TOKYO – The Japanese are building an elevator to space. It will be ready for “lift” off by 2020.
Representatives of the Japanese construction company Kobayashi Corp. stated that they have begun constructing u a giant space elevator a height of 60,000 miles. The cable for the elevator will be made up of carbon nanotubes. The company said that the the project will be completed by 2020 – at the latest.
The first idea about the possibility of building a space elevator were by KE Tsiolkovsky, who in 1895 published the material on the establishment of the so-called “orbital tower”. In 1960 he published an article by the Leningrad engineer, Yuri Artsutanova “In Space – the locomotive,” in which he outlined the concept of a space elevator as a cost-effective, secure and convenient way to access to the orbit as a breakthrough in space exploration.
The main problem that Kobyashi overcame was the selection of materials that can withstand the weight of super-long cable. But after 90 years of research, they developed a way to produce carbon nanotubes with extreme durability.
In 2009 NASA awarded $900,000 for the development of the company LaserMotive robotic laser lift. The cost of nanotubes is still relatively high. Also significant is the difficulty of connecting and working out mechanisms. Kobayashi Corp. has addressed both of these issues.
The elevator will be able to hold 30 people. Lifting speed car will be 100 miles per hour. The elevator will take 7 days to reach orbit. The device will be able to deliver people and cargo into space.
At the top of the elevator complex will be living quarters and laboratories. Electricity will be generated by solar panels.
There are rumors that Kobayashi is also building an elevator to the center of earth.
Going up, or going down?