“There are only three steps to heaven”, the late, great Eddie Cochran used to sing in the days when I was nicking me dear old Dad’s Brylcreem and trying to comb my hair into a quiff (by the end of the day it had always reverted to the standard schoolby fringe)
In these increasingly idle times we don’t even need to take three steps to heaven, we can just ride in the lift.
Japanese construction company Obayashi wants to build an elevator to space and transport passengers to a station about a tenth the distance to the moon.
The elevator would use super-strong carbon nanotubes in its cables and could be ready as early as 2050, according to Tokyo-based Obayashi.
The cables would stretch some 60,000 miles, about a quarter the distance to the moon, and would be attached to Earth at a spaceport anchored to the ocean floor. The other end would dangle a counterweight in space.
The elevator would zip along at 125 mph, possibly powered by magnetic linear motors, but would take about a week to get to the station. It would carry up to 30 people.
Up above, the space station would have living quarters and lab facilities. Solar panels connected to the station would generate electricity that would be transmitted to the ground.
NASA has also investigated space elevators, awarding $900,000 in 2009 to LaserMotive for developing a laser-powered robotic climber. Aside from the tremendous hurdles for the technology involved. While space elevators could significantly reduce space-related costs compared with rocket launches, the infrastructure could cost tillions to build a report said.
Well that no doubt will have the space freaks cluthching their naughty bits and rocking to and fro in ecstacy but as usual with these ever-so-easy ideas to conquer the laws of nature people have not thought it through properly.
Who would ever want to spend a week in a lift with 29 other people? I have been in some very well appointed lifts, in the Empire State Building, No 1 Canada Square The Kaknäs Tower in Stockholm, and a few others but I don’t recall one with bedrooms, showers and a restaurant. And where would the toilet facilities go?
Would there be separate flushing loos, say one per 4 people, or would space trekkers all have to share the same bucket behind a curtain in the corner?
Forget about the scientists delusional notion of doing experiments in a space laboratory and unravelling the secrets of the universe, a week crammed into a lift with the odours of 30 peoples’ body functions, the protucts of wich are decomposing somewhere very near by would be enough to finish of Bear Grylls let alone a bunch of wussy scientists.
The space lift is one of those ideas that as a mathematical experiment might look fine on paper but as a real world business venture we can’t see it getting off the ground.
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