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Have you ever wondered how tiresome it will be to take stairs in order to reach the top floor of a 100 story building? If you haven’t, then you are already taking elevators for granted. Elevators do not only lessen the time to reach the top floor but also reduce the overall construction cost as compared to stairs.
Imagine a similar scenario for space travelling; what if astronauts at NASA could reach International Space Station in a space elevator at a fraction of the cost than that of a space rocket. The reduced cost will allow a common person as well to witness the vast space without any extensive NASA training. The mode of travelling through the space elevator will either be on foot or on a motor vehicle. This concept has been introduced by a Japanese construction company, Obayashi Corporation which has promised to deliver it by the year 2050.
The space elevator can travel to a distance of 96,000 km towards a newly built space station. The elevator will carry people and cargo using robotic cars powered by magnetic linear motors. The carbon nanotubes with the strength of 100 times greater than steel is said to be the material to build space elevators.
The biggest hurdle lies in the construction of carbon nanotubes since the current technology can make only 3 cm long cable. However, the company believe that it will be able to build longer nanotubes by 2030.
The space elevator will bring an end to earth-based rockets which are costly and dangerous. A space shuttle costs about $22,000 per kilogram to take cargo into space but it will take only $200 dollars for space elevator. It will require less amount of fuel to break the Earth’s gravitational pull.
Experts hope that this new technology will help in solving the world’s power problems by delivering huge amounts of cheap solar power or storing nuclear waste.
Space elevator may have been a science fiction but developments in technology has brought it closer to reality. Space tourism might become the new trend in near future.