Friday, September 26, 2008

Up, up and away

Like a story right out of science fiction, the Japanese - known for their pursuit of all things eccentric (think pocket pets, robot dogs and an assortment of other crazy inventions) - are reportedly planning to spend one trillion yen (just shy of US$10 billion) on a 36,000 km space elevator to lift people and objects into orbit by 2030.

Though the technology that will make it work still hasn’t been completely figured out, the Japanese government is wasting no time in announcing it will bring together the finest scientific minds that their country has to offer in an effort to sort out the lingering details of the elevator’s construction. Once completed, the cost of getting to space ought to be at least 100 times less than blasting away in a space shuttle, which will, in turn, make space accessible to more of us.

However, the price tag for putting together such an enormous project sounds astronomically... low. If it were true, Bill Gates could potentially own one of these.


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