%% Image is from NASA article: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2000/ast07sep_1/
[[quoteright:301:[[UsefulNotes/{{NASA}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/space-elevator-tm.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:301:Going up...]]

->''"In one moment, Earth; in the next, Heaven."''
-->-- '''Academician Prokhor Zakharov''', ''VideoGame/SidMeiersAlphaCentauri''

A concept that gets kicked around a lot in SpeculativeFiction as well as among real-life futurists. ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: an elevator riding up into space on a cable stretched from Earth into orbit.

Physics dictates the placement. It would need to be placed on the equator, and stretch up in such a way that the center of mass for the system was beyond the geosynchronous orbit level. That means at least 22,000 miles up. Hope the [[TheElevatorFromIpanema music doesn't suck]].

The best materials science we have today tells us that the only known material with a high enough strength-to-weight ratio would be carbon nanotube cable. We so far don't have the ability to manufacture it in the lengths needed. Other theoretical methods include dynamic-support, essentially a stream of magnetized bullets whose momentum pushes up the cable. The idea is surprisingly plausible from a physics standpoint, is judged as medium-hard on the {{Mohs Scale|OfSciFiHardness}}, and would, once the construction cost was paid off, reduce the cost of putting payloads into orbit. [[Creator/ArthurCClarke It's been said]] that we could have a working space elevator about 50 years after everyone stopped laughing. Most of them have.

Many works of fiction suggest building a prototype on the Moon or Mars (before tackling Earth), as the lower gravity makes it easier (and safer in case something [[GoneHorriblyWrong goes wrong]]). Those suggesting Mars are reasonable, although there is a moon between the Martian surface and synchronous orbit. On the plus side, there is a second moon ''just'' outside synchronous orbit, which would be handy to use as material to make the elevator.

Lunar space elevators would be placed on the lunar farside pointing away from Earth towards the Earth-Moon L2 [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lagrangian_point Lagrange point]]. These would actually have to be several times longer than their terrestrial counterparts, but the Moon's low gravity means it's still possible with current materials.

These are sometimes known as "beanstalks", after ''Literature/JackAndTheBeanstalk''.

Compare StarScraper.


