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Japanese Firm To Build Space Elevator By 2050

Obayashi unveiled a project, which envisions a huge elevator that will be moved by cables to a terminal station located at an altitude of 36,000 km or 22,370 miles. The company says it would use carbon nanotubes to manufacture the cables and stabilize them in air and space using a massive counterweight at 96,000 kilometers (59,650 miles) above the surface of earth.

The elevator is expected to be able to carry up to 30 people at a time, but don't expect to be able to hop on it spontaneously. Obayashi said that the elevator may be traveling at a speed of 200 km/h (124 MPH), which means that the a one-way trip will take about 180 hours or 7.5 days. However, once at the destination, passengers can enjoy plenty of room for laboratories and living space, Obayashi said. The facility will also be connected to huge solar panels that generate enough power for the space station and transmit excess power down to the surface.

So, how expensive is it to manufacture and deploy almost 120,000 miles of carbon nanotube cables in space, build a space station and develop an elevator that travels at 124 MPH? Obayashi said it has no idea, but they now have a project in place and "try" to make progress to make sure a space elevator "won't end just up as simply a dream."