Obayashi Corporation, one of the major Japanese construction companies, has a grandiose dream - it plans to build a 'space elevator,' by the year 2050, which will transport passengers almost 60,000 miles high into space, Japanese newspaper Yomiuri has reported.
A 'Space Elevator,' till now read in science fiction novels, is set to become a realty. As early as 1979, sci-fi writer Arthur C. Clarke mentioned about construction of a space elevator in his novel 'The Fountains of Paradise.' The elevator was supposed to link Earth with a satellite in geostationary orbit. But, it remained a dream because of technology's limitation.
The new millienium, however, has brought the dream of 'space elevator' into the realms of reality. At the 2nd Annual International conference, year 2003, on Space Elevator, Dr. Brad Edwards, president and founder of Carbon Designs Inc, showed the blueprint of a proposed space elevator, which has been backed by NASA.
But it's not just NASA. Even non-government organizations have been working on developing the technology of space elevator.
Once the space elevator becomes a reality, price of space travel is expected to become cheaper as people will no longer be confined to travelling by a space shuttle only.
According to Obayashi, a 30-seaters space elevator will be made of carbon nanotube, a material which is lightweight but 20 times stronger than steel. The whole length of the elevator cable is expected to be 96,000 kilometers (59,651.64 miles). At a speed of 200 kilometers (124,27 miles) per hour, passenger will be able to reach the terminal satellite which is 36,000 kilometers (22,369.37 miles) up high after a 7.5 days trip.
Obayashi claims the week-long trip might not be boring as it plans to play elevator music. Unfortunately, further details have not been disclosed.
Photo: Yomiur, 'The Fountains of
Obayashi 'Space Elevator' & 'The Fountains of Paradise'