A significant Japanese construction firm had revealed an ambitious plan to construct a space elevator by 2050 back in 2012. Now, the actual concept for the elevator are under development.
The Tokyo-based Obayashi Corp wants to build an orbital space station 36,000 km above Earth and transport visitors up an elevator car using a carbon nanotube pulley. To put this into perspective, the ISS above earth is only 408 km above earth surface and the moon is 384,000 km.
The space station will house fully-fledged housing and laboratories. The elevator car could transport up to 30 passengers to the station and travel 200 km/h. Even though it might sound fast, the distance of the objective is so far that it would take about 180 hours to reach there. Obayashi claims it can use linear magnetic motors to propel the vehicle’s wheels. This is the case when an electromagnetic field constantly changing induces a coil to move.
Obayashi is among the largest construction firms in Japan.
They’re the top company responsible for the Japan’s highest self-supporting structure: The Tokyo Sky Tree. It’s just 634 meters tall and 150 times smaller than the elevator’s highest point. “At this moment, we cannot estimate the cost for the project,” an Obayashi official told the news agency. “However, we’ll try to make steady progress so that it won’t end just up as simply a dream.”