Japanese Company To Build Space Elevator?

Japan's Obayashi Corp. has announced their intention to build a space elevator.


(Space elevator concept)

In Obayashi's project, a cable would be stretched up to 96,000 kilometers, or about one-fourth of the distance between the Earth and the moon. One end of the cable would be anchored at a spaceport on the ground, while the other would be fitted with a counterweight.

The terminal station would house laboratories and living space. The car could carry up to 30 people to the station at 200 kilometers per hour, which would mean a 7-1/2 day 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 added.

Although the original insight for space elevators came to Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky in 1895, sf writers have been encouraging scientists and builders to construct a space elevator for generations.

"If the laws of celestial mechanics make it possible for an object to stay fixed in the sky, might it not be possible to lower a cable down to the surface and so to establish an elevator system linking Earth to space?"
(Read more about Arthur C. Clarke's visualization of space elevators from his 1978 novel The Fountains of Paradise)

This material was also called hyperfilament in the novel.

Via Yomiuri. Thanks to Adi for pointing this story out.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/22/2012)

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