"It would revolutionize the way we get to and from space and make it more viable."

Going Up

A spectacular design for a space elevator, with the goal of efficiently transporting passengers into outer space, has been awarded a $11,000 prize.

As the BBC reports, British architect Jordan William Hughes won the prize for space architecture and innovation from the Jacques Rougerie Foundation in Paris.

His concept, dubbed Ascensio, connects an ocean-based ship to a structure in Earth's orbit via a cable-like structure. The ship is designed to keep up with the spaceport by moving around the ocean.

Of course, it's only an inspired work of science fiction and likely won't be built any time soon, if ever. But that doesn't mean we can't dream of a future in which space is a simple elevator ride away.

"It would revolutionize the way we get to and from space and make it more viable," Hughes told the BBC.

Jordan William Hughes via the BBC

High Times

Space elevators would elegantly solve one of the biggest hurdles in space travel, foregoing the need for heavy and expensive rockets to access the Earth's orbit. The concept was first envisioned by Russian rocket scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky in a 1895 book called "Dreams of Earth and Sky," in which he described an imaginary 22,000-mile tower. Russian engineer Yuri Artsutanov later expanded on the idea, describing a cable that connects the Earth's surface to a geosynchronous satellite.

While some experts have posited that space elevators aren't actually as far-fetched as they sound, science still has plenty of catching up to do.

In his interview with the BBC, Hughes admitted that he doesn't expect anything like it to be "built in the next ten years. But I am pretty much certain that at some point this will be built. Not my project, but a space elevator."

"It's a bit fanciful today," he added, "but I'm sure it will happen because this is the only way space travel and space exploration actually works and becomes efficient."

More on space elevators: Professor Says We Could Already Build a Floating Space Elevator

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