Yet another fictional invention from the late sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke appears to be one step closer to reality. The Japan Space Elevator Association hopes to be instrumental in getting the first real working space elevator built, a device that Clarke imagined decades ago in his 1979 book "The Fountains of Paradise." The elevator, anchored by 22,000 mile long superstrong carbon nanotube cables, would link to a satellite in geostationary orbit, vastly reducing the cost of space travel and research by eliminating the need for costly rocket booster takeoffs.
In addition to transporting various payloads and spacecraft component parts for in-orbit assembly, the space elevator would also transport people, potentially kick starting a new wave of space tourism. Although several organizations around the world have also announced their intention to build such a mechanism, Japan's history of successful technical execution, plus a budget of around ten billion dollars makes the prospect of the space elevator suddenly seem like anything but fiction.