Japanese construction giant Obayashi plans to build a 59,000-mile elevator by 2050 that will transport tourists into space.
The “space elevator” would operate like a magnetic track enabled by carbon nonotubes, which are almost 100 times stronger than steel cable, an Obayashi spokesman told ABC News Australia. The technology that would allow the cable to reach far into space will be developed over the next 16 years or so, he said.
Obayashi has plans to build cars that could carry 30 people at once. The elevator also could allow the placement of solar power generators high above the earth that could send energy back down via the elevator.
A space elevator could create a market for space travel by wealthy tourists, who would pay $20,000 or more for a seven-day elevator ride. The first space tourist, millionaire Dennis Tito, paid $20 million for an eight-day trip to the International Space Station in 2001.