A Japanese Elevator to Outer Space?
Friday, February 24th, 2012
Remember back when the CN Tower awed the world? In 1995, the CN Tower was so impressive that it was named one of the world’s modern wonders. Now that a Japanese company has announced plans to build an elevator into outer space, the world’s tallest tower looks like it’s beginning to shrink.
Reported by SPACE.com just yesterday, the mammoth Japanese space structure is slated for completion by 2050. The concept is the brain child of a Japanese company, Obayashi Corp. (which is also currently building the Tokyo Sky Tree). As a relatively modest precursor to the space elevator, and at a height of 634 m, the Sky Tree will become the tallest self-supporting tower in the world, surpassing Toronto’s 553 m CN Tower.
“Yeah right” you say?
It might seem far-fetched, but it’s good to keep in mind that space elevators are not merely the stuff of science fiction; those in the space community – even NASA – have been talking about the idea for at least a decade.
Obayashi Corp. is one of the five major construction companies in Japan, so despite any knee-jerk reactions from the nay-sayers, if any company could achieve a space elevator, it would be one like Obayashi.
Of course, the engineering of such a structure would be unfathomable for your average layperson. In addition to dealing with gravitational pulls, subsequent forces from the Earth’s rotation and space debris, innumerable hindrances would plague a project like this. (But that’s another blog….) On the bright side, if Obayashi sees its dream through to its logical conclusion, you’ll be able to reach space, via elevator, in under 40 years.
Can you imagine telling your grandkids about the good ol’ days, when humans had to fly to outer space? When there was no HD video of Earth from space yet?
by Theras Wood