By now, many people have heard of the space elevator. It is basically an incredibly strong cable that is attached to the earth at the equator, that goes past geostationary orbit and has a counter weight at its other end. The force on the counterweight matches the force of gravity pulling it down so the cable remains taught and goes straight up from the earth. To finish the space elevator, just put a car on it that is capable of climbing the cable.
Now, if we make the car see through, those that fear heights even slightly will be petrified of the ride. Considering the ride is going to take a couple of days we can’t allow the sheer terror of the ride.
Similarly, if we make the elevator car opaque, people with the slightest bit of a tendency toward claustrophobia will be rendered almost catatonic. There must be a better way.
I propose a space escalator.
A space escalator would be a stairway. The stairway wouldn’t have to extend all the way to the top of the cable. Nor would the stairs even have to move. As long as the stairway itself moves up, relative to the cable, we have our space escalator.
For efficiency sake, I suggest we make the stairway just one story high. It would have its own power source and could climb the cable.
I must admit, when I first thought of this I was a purist and thought that the passenger and payload would have to hold on for dear life. But I realize now that it is better for the stairway to have a floor and some walls to hold the payload in. At first I imagined the passenger in a space suit holding on to the hand rails.
I have rethought this. Since we are already using a floor and some walls, why not make those walls clear and also have a roof. Yes the whole opaque stairway would be fully enclosed with air to breath for the passenger. They wouldn’t need a spacesuit now, just for an emergency.
Notice how the opaque or see through elevator car has been solved for by the space escalator!
And many of you did not realize that this stairway to heaven was first proposed to us in the sci fi song Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin. The only down side is that someone might play the music to this song in a loop for the whole couple days it takes to ride this space escalator.