* [[Wiki/{{Wikipedia}} The Other Wiki]] has a big list of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_elevators_in_fiction Space Elevators in fiction.]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''LightNovel/DirtyPair''
** One shows up in the prologue to ''[[TheMovie Project EDEN]]''; [[DestructiveSaviour it doesn't last long]].
** In ''Anime/DirtyPairFlash'', they also have an orbital ring to which the elevators connect at the top.
* ''Anime/BubblegumCrisis Tokyo 2040'' has a skyhook.
* In ''Manga/{{Gunnm}}''/''Battle Angel Alita'', Zalem (Tiphares) is at the bottom of a space elevator.
* One of these plays a significant role in ''Anime/SuperDimensionCenturyOrguss''; the ruins of one also play a role in the sequel, ''Orguss 02''.
* ''Anime/TekkamanBlade'' goes one step further, with an entire orbital ''ring'' serviced by multiple elevators.
* ''Anime/KurauPhantomMemory '' has a space elevator to facilitate travel between Earth and a moon colony.
* ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam00''. Space elevator infrastructure is a major part of the backstory, and every global superpower has one of its own. In fact, whether or not a country or a union has access to one of these determines whether they're considered developing or developed. All three are connected to and serve as the distribution network for the power supplied by an artificial ring of solar energy collectors that encircle Earth and serves as the basis for the energy needs of the 24th century.\\\
Aeolia Schenberg, the primary founder of Celestial Being, was a major contributor to the space elevator network, and even used his contacts with the many scientific communities at the time [[spoiler:to form an AncientConspiracy, the objective of which was to gain technological superiority over the forming global status quo, even coopting a ''mission to Jupiter'' to ensure that their technological edge was maintained.]] Even the HumongousMecha of the series were initially developed to defend the elevators from terrorist attacks and military intervention. (Supplementary materials describe HumongousMecha which are basically normal units turned into elevator compartments, with their chassis attached to long cables which drag them to wherever on the thousand kilometers of elevator they are required to be.)\\\
The series also makes a point out of how incredibly fragile such a structure would be. ''Nobody'' wants to fight around those things since even the slightest damage could cause the whole structure to collapse (and leave a third of the world without electrical power). [[spoiler:Naturally, in the proud Gundam tradition of [[ColonyDrop dropping large objects onto Earth]], one of the towers is damaged late in the series and is forced to jettison its outer shell in order to remain upright and balanced. The damage from the millions of tons of falling debris is nothing short of devastating.]]
* ''Anime/GundamReconguistaInG'' once again revisits the concept of a space elevator in the Gundam series.
* A Space Elevator named Spiras is built in Tokyo Bay in ''Manga/SilentMobius.'' Shame it's main role is to get blown up so Katsumi can face her past.
* ''VideoGame/ZoneOfTheEnders'''': Deloris, i'' has a space elevator built on Earth, and is the main mechanism by which goods and people are shuttled to and from the surface of the planet. It features heavily in some episodes, and is a critical part of the plot in the later part of the series.
* A space elevator extends up from the Capital in ''Anime/EurekaSeven'', though it's only shown a handful of times. It's called the Megaroad in the movie.
* In ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' [[spoiler:Negi mentions that using these is a part of his project to terraform Mars.]]
** ''Manga/UQHolder'', the sequel, features it prominently. The physics are a bit iffy, but given the presence of magic in the setting it's likely {{Magitek}}.
* In ''Anime/LegendOfGalacticHeroes'', the planet Fezzan is depicted with one, although it is just simply used to connect to its spaceport sited in outer space.
* In the ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex'' movie ''Miracle of Endymion'', Academy City debuts a space elevator called Endymion. Index compares it to the TowerOfBabel. [[spoiler: It turns out the elevator's creators deliberately modeled Endymion to be like the Tower of Babel in an attempt to ruin the world by recreating the original Biblical disaster.]]
* ''Anime/GunBuster'' has cable cars running to space in the final episode.
* In ''Anime/YuGiOhTheDarkSideOfDimensions'', [=KaibaCorp=] has a single-seat space elevator that takes the user to a small space station in low orbit.
* ''Anime/ActiveRaid's'' finale features one that is both unusual and yet surprisingly much more realistic than most examples: the space elevator in question is actually a single fiber-optic cable linked from a satellite to Earth for high-speed data transmission.

* One is featured in ''Film/KamenRiderKabutoGodSpeedLove''.
* One appears at the Corbulo Academy of Military Science in ''Film/Halo4ForwardUntoDawn''. [[spoiler: When the Covenant attack it's used to evacuate cadets. Unfortunately as it's carrying out groups of people to orbit, it gets destroyed near the base. Minutes later [[RealityEnsues everyone aboard falls to the ground]].]]

