Japan reportedly building an elevator that will take humans to space

  • A Japanese company is developing a space elevator able to transport humans and ships to space
  • It will be a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to current space travel technologies
  • The elevator will operate along a massive cable that hangs from a space station to Earth

Published on May 17, 2024 at 12:55 PM (UTC+4)
by Andie Reeves

Last updated on May 17, 2024 at 12:55 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Tom Wood

You could take a trip in a space elevator sooner than you might think.

A Japanese company has plans to build a cable from Earth to a space station.

This would make heading to space more cost-effective, sustainable, and fast.

But is such a lofty dream really possible?

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The concept of a space elevator is not a new one.

Star Wars essentially invented one, where humans and ships could travel to space without spacecraft.

Until now, it’s seemed like the stuff of fantasy, but Obayashi Corporation seems to be on track to making one a reality.

The technology used will be similar to the proposed skyscraper that’s set to dangle upside-down over New York.

A cable made from carbon nanotubes (CNTs) measuring 59,651 miles long will form the base of the journey’s route.

CNTs were discovered by a Japanese engineer way back in 1991, and are the only material appropriate for such a feat.

The Space Elevator Construction Concept will take place over multiple stages.

First, materials needed to assemble the cable, space station, and elevator mechanism will be sent into low Earth orbit.

Then a spaceship will lower the CNT cable down the Earth, achieving the necessary tension after 59,651 miles.

Materials will then be sent up the cable in climber units, along with engineers.

Sounds like a dangerous and intense mission, so why bother?

Getting to space is currently a costly operation, both to the bank and to the planet.

A space elevator would emit less emissions and wouldn’t require fuel to operate.

Obayashi Corporation reckons it could cost just a few thousand dollars to send one of its climbers into space.

Each climber could carry 30 passengers and get them to space in about a week thanks to speeds of 124 mph.

Construction is set to start in 2025, and, if all goes to plan, we could be pressing an elevator button to reach space by 2050.

# Tags - Space, Tech


Andie Reeves

Andie is a content writer from South Africa with a background in broadcasting and journalism. Starting her career in the glossy pages of Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire, Andie has a broad portfolio, covering everything from sustainability solutions to celebrity car collections. When not at her laptop Andie can be found sewing, recording her podcast, taking board games too seriously or road-tripping in her bright green Kia.