We’ve talked about space elevators, or cable cars, in the past. But they may only be able to be used by robots, because of the radiation surrounding the earth.

Kelly Young writes in New Scientist that space elevators could be a cheap way to get cargo and possibly people into space one day. This could be especially important if we establish colonies on the moon, or even on Mars. But there’s one problem: any human riding one of these through the Van Allen radiation belts that surround the earth would get a lethal dose of radiation. The reason that astronauts have not been injured in this way is because they traveled so quickly through this area, but a space elevator would be a much slower ride.

Art credit: gimp-savvy.com

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