Fancy taking a trip to space as your next holiday, and yet hate the idea of flying in a rocket which will make economy class on your regular airline feel as though it is the most luxurious ride ever? Such an adventure in a gravity-less environment might be undertaken in a more comfortable manner should the idea of a space elevator be mooted and completed, although it will most probably be completed some time in the middle of this century at best. Nihon University professor Yoshio Aoki is leading a team to develop the basic technology required for an elevator system which will be able to move along cables that will go all the way up to the sky – and early experiments have gone as high as 1.2km.
Apart from transporting humans, this particular system could come in handy when it comes to transporting large quantities of materials in the direction of space. In the experiment of this system last year, the 1.2km climb managed to achieve an average speed of 20kph on the way up, and with the help of gravity and some really good brakes, 40kph on the way down. Hopefully in due time, the Japan Space Elevator Association will be able to develop and popularize the concept.