A Japanese company could astound the world by 2050, building the first elevator to space.
According to The Daily Yomiuri, Tokyo construction company, Obayashi Corporation, hopes to erect a space elevator by 2050. The futuristic space lift would ferry passengers and cargo along a carbon nanotube ribbon from a terrestrial terminal to a spaceport nearly a quarter of the way to the moon.
The company says it plans to create 59,652-mile-long, carbon-nanotube cable that would include an anchor in space. The terminal station would house laboratories and living space, while the life would have the capacity to ferry upwards of 30 people to the station at 124 miles per hour. The trip would translate to a nearly eight-day long trip to reach the station. Magnetic linear motors are one possible means of propulsion for the car, according to Obayashi. Solar power generation facilities would also be set up around the terminal station to transmit power to the ground, the company noted.
The company did not release details regarding the cost of the project, simply saying it remains in the planning phase.
“At this moment, we cannot estimate the cost for the project,” an Obayashi official said in a statement. “However, we’ll try to make steady progress so that it won’t end just up as simply a dream.”
The announcement comes as a number of individuals have proposed a similar project, noting that a floating station near the Earth’s equator could serve as a launching point. However, a string of issues have largely left the proposal in the theoretical stages.
Among the issues engineers would have to confront includes the long transit times required by riding a space elevator. Engineers note that passage through the Van Allen belt would constitute a radiation hazard. A recently released study suggests that a space elevator would be subject to wobbles caused by gravitational tugs from the moon and sun, as well as solar wind. A space elevator would also constitute a navigational hazard for aircraft and low Earth orbit space craft. The project could also be subject to a terrorist attack.
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