World’s First Skyscraper Designed To Hang Suspended From An Asteroid


Katy Evans

Katy is Managing Editor at IFLScience where she oversees editorial content from News articles to Features, and even occasionally writes some.

Managing Editor


Is it more like Laputa: Castle in the Sky or Independence Day? Clouds AO

So far, we’ve had sky gardens in China and floating cities in the Pacific, but experimental architectural design has just gone a step further into the future. New York-based architects have revealed their plans for a skyscraper to hang suspended from an asteroid 50,000 kilometers (31,000 miles) in the air.

Clouds Architecture Office, the people who brought us the Mars Ice Home design, have released artwork and plans for their Analemma Tower – a skyscraper that will not only be the world’s “tallest” but also hang suspended from a harnessed asteroid orbiting the Earth.


content-1490700709-view.jpgPrecarious construction? Clouds AO

According to their website, the tower will use what they call the Universal Orbital Support System (UOSS) to suspend the building from an orbiting asteroid via heavy-duty cables. They suggest that in the future harnessing and manipulating asteroids won’t be that unusual, citing NASA’s mission to capture and redirect an asteroid planned for 2021 – though this isn’t currently included in NASA’s next budget so it has an uncertain future.

content-1490700319-cables.jpgThose better be some strong cables. Clouds AO 

The orbital path will follow a 24-hour figure eight formation that covers the Northern and Southern Hemisphere, traveling above major cities such as Havana, Panama City, and of course New York, returning the skyscraper to the same position in the sky at the end of each day.


content-1490701224-160816-pu-hot-air-balNice view. Clouds AO

According to the designs, the tower will be more than a huge skyscraper, it will actually be more akin to a floating city divided into sections, including a dining/shopping/entertainment section at the bottom, commercial offices, a garden and agriculture sector, a residential area, and even a dedicated place of worship.

It will even make the most of its unique position and use solar panels for energy and a filter system from condensation in the clouds and rainwater to provide freshwater.


Clouds AO


Whether this ambitious design could ever work is another matter entirely. We have many questions (we’re sure you do too): How do people get on and off it? How will it deal with extreme weather? How do you even keep an asteroid in near-Earth orbit?

Perhaps it’s just a pipe dream, perhaps it’s genuine futuristic thinking, or perhaps it’s just innovative PR driven by capitalism?

“Analemma Tower is a proposal for the world’s tallest building ever," the firm writes on its website. "Harnessing the power of planetary design thinking, it taps into the desire for extreme height, seclusion, and constant mobility. If the recent boom in residential towers proves that sales price per square foot rises with floor elevation, then Analemma Tower will command record prices, justifying its high cost of construction.”


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