A company called LiftPort Group has successfully completed a minor Kickstarter program that eventually aims to build a space elevator.
The project is called Tethered Towers and its main aim is to build a robot capable of climbing 2 kilometers up a cable, establishing a test platform held aloft by high-altitude balloons in the process. This would be a precursor to the Lunar Elevator project, which would involve building a space elevator attached to the moon. According to the project’s creators this could be achieved in around eight years, using current technology.
The Lunar Elevator project would eventually lead to an Earth-based version, though there is apparently still a lot of work to be done before that happens.
The Kickstarter project has raised around $33,000 but the actual goal was a mere $8,000. LiftPort Group has been working on the concept for a while and, while the company folded in 2007, they have managed to build a robot that successfully climbed a tethered ribbon to a height of 1 mile. The small $8,000 goal is just the start of their funding efforts, more to draw attention to the fact that LiftPort is ready to take another crack at it than anything else.
The series of rewards for this particular Kickstarter verges on the insane, with one reward being the change to parachute off the top of the two kilometer structure that they are trying to build.
The next major step for the space elevator project as a whole is for the group to raise $3 million for a one year feasibility study. If that pans out, perhaps we’ll wind up riding a lift into space some day.