The secret to building elevators which extend far into the heavens could lie in an object as humble and unassuming as the common sea buoy.

While the idea of the space elevator has been around since the end of the 19th century, when it was first proposed by Russian rocket Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, the staggering practical challenges such an undertaking would entail have thus far proven too great for even the most intrepid of engineers. According to Peter Debney, a structural…