for its public/ high speed elevator travels just under 600 metres, if you count from the Ground Floor. So, to break this record, one would look to build an elevator that is 700 or 800 metres high. But a Canadian company has recently earned a patent to make an elevator that's an astounding 20 kilometres high. We are not joking, it is going to be 20 kilometres high. It's not really an elevator to ferry people up and down a tall tower, but an elevator that will ferry up smaller rockets so that they can fired into space. 

Thoth Technology, that now owns the patent for what might sound like a bizzare idea, points out to the current methods of using rockets to send satellites and spacecrafts in inefficient, since we spend most of the energy from the rockets to escape Earth's gravitational pull. Thoth Technology, will build a high tower that will be able to fly small space planes into low Earth orbit and place satellites and other payloads in space and return back to the tower, thereby completely by passing, the use of inefficient rockets for the initial launch phase. The company estimates that the effective fuel savings using their technology would be around the 30 per cent mark. 

The company's next goal is to build a 1.5 kilometer tall tower to test the concept and invite other companies involved in space research to take the concept towards reality. In addition to functioning as a launch pad for future space missions, Thoth Technology also plans to use their towers for capturing wind energy, communications and even tourism. The estimates for building the 1.5 kilometer tower stands between $ 5-10 billion and will take around three years to complete and another three years to complete the entire tower. 

If you were told that a 20 kilometer high elevator existed and was open to visitors, would you go visit? Do let us know if the comments section below. 


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