A recent report suggests that Japanese engineers, led by Dr. Oyayashi, are working on high rise plans to build a lift into outer space. Now that really is a global positioning system…and certainly a smidgen more advanced than a TomTom.
I’m not sure this is such a good idea. The assumption is that around 30 passengers at a time can travel in the lift for a cool 22,000 mile journey at an elegant speed of 120mph and this will take a week to complete.
Now, a week may be a long time in politics but it’s going to be one awfully long week in a lift. Being stuck in a car for a few hours, even with GPS, is bad enough. And I don’t suppose there’ll be many stops en route to let people out and welcome new ones in.
The idea is that once they arrive ‘at the top’ they will step out into some kind of space station. They can then admire the spectacular post card views just like any discerning tourist. So in other words, an aerial view of earth and its surroundings – as far as the eye can see, I guess.
Dr. Oyayashi hasn’t made it clear what else these space tourists will do after staring into space to admire the view. Will there be post cards on sale? If so, will you be able to send them back down to earth on a lift ahead of your returning lift? Given that there won’t be much for you to do in space on a space station, I imagine within 10 minutes, you’ll be bored by the view; you will then be stepping back onto the lift for the week long downward descent back to Earth. Doors opening, mind the gap.
The other slight niggle I have is that the atmosphere in most lift journeys can be decidedly awkward. Conversation grinds to a halt and woe betide anyone who attempts to chat to their neighbour. Most people stand rigidly tense, desperately trying to avoid glances. Sometimes, admittedly, it’s difficult to stop yourself from goo-gooing at the baby in the pram who’s staring straight at you as if you are a monster from outer space. So you try to watch in dignified silence as the numbers go up or down and you reach your level. How will you do that with Ground floor….22,000 miles…top floor? There’s going to be a long, claustrophobic bit in between…and probably not many babies.
And supposing the lift gets stuck somewhere midway? Will there be stairs in place beside the lift shaft and how good will the access be? How long is it going to take the repair man to arrive? Oh, and what will people do for refreshments, laundry and washing facilities on the way up, or down?
To allow for the possibility of getting lost in space, will it be equipped with a SatNav or GPS device? I, for one, won’t be offering to be called out to fit one. I’d rather admire the unspectacular view of London skyscrapers from the office window.
Who on earth will be racing to get tickets for this lift to nowhere?