While browsing the web, I found an interesting blog entry on the "space elevator". In short, it is an elevator-like concept that is promised to deliver people and material at a much lower cost into orbit -- with a real elevator-like system. It sounds much like a curiosity, but has received serious consideration, even in scientific circles. However the latest scientific news I read (don't remember where) is that no current material is strong enough to withstand the forces. The conclusion there was that it could not be done...
You might find this blog post an interesting read:
Good by Space Shuttle. Hello Space Elevator.
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