Imagine a giant fishing hook extending from outside space and stopping somewhere in the skies. Yes, that is exactly what a skyhook is. It is also called the beanstalk as in “Jack and the Beanstalk” or Jacob’s ladder after a Bible verse where a ladder was released from the heavens down to Earth.
A skyhook is often promoted as a smaller version of the space elevator. Both follow the same principle except that the cable on the skyhook does not reach all the way to the ground. There is no ground station, either.
The payload is first transported on a rocket or other propelling unit and attached to the end of the cable of the skyhook, which sends the payload into outer space. It has been suggested that a skyhook could also work the other way around to transport minerals mined from asteroids and other planets to Earth.
3 Space Gun
A large space gun is capable of shooting payloads into space. It cannot be used to launch humans there because the force would instantly compress a person by half, leading to death. While we haven’t managed to make one, several inventors are still trying to create one.
One inventor is John Hunter. He proposed a 1,100-meter (3,600 ft) space gun, called the QuickLauncher, to get the job done. Hunter began working on the QuickLauncher in 1992 and even tested a 130-meter (425 ft) prototype. When completed, the QuickLauncher would be installed 490 meters (1,600 ft) below the sea somewhere around the equator.
Only the top of the barrel would be visible along with a rig holding the upper part of the gun above the water. Hunter said that the QuickLauncher would reduce the cost of sending payload into space to a mere $113 per kilogram ($250/lb). He believed that the gun could be completed within seven years if he was able to get the $500 million in funding.