Science fiction authors have been writing about space elevators for decades, but a company in Canada wants to make them a reality.
Thoth Technology, a Canadian aerospace company, patented a design in the U.S. and Canada this week for a 12.5-mile-tall elevator that would make going to space way more energy efficient than our current method of using multi-stage rockets.
As The Guardian reports, the ThothX Tower would be an inflatable structure that could carry astronauts up into the stratosphere. That's not space, of course, but it's close enough that it wouldn't take much more energy to go the rest of the way.
“Astronauts would ascend to 20km by electrical elevator. From the top of the tower, space planes will launch in a single stage to orbit, returning to the top of the tower for refueling and reflight,” Brendan Quine, the tower’s inventor, said in a statement.
Taking off from that height would reduce drag and the distance you'd need to travel to the point of taking a reported 30 percent less power to get to space.
Just remember, everyone. When we do get to the future and start taking the space elevator all the time, be cool and hold the door for people. It's probably going to take a couple hours for that thing to get back to the ground floor once it goes up.