Elevator into space: Japanese firm determined to proceed with bold engineering project

” id=”attachment_662607″]japan firm continues with plan build elevator into space obayashi
Japanese construction giant Obayashi first talked about building an elevator into space a few years ago, and this week it wants everyone to know it hasn’t given up on the idea.

While the idea may sound somewhat fantastical to many observers, the Tokyo-based firm said it believes it will have a space elevator operating by 2050.

Obayashi, whose work includes the construction of the world’s tallest tower – Tokyo’s Skytree – says the cable carrying the elevator could reach as far as 60,000 miles (96,000 km) into space with a counterweight at the end, while the terminal station would be located 22,400 miles (36,000 km) above Earth.

The system would comprise robotic cars powered by magnetic linear motors, Australia’s ABC News reported Monday. Once built, the cost of transporting humans and cargo into space would be significantly lower than traditional rocket-based travel.

The cable could, for example, enable small rockets to be transported into space to the terminal station, from where they could launch, saving huge amounts of money on fuel costs in the process.

With the cars designed to carry up to 30 people, the elevator could also prove a real boost for the space tourism industry. However, you’d have to be OK about spending seven days together, as that’s how long the journey to the ‘top floor’ is expected to take.

Yoji Ishikawa, a research and development manager at Obayashi, said the project has been made possible by the development of carbon nanotechnology, which has a tensile strength around 100 times greater than steel cable.

“Right now we can’t make the cable long enough,” Ishikawa said. “We can only make 3-cm-long nanotubes, but we need much more. We think by 2030 we’ll be able to do it.”

Engineering departments at universities across Japan are holding regular contests to try to further develop the technology for Obayashi’s ambitious space elevator plan.

A major study conducted two years ago on the project’s feasibility found that Obayashi’s space elevator was not merely the stuff of science fiction but actually a real possibility. However, in order for it to become a reality, it recommended some form of international co-operation.

[Via ABC]

Emerging Tech

Michigan’s former transportation chief has some advice for wannabe smart cities

After 31 years as Michigan’s transportation director, Kirk Steudle has seen it all, particularly with smart city projects. He spoke with Digital Trends recently about what makes smart cities work, and offers advice along the way.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX makes rocketry look easy, sticks yet another Falcon 9 landing

SpaceX is due to perform its latest Falcon 9 rocket launch and landing on November 15 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Here's how you can watch the proceedings live.

Born to run (forever): The most reliable cars you can buy right now

We all dread the thought of our car turning into a money pit, but choosing a dependable vehicle from the start can help us rack up countless care-free miles. Here, we've rounded up some of the most reliable cars available.

Out of juice? Learn how to jump-start a car with this quick guide

Jumping a car is a simple procedure, but not everyone knows how to properly do so. To make things easier, we've put together a quick-hit guide on how to fire up your vehicle using jumper cables and a second power source.
Emerging Tech

Stronger than steel, thinner than paper, graphene could be the future of tech

Since its discovery, graphene has set the research world on fire. What exactly is it, though, and what could it mean for the future of tech? Here's everything you need to know about what could be the next supermaterial to take center stage.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

In a weighty decision, scientists prepare to redefine the kilogram

Metrologists are meeting at the General Conference on Weights and Measures in Versailles to vote on whether to redefine the kilogram as a constant that can be observed in the natural world.

See the National Forests like never before in these awe-inspiring drone videos

What's the difference between a National Park and a National Forest? Drones. With no ban on drones in National Forests -- at least, not yet -- filmmakers have a way to capture the immensity of these locations with stunning results.
Emerging Tech

Google’s balloon internet is coming to Kenya in 2019

In order to bring the internet to those who lack it, a company called Loon is launching balloons into the stratosphere. From more than 12 miles up, these balloons beam connectivity over a large area on the ground.
Emerging Tech

Hikers missing on Mount Fuji could soon find a drone buzzing above their heads

Hikers who go missing while climbing Japan's highest mountain could soon find a drone buzzing above their head. A new system using the flying machines has been set up on Mount Fuji for future search-and-rescue missions.
Emerging Tech

Elon Musk receives FCC approval to launch over 7,500 satellites into space

Not surprisingly, SpaceX is thinking big with Starlink, its space-based global broadband network. This week, the company received FCC approval to launch 7,518 satellites into a low-Earth orbit for its satellite internet service.

The world’s first 3D-printed titanium wheels are so intricate they look fake

HRE Performance Wheels and GE Additive have teamed up to create the world's first 3D-printed titanium wheels. They are not only impressively durable, but extremely lightweight as well.
Emerging Tech

Of all the vape pens in the world, these 5 are the best

Vaping concentrates has become significantly more popular, especially among those that use cannabis for medicinal purposes. But don’t use just any vape pen: we found these five devices to be our favorites in 2018.
Emerging Tech

DJI Mavic 2 Pro vs Mavic 2 Zoom: What’s the real difference?

DJI's Mavic 2 series drones are ready to fly -- but which one is right for you? The Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom are nearly identical save for their cameras. Here's what you need to know about these powerful new UAVs.