Tokyo-based Obayashi Corp. unveiled a project Monday to build a gigantic elevator to transport passengers to a station 36,000 kilometers from Earth.
In the planned project, to produce the cables for the space elevator, the company will use carbon nanotubes, which are 20 times stronger than steel.
The idea of space elevators has been described in several science fiction novels. However, according to the company, Obayashi believes that it is possible to build one in the real world thanks to carbon nanotubes, invented in the 1990s.
Other organizations have also studied the development of space elevators, such as the U. S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (American space and aeronautical agency).
In the Obayashi project, it would be necessary to extend a cable over 96,000 kilometers or about a quarter of the distance between the Earth and the Moon. One end of the cable would be anchored in a spaceport on the ground, while the other would be equipped with a counterweight.
The terminal station would house laboratories and a living space. The cabin could transport up to 30 people to the station at 200 kilometers per hour, which would mean a journey of seven and a half days. Magnetic linear motors are one of the possible means of propulsion for the cabin, according to Obayashi.
According to the company, solar energy generation facilities would also be created around the terminal station to transmit energy to the ground.