* Creator/ArthurCClarke
** He did not invent the idea, but his novel ''The Fountains of Paradise'' was among the first to promote the concept to the general public.
** This extends to his other works, including in ''Firstborn'' [[spoiler:which were destroyed (cut off) when the Spacers retaliated against Earth dropping a nuke on Mars, with surprisingly low (or even zero) casualty, since the cable fell and burned, while the station was floating around in orbit.]]
** The final sequel to ''Film/TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey'' (''[[Literature/TheSpaceOdysseySeries 3001: The Final Odyssey]]'') features not one, not two, but ''four'' space elevators (one each in Africa, South America, Indonesia, and the Pacific) connected by a ring. [[spoiler: Built of Jupiter's diamond core that got blown to bits when the planet became a tiny star in ''2010''.]]
** ''The Last Theorem'' also features a space elevator, which like the one in ''The Fountains of Paradise'' is built in Sri Lanka, far from the equator. An author's note explains, tongue-in-cheek, that for ''The Fountains of Paradise'' he moved Sri Lanka south until it rested on the equator, and for ''The Last Equation'', to make a change, he moved the equator north.
** ''Literature/TheSongsOfDistantEarth'' features a spaceship with a built-in space elevator - the ship remains in orbit and lowers a cable to the planet's surface to take on or discharge cargo.
* In "Foundation's Triumph", we learn that Trantor (a planet-wide city) apparently used a network of space elevators to transport people and supplies to and from Trantor, at least until the Great Sack.
* Creator/CharlesSheffield:
** The novel ''The Web Between the Worlds'' was published almost simultaneously with Clarke's, and bears some close similarities, including a near miss with the name of the protagonist. However in a foreword to Sheffield's novel, Clarke discounts any suggestion of plagiarism, pointing out merely that the space elevator was an idea whose time had come.
** ''Literature/{{Summertide}}'', in the ''Literature/HeritageUniverse'' series provides us with a retractable space elevator, the ''Umbilical'', strung between two planets that, of course, share a [[ForScience barycenter]] - ''Quake'' and ''Opal'' - in orbit around the stellar focus of their planetary system.
* Mentioned in Creator/RobertAHeinlein's ''Literature/{{Friday}}'' (the title character complains about how riding one nauseates her).
* In ''Discworld/TheScienceOfDiscworld'' books, humanity will eventually build a whole network of space elevators.
** Previously, Creator/TerryPratchett had used space elevators (the Lines) in ''Literature/{{Strata}}''.
* Kim Stanley Robinson's ''Literature/{{Red Mars|Trilogy}}'' features a space elevator on Mars [[spoiler:and the effect of bringing one down]]. And by ''Green Mars'' there are several on Earth.
* ''Literature/OldMansWar'' by Creator/JohnScalzi has a space elevator. Interestingly, it's gratuitously unrealistic ''in universe''-- even though Space Elevators are compatible with the laws of physics, this particular one isn't (its center of mass isn't far enough from the surface.) That it works anyway is one of the first indications that the Colonial Union, who built it, is hiding technology up its sleeve.
* In ''Literature/{{Accelerando}}'' by Creator/CharlesStross, space elevators are used to [[TheSingularity disassemble the inner solar system into computronium]].
* In ''Literature/SaturnsChildren'', Mars has one giant space elevator called Bifrost.
* ''[[Literature/RevelationSpace Chasm City]]'' by Creator/AlastairReynolds has a space elevator on the planet Sky's Edge; the main character gets attacked while he's riding it into orbit.
* Creator/RobertLForward's various books often feature these.
** The hero of ''Timemaster'' owns a company that made him a trillionaire largely through building space rotavators and related technology. Rotavators don't touch the ground, they are large cables that are rotating slowly with good momentum. On Earth they just barely touch the upper atmosphere and are timed to touch down in specific location every few hours so a large plane can load a capsule on to the Rotavator. It should be noted the author was the head of the NASA team that designed them...
** ''Literature/DragonsEgg'' and ''Starquake'' feature aliens living on a neutron star who, after getting help from orbiting human astronauts in kick-starting a scientific revolution, rapidly advance literally overnight to building space elevators of a variety of types.
