Now the finest scientific minds of Japan are devoting themselves to cracking the greatest sci-fi vision of all: the space elevator. Man has so far conquered space by painfully and inefficiently blasting himself out of the atmosphere but the 21st century should bring a more leisurely ride to the final frontier.
Japan is increasingly confident that its sprawling academic and industrial base can solve those issues, and has even put the astonishingly low price tag of a trillion yen (£5 billion) on building the elevator. Japan is renowned as a global leader in the precision engineering and high-quality material production without which the idea could never be possible.
Naturally, the feasibility of such a project is called into question, and more importantly, what would it attach to? Even a handful of the Sci-Fi anime and manga this device has appeared in have addressed issues in the safety of a Space Elevator in catastrophic events such as terrorist attacks or earthquakes. I’d like to see this happen, but I’m not exactly sure if I’d feel comfortable riding in it. Safety issues and such are sure to be a topic of discussion when Japan hosts an international conference on the project in November.
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