Science

This concept skyscraper hangs from an orbiting asteroid - no, seriously

We're not making this up.

Imagine the tallest building you’ve ever seen – such as Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, or the Shard in London – now flip it upside down and hang it from an asteroid that’s orbiting the Earth.

That’s pretty much the idea put forward by the designers of the Analemma Tower.

The skyscraper above New York
(Clouds Architecture Office)

Rather than building from the ground up – that would be too simple – this concept skyscraper from New York designers would use a high-strength cables to hang suspended from an asteroid orbiting the Earth.

According to its designers from Clouds Architecture Office, the Analemma would be the tallest building ever built .

Skyscraper going between skyscrapers
(Clouds Architecture Office)

A residential building, it’s proposed the giant would follow a figure eight-pattern orbit across the planet’s surface, moving in a daily loop between the northern and southern hemispheres. The shape of this figure eight would mean it moves more slowly in the northern loop, allowing people to land on the planet’s surface at these points – with the slowest part of its trajectory calibrated to be above New York City.

They say they would do this from Dubai to lower costs before moving the asteroid to its orbit centred on New York.

This control over asteroids isn’t science fiction or something too far in the future to think about either. The company point out the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission successfully put their lander onto a comet in 2015, while Nasa have plans for an asteroid retrieval mission in 2021.

That’s 32,000 metres above New York too of course. The designers say this is the limit of where the building would be an acceptable height to live.

This height would apparently give an extra 45 minutes of daylight on the building and be in conditions of a near vacuum and -40°C temperatures. The asteroid itself meanwhile would sit at around 50,000 km (31,000 miles).

The height of the tower
(Clouds Architecture Office)

So if people are essentially living in the sky, how do they get down? Aside from flying vehicles, the company say parachutes “offer a quick way down to the surface”.

THe skyscraper with parachutists
(Clouds Architecture Office)

The Analemma would apparently be powered by space-based solar panels, which could receive much more energy form the sun’s rays exposed above the atmosphere. Meanwhile water would be recycled within the skyscraper and replenished from the capturing of moisture from clouds.

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