The Japanese are planning to build a space elevator. Nice work, if Shuichi Ono, chairman of the Japanese Space Elevator Association, and his engineers can do it. So far they haven’t even translated their web site into English. It ain’t rocket science but, first, they have to come up with the materials to build the beanstalk. Been a lot of talk about that, and some minor experimentation, but no action yet worthy of an actual setup. Inevitably, they’re starting with a conference.
Science fiction writers like Charles Stross in Saturn’s Children, have predicted the elevators won’t work well, except in isolated environments such as Mars to Phobos, or another of the red planet’s moons. Time will tell.