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Space Elevator one step closer to heaven?

If you attach cables to a satellite, will this be enough to construct an elevator to outer space? A conference in August will discuss the progress of such a project.

There's a feeling I get When I look to the west And my spirit is crying For leaving

Yes, there is excitement in the air--high in the air--at the prospect of an elevator being built, one that ascends into outer space and allows humanity to go beyond its dreary earthly penthouses.

The International Space Elevator Consortium is giddy at the prospect. Indeed, it has released information to inform the world that at the 2010 Space Elevator Conference, held August 12-15 at the Microsoft Conference Center in Redmond, Wash., the two men who are most au fait with developing an elevator to the stars will be telling of progress.

Yuri Artsutanov and Jerome Pearson are said to be the two men responsible for the blueprint for what will be, one day, the most eye-popping and, yes, the most ear-popping experience known to man.

Ooh. It makes me wonder.

How long will it take to rise up to the galaxy? Will there be an elevator operator, an old man, somewhat bent at the waist, who will ask which floor you require?

What might the ultimate Elevator to Heaven look like? CC Felipe Venancio/Flickr

Artsutanov was apparently the first, in the early 1960s, to posit the idea of attaching cables to a satellite and creating a two-way elevator between us and the great beyond.

Pearson, in 1975, did his own thinking on the subject while at NASA and published "The Orbital Tower: A Spacecraft Launcher Using The Earth's Rotational Energy."

Since then, the thinking appears to have solidified. As the conference's Web site puts it: "The Space Elevator uses a carbon nanotube ribbon that stretches from the surface of the earth to a counterweight in space. Climbers ascend the ribbon lifting cargo and passengers to earth orbits and launching spacecraft to distant planets."

I am not sure whether this includes Pluto, but I am very sure that, if it does not, this should be a serious offense.

When she gets there she knows If the stores are all closed With a word she can get what she came for.

Perhaps it is inevitable that, as someone who occasionally works out ways to sell things to people, I am drawn to the commercial opportunities for such a gigantic scientific undertaking. I can see those for whom Barneys and Harrods have become edifices of mundanity hopping onto the Space Elevator and buying themselves something nice at an outlet somewhere out there. Just imagine how unique the shopping bags would be.

And a new day will dawn For those who stand long And the forests will Echo with laughter

I know many of you will already be booking your trips to the West Coast to hear how long it will be before we can forgo the idea of pesky spacecraft and just hop on an elevator for an elevated experience.

However, I fear that some of the legal requirements might take a few years to satisfy. It might take a little while for building inspectors to approve this little construction. Still, it makes me wonder, this heavenly construction.

Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow? And did you know Your stairway lies on the whispering wind?