Japan plans ‘space elevator’ by 2050

Japan plans ‘space elevator’ by 2050

If you can stand seven days of Muzak, your trip to space may be only 38 years away

space elevatorGoing up -- next stop, zero-gravity. How would you like to spend a week in an elevator?

No, this isn’t David Blaine’s latest stunt to survive seven days of Muzak, it’s a plan by one Japanese company to put space onto every traveler’s bucket list.

The 36,000-kilometer high, 200-kph lift will be ready by 2050, according to Obayashi Corporation, and will take passengers a tenth of the way to the moon.

For travelers, it could mean bragging rights over those who opt for alternative space tourism ventures such as Virgin Galactic and Space Expedition Curacao, both of which offer sub-orbital flights up to 100 kilometers, well short of Obayashi Corp’s 36,000-kilometer high.           

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The elevator will carry up to 30 people and transport them using carbon nanotubes on the seven-day journey to a “terminal station,” according to yomiuri.co.jp.

The station will house laboratories and living space, presumably enough for people to stretch their legs and gawp at the blackness, before hopping back inside for the week-long return leg.

As long as you’re not riding with a joker who decides to push every button.

Obayashi Corporation, already credited with such ambitious projects as the 634-meter Tokyo Sky Tree and Dubai’s Metro Urban Rail System, at 75 kilometers the longest driverless rail system in the world, says costs have not been calculated yet, so ticket prices are not available.

Their plans would appear to vindicate Russian rocket scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, who predicted the potential for a space elevator back in 1895, inspired by the Eiffel Tower.