TECH

Working Space Elevator By 2050

23/09/2014 11:19 BST | Updated 23/09/2014 11:59 BST

A Japanese company has unveiled plans to have a space elevator by the year 2050. The elevator -- once thought to be nothing more than science fiction -- can now be feasibly built using today's technology.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports that Japanese construction firm Obayashi plans to use carbon nanotubes to build the central elevator column.

With a strength 100 times greater than that of steel, carbon nanotubes have been long-considered the material that could revolutionise the way we build objects from planes to smartphones.

space elevator

Obayashi confirms that the only hinderance at the moment is our ability to make carbon nanotubes. At present we can build them, but only in 3cm increments. However, the firm believes that technological advancements are now moving at such a pace that we will have found the solution for building nanotubes in a larger scale long before the 2050 deadline.

Reaching over 96,000km into space, the elevator would be able to cheaply transport people and materials into space at a fraction of the current cost.

The trip would take around seven days with the cars being moved by magnetic motors.