The current issue of the Economist has a story on the Space Elevator: A lunatic idea? Building a lift to the moon's surface might make routine visits feasible.
"WHEN Neil Armstrong, who died on August 25th (see Obituary), took his giant leap for mankind, he did so from Eagle, a single-use craft of a type known as a lunar excursion module. Eagle, whose job was to ferry Mr Armstrong and his co-pilot Buzz Aldrin the 100km from lunar orbit to the moon's surface and back, weighed half as much as the command and service module that was waiting in orbit to carry them all the way back to Earth, a journey of almost 400,000km. The weight of the lunar module, on top of the command and service module, was the main reason why the Saturn V rockets that shot Apollo astronauts into space needed to be the tallest, heaviest and most powerful ever flown, a record they still hold."
Building a space elevator for the moon is not a new idea but it is one that is getting more traction as a possible first step. What's really great is getting this kind of exposure which can only foster more discussion on the space elevator.