* The Great Glass Elevator enters space in ''Literature/CharlieAndTheGreatGlassElevator'' (the sequel to ''Literature/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory''), though not on a cable. It uses a cable with "skyhooks". One end is hooked to the elevator, the other to... [[LookBehindYou Hey! Look!]] A [[WeNeedADistraction convenient distraction]]! That's more Wonka deflecting the question by {{handwav|e}}ing the Elevator's support/propulsion mechanism than a genuine explanation. Essentially, the book does not contain an explanation. The elevator also has "rockets" which the illustrations depict as nothing more than an exhaust bell underneath, attached to the outside of the glass, with no sign of the rest of the rocket engine or the fuel tanks. Really the thing works by something between AppliedPhlebotinum and [[AWizardDidIt magic]], and it is [[WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief not useful to try and explain it rationally]].
* ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'':
** In ''Literature/HaloContactHarvest'', there are seven of them on the colony of Harvest. This being ''Halo'', they end up getting destroyed by the [[ScaryDogmaticAliens Covenant]].
** In ''Literature/HaloFirstStrike'', one of Earth's elevators (tethered to Havana) is destroyed by [[SuperSoldier Spartan-II]] Blue Team during their fight with the Covenant.
* A substantial portion of David Gerrold's novel ''Jumping off the Planet'' takes place aboard a space elevator.
* In the ''Literature/WingCommander'' novel ''Action Stations'', recounting the initial events of the Terran-Kilrathi war the [[CatFolk Kilrathi]] target, as part of their attack on the Confederation base at [=McAuliffe=] (Pearl Harbor [[RecycledInSpace IN SPACE]]), the skyhook that supports the base, using [[spoiler:torpedoes with the newly developed capability of bypassing the massive shielding on bases and capital warships, against which fighters were otherwise mostly useless, relegating them to scouting or other supporting roles]].
* In Creator/JohnCWright's ''[[Literature/TheGoldenOecumene Golden Age]]'' trilogy, there is a space elevator on Earth. [[MeaningfulName Phaethon]] zooms up the space elevator [[spoiler: after getting back his spiffy armor, to face his trial.]] On his return from the spoiler, since he [[spoiler: was exiled from the Golden Oecumene, he has to take the long way down. The stairs.]]
* In a short story by [[Creator/IainBanks Iain M. Banks]], terrorists give the protagonist a powerful [[SufficientlyAdvancedAlien Culture]]-built handgun that only he can use, and try to blackmail him into taking out a government target with it. While contemplating what the weapon is capable of, the protagonist imagines using it to destroy the planet's SpaceElevator, trying to picture the resulting destruction and idly wondering whether it would come crashing to the ground or simply spin off into space.
* ''Literature/FeersumEndjinn'' by Main/IainMBanks is set in a giant castle-like structure which used to be the Earth terminal of a space elevator.
* A space elevator enables the premise of Frank Schätzing's novel ''Literature/{{Limit}}''. (Which is: The worthwhile mining for Helium-3 on the moon.)
* In the ''Literature/{{Uplift}}'' novel ''Sundiver'', Earth had two of these by the 23rd century. They're named Vanilla Needle and Chocolate Needle.
* In Niven & Barnes's ''Literature/TheBarsoomProject'', Cowles Industries host a major conference to recruit nations' and other megacorps' support of a Mars-terraforming program that would use this in its operation. The possibility of building one on Earth after a Martian version has been proven safe and reliable is also discussed.
** In the sequel ''Literature/TheCaliforniaVoodooGame'', the villain's corporate espionage is suspected to have been committed on behalf of the Ecuadorian government, which has a vested interest in learning Cowles' SpaceElevator designs due to Ecuador being one of the few suitable sites for one.
* In ''[[Literature/GreatShip Marrow]]'', the eponymous world at the [[HollowWorld core]] of the [[PlanetSpaceship Great Ship]] is connected to the rest of the ship by a small space elevator, which moves extremely quickly to pass through the containment fields surrounding [[DeathWorld Marrow]].
* In Creator/RobertReed's novel ''The Leeshore'', the eponymous planet has a largely decrepit space elevator, maintained by a few hundred workers at a long-forgotten refueling planet. The elevator is armed with a variety of point defense lasers to blow up anything approaching it, including the {{Living Gasbag}}s which block out the sky everywhere on the planet. The workers cut the elevator's tether point in [[DefiantToTheEnd a last act of defiance]] when their settlement is attacked, causing the elevator to go soaring out of the atmosphere.
