The science-fiction idea of space travelling in a futuristic elevator could be brought to reality by a Japanese construction company. Tokyo-based Obayashi Corp. announced it is planning to build by 2050 a space elevator to allow passengers to travel 36,000 kilometers above the Earth.
The company said it would use a special building material – carbon nanotubes – which is 20 times stronger than steel, to support the elevator.
According to the project, a cable would be stretched for about 96,000 kilometers, or one fourth of the Earth-moon distance. One end would be placed on the Earth, while the other would be fitted with a counterweight.
A terminal station would than be placed at about 36,000 kilometers from the Earth. Laboratories and living space would be available on the space station.
The space elevator could accommodate up to 30 passengers at a time and take them to the station at a speed of about 200 kilometers per hour. It would still take more than 7 days to get to the space station.
“At this moment, we cannot estimate the cost for the project,” the company said. “However, we’ll try to make steady progress so that it won’t end just up as simply a dream.”