Japan Wants To Build A Working Space Elevator by 2050

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  • Posted 46 months Ago

Japanese construction company The Obayashi Corporation has announced some pretty ambitious plans to build an elevator that goes all the way into outer space. If all goes well, the elevator should be finished by 2050 and will stretch a staggering 96,000km (59,652 miles), allowing for humans and cargo to be (relatively) cheaply transported to a new space station.

Space elevators have long been dreamed about by science fiction writers and directors, but until recently they weren't possible because we didn't have material strong enough, meaning they'd basically collapse due to extreme gravitational pressures. Scientists now believe that it could now be achieved with the use of carbon nanotubes.

"The tensile strength is almost a hundred times stronger than steel cable so it's possible," said research and development manager Yoji Ishikawa. "Right now we can't make the cable long enough. We can only make 3-centimetre-long nanotubes but we need much more... we think by 2030 we'll be able to do it."

This would be a huge step forward in terms of space travel, as one of the major elements holding us back at the moment is cost. It currently costs around 14,000 to launch a kg of material into space, whereas the elevator would potentially be able to do it for more like 120.

Source: Obayashi
Tags: space, travel, future