At the end of a 59,652-mile-long, carbon-nanotube cable, there would be a counterweight floating in space and anchoring the assembly connected to the ground terminal. Passengers would travel from terra firma to a spaceport research center equipped with residential facilities located 22,369 miles above the Earth's surface.
Interested in beaming yourself up? Well, make sure you pack your toothbrush and an few changes of clothes because even though the elevator will zoom up the ribbon at 124 miles per hour, it's still going to take a week to get there. Those who have ever undertaken a cross-country trip on a Greyhound bus know how pleasant a journey that can be.
Obayashi is keeping mum about the estimated cost of the project, but once it's off the ground, the company hopes to shuttle 30 passengers at a time along the cable, potentially with magnetic linear motors.
No location has been revealed yet, but because the assembly would rely on centrifugal force to keep the ribbon taut, the base station needs to be located near the equator. Here's looking at you, Pontianak, Indonesia.
An ambitious project indeed, sure to have many ups and downs.
Credit: NASA (top); Obayashi Corp. (left)