* In book three of ''Literature/TheLongEarth'' series, ''The Long Mars'', Willis Linsay leads an expedition across the ''multiverse'' in search of one of these, based entirely on his conviction that one logically had to exist somewhere. This requires getting to "the Gap", a missing link in the Long Earth where a meteor hit, travelling to that universe's Mars, and then traversing the almost entirely separate chain of parallel Marses until they find it. The civilization that built it is already extinct, as Mars only supports life in brief windows compared to Earth, but Willis gets a sample of the "beanstalk cable" to return to Earth.
* Both Earth and Mars have 3 each in ''Literature/StarCarrier''. The ones on Earth are, naturally, in equatorial locations: Quito (the capital of Ecuador), Mt. Kenya, and one of the Lingga Islands close to Singapore. The stations at the other end are usually called either Synchorbitals or Supra-<name of the city below> (e.g. Supra-Quito).
* The Starclimber, from the third book in the''Literature/Airborn'' trilogy is mankind's first space fairing vehicle. It's furnished as well as any hotel and rides on a cable of highly reinforced steel.
* The Atlas colony in ''Literature/{{Blindfold}}'' has one at the hub. It connects to a space platform made of one of the second ship to be sent there from Earth (it was full of prisoners, who had since assimilated into the population). Since the Atlas colony lacks advanced space industry, the elevator is the only way of getting into orbit. [[spoiler:The BigBad blows it up along with the platform near the end of the novel as a retaliation for a former ally who turns against him. This robs the colonists from access to space and to the orbital lab that manufactures the Veritas drug, used by the [[LivingLieDetector Truthsayers]] to judge people accused of serious crimes, at least until the next ship arrives in a few years]].
* In ''Mercury'', part of Creator/BenBova's ''Grand Tour'' series, a space elevator is nearing completion in Ecuador when the orbital counterweight is sabotaged by corporate agents via [[GreyGoo outlawed nanotech]], as they feared the elevator would sabotage their business. Half the elevator cable comes screaming back down to Earth, leveling the tether point city and much of the spinward territory, while the rest shoots off into space. The designer of the elevator is sent to a kangaroo court for the deaths the failure caused, kicking off his plot for revenge.
* In ''[[Literature/{{Boundary}} Threshold]]'' the Indian government decides to finance construction of a space elevator. The logic is that they are to far behind to be able to effectively compete with the other nations in building interplanetary ships to try and find more alien bases but by building the first space elevator they can get a solid lock on providing orbital lift capability for other nations.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* The ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'' episode "Rise" has Tuvok and Neelix trapped on a space elevator.
* The TV speculative documentary titled ''2057'' predicts several of these by, well, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin 2057]]. Unfortunately, they screw it up by [[CriticalResearchFailure placing the base station only 300 kilometers up]]. Even more bizarre as they had a prominent physicist (Michio Kaku) as host.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Android}}'' has the iconic Beanstalk built at the city of New Angeles by Jack Weyland, founder of MegaCorp Weyland Consortium.
* The ''TabletopGame/{{Traveller}} 2300'' TabletopRPG had the "Beanstalk" adventure, which involved a SpaceElevator on the planet Beta Canum.
* The ''TabletopGame/TwentyThreeHundredAD'' TabletopRPG had the "Beanstalk" adventure, which involved a SpaceElevator on the planet Beta Canum Venaticorum.
* The TabletopRPG ''TabletopGame/JovianChronicles'' has one on Mars, but the one on Earth proved to be too difficult to engineer in the high terrestrial gravity and thick atmosphere. Earth uses "Skyhooks", shorter versions, where the top is in low orbit, and the bottom flies in the stratosphere, moving cargo between high-altitude planes and low-flying spacecraft.
* A ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}'' supplement had several {{Mega Corp}}s planning to build a Space Elevator atop Mt. Kilimanjaro, over objections of some of the most powerful nature spirits in Africa. As of the 2070s(4th edition), the Kilimanjaro Mass Driver is up and functioning, though the spirits haven't stopped fighting over the territory.
* ''TabletopGame/TranshumanSpace'' has the Olympus Project in Kenya, although it hasn't been completed yet. As in other examples, there's a completed elevator on Mars, linking Diemos to [[ChinaTakesOverTheWorld New Shanghai]].
