If we must reach our space exploration goals, we must figure out how to become more innovative in building space technologies. Building a space elevator has remained a science fiction for decades as scientists find it challenging to invent material strong enough to build such a fascinating technology.
But with the recent advancement of technology in recent times, several agencies are beginning to see the future of sending payloads to space aboard space elevators. Obayashi Corporation, a Tokyo-based construction company is hoping to build a powerful operational space elevator by 2050. How does this Japanese company hope to accomplish such a milestone for humanity? Continue reading to find out.
How Obayashi Corporation is Planning to Build High-Tech Space Elevator by 2050
On Feb. 22, 2012, Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported that Obayashi Corp. is working towards building a fascinating high-tech space elevator by 2050. Hence, upon completion of this futuristic project, the company is planning to carry passengers to space traveling at 124 mph (200 kph) and deliver the crew to a space station orbiting 22,000 miles (36,000 kilometers) above Earth. This interesting journey to space via the futuristic elevators is expected to last for a little more than one week.
But how does the company hope to build this futuristic project? Obayashi Corp. revealed that it would be building a spaceport starting from Earth’s surface up to an altitude of 60,000 miles (96,000 km). Hence, this is approximately one-quarter of the distance that exists between our home planet and our closest celestial neighbor, the moon. The Tokyo-based company also revealed that it will place a counterweight at the end of the elevator to help keep the cable firm in space.
As the cable is strong enough to handle more weight, a 30-passenger car would possibly travel to space via the cable. This space vehicle will rely on magnetic linear motors as its propulsion means. Once the passengers arrive in the weightless environment of space, they would enter the station which would provide living quarters and a laboratory for experiments.
The station will also have a solar-power generation facility with the potential of transmitting energy from space to the ground. If all goes according to plan, we should be expecting this futuristic space technology in full operation by the mid of this century.
How we commence the Move to Build Space Elevators In Space
In 1895, Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky proposed the concept of a space elevator for the first time. The scientist being inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris refers to this futuristic project as a free-standing tower that will reach the geostationary orbit starting from the surface of Earth. After the first proposal, futurists and science-fiction writers began to explore the idea of space elevators for decades.
These writers including Arthur C. Clarke refer to space elevators as a cheaper means of reaching space. However, to date, no one has the potential to bring this futuristic space invention to reality due to a lack of strong materials to build it. However, the invention of tiny cylindrical structures referred to as carbon nanotubes in the 1990s gave inventors new hope for the future of space elevators.
Obayashi is hoping to use this powerful material as part of its construction of the futuristic space elevator. However, company officials revealed that nanotube technology is not ready for its envisioned project. In addition, the firm revealed that engineers and innovators must figure out how to manufacture these nanotubes in a way that will be more efficient and affordable to bring the proposed space elevator into reality.
“At this moment, we cannot estimate the cost for the project,” an Obayashi official said to Yomiuri Shimbun. “However, we’ll try to make steady progress so that it won’t end just up as simply a dream.”
Obayashi Corporation is hoping to build a space elevator in 2050. However, the Japanese-based firm is not the only company working on this futuristic project. In the early 21st century, NASA scientists officially published a lengthy report detailing how the sophistication of carbon nanotubes can make it possible for the development of space elevators in the future.
China is also working on a space elevator plan before the mid of the 21st century. If we succeed to complete this futuristic project before the end of this century, the next generation of space explorers will surely benefit a lot from the space elevators.