October 3, 2008
Scientists Working on Space Elevator
Scientists in Japan and the United States say creating a so-called space elevator that can be used to visit space is a real possibility.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Aeronautics and Astronautics Professor Jeff Hoffman said scientists around the globe are working toward creating an elevator-like device that could carry individuals into space, CNN reported Friday.
"We are now on the verge of having material that has the strength to span the 30,000 km (18,640 miles) ... but we don't have the ability to make long cable out of the carbon nanotubes at the moment." he said. "Although I'm confident that within a reasonable amount of time we will be able to do this."
Japan Space Elevator Association spokesman Akira Tsuchida told CNN that the materials needed for the futuristic creation likely wouldn't be ready until "the 2020s of 2030s."
"At present we have a tether which is made of carbon nanotube, and has one-third or one-quarter of the strength required to make a space elevator. We expect that we will have strong enough cable in the 2020s or 2030s," Tsuchida said.