a team of researchers at shizuoka university in japan are working on a ‘space elevator‘ that could help transport people and goods back and forth by 2050. the group is working with local construction firm obayashi on the vertical transportation link that would theoretically reach 96,000 kilometres (60,000 miles) above earth.


a space elevator could be helpful for astronauts and scientists, providing a more economic route of communication in place of expensive and often single-use rockets. the biggest challenge is crafting a lift shaft with the strength to withstand the harsh conditions in space. obayashi have suggested that carbon nanotube technology, a material 20 times stronger than steel, could be used, although even this material might prove too weak.

japanese researchers are trying to build an elevator to space

an artist’s rendering of a space elevator envisaged by obayashi corp

image courtesy of obayashi



researchers at japan’s shizuoka university plan to test an elevator in space on a smaller scale first. initial tests will launch a rocket and a mini elevator from the japanese island of tanegashima. the test involves a mini elevator – measuring just six centimetres (2.4 inches) long, three centimetres wide, and three centimetres high – will travel along a 32-foot cable suspended in space between two mini satellites. cameras in the satellites will monitor the movement of the motorized elevator box.


it’s going to be the world’s first experiment to test elevator movement in space,’ a university spokesman said on tuesday. the launch of the space elevator test was supposed to occur on september 11, but a typhoon has delayed it to an unknown date.