* Called "Orbital Spires" in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' because it sounds fancier. Since most factions already have aerospace crafts that can cheaply move people to and from a planet's surface they're mostly used by Forge Worlds for heavy cargo lifting.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Numenera}}'' has one of these in the northern section of the Beyond. It's called the Beanstalk, and has been conflated with the story of ''Literature/JackAndTheBeanstalk'' by the locals, who have no idea how to work it.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Dragonstar}}'' has the "skyhook" on the planet Aelding, which the local silver dragons use to be the galaxy's leading spacecraft manufacturers.
* In ''TabletopGame/EclipsePhase'' Earth had several elevators before The Fall, only one of which is still standing, anchored at Kilimanjaro. It's occasionally used by scavengers and Reclaimers, though the spaceport at the base is as much a DeathWorld as the rest of the planet. Mars also has a space elevator on Olympus Mons.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/MegaManX8'''s problems eventually revolve around a Space Elevator. Sort of. As is typical for a ''Mega Man'' game, an entire level is built around riding the Space Elevator to the top. Oddly enough, the writers couldn't seem to figure out exactly ''what'' they wanted their Space Elevator to be. In the opening intro, it's depicted as some kind of tubular, spiraling roadway, with car-type vehicles driving up and down the outside of the tube (one explodes and falls into the park, setting off the story). Later, X, Zero and Axl take an ''actual'' elevator up to the top, which takes about five ''minutes'' and involves enemies dropping in from ''above'', when any movement inside an actual elevator would be difficult due to zero-G and the fact that the car would have to be ''sealed''...
* In ''VideoGame/{{Xenosaga}}'' we see an Orbital Elevator over the planet of Fifth Jerusalem.
* The Helghast in ''VideoGame/{{Killzone}} 3'' have one that works on laser propulsion.
* ''[[VideoGame/FZero F-Zero GX]]'' has a track set on a space elevator, Cosmo Terminal: Trident. It's particularly difficult as it is a network of three paths, none of which have safety railings. For the first two laps the track is constantly moving upwards, providing a disorienting background to distract you, and only on the final lap does the elevator reach the spaceport at the top.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Civilization}} 4'' the Space Elevator is a wonder you can build, which boosts by half production on space ship parts required to win the [[VideoGame/SidMeiersAlphaCentauri Alpha Centauri]] victory.
* It's also a wonder in ''[[VideoGame/CivilizationCallToPower Call to Power]]'', where it creates a space city above the city containing the wonder, and allows units to travel between the two without the drawbacks of other space launch methods.
* It is also a Secret Project in ''VideoGame/SidMeiersAlphaCentauri'' ([[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zws0V6Kre5I the movie for which]] provides the page quote), which doubles the energy (i.e. [[EnergyEconomy cash flow]]) at the base you build it at, doubles the speed with which all your bases can build orbital improvements (satellites and space installations that give your whole faction benefits), and lifts the requirement that any base building an orbital improvement have an Aerospace Complex. Since orbital improvements are pretty darn awesome (Orbital Hydroponics Stations give each base +1 Nutrients to grow faster; Orbital Power Transmitters give you +1 extra Energy per base, potentially giving you loads of cash; Nessus Mining Stations give you +1 Minerals per base, letting you build stuff faster; and Orbital Defense Pods give you a 50% chance of stopping [[NukeEm Planet Busters]]), provided you haven't [[GaiasVengeance pissed off Planet too much]], so this is kind of a big deal.
* ''Franchise/{{Halo}}''
** In ''VideoGame/{{Halo 2}}'', the New Mombasa Space Elevator is destroyed when Regret's Assault Carrier enters slipspace within the city itself. In ''VideoGame/{{Halo 3}}'', the Master Chief must fight his way along a highway in the same region, around which scattered bits of the elevator can be seen. One Marine mentions it's scattered over East Africa. The actual collapse of the elevator is seen in ''VideoGame/Halo3ODST''; the "cable" part of the elevator floats off into space while the massive ring things around it come loose and fall to earth.
** A few of the multiplayer maps are set in or around space elevators, like ''Halo 3''[='s=] "Orbital, and ''VideoGame/{{Halo 4}}''[='s=] "Skyline" and "Harvest"; in particular, "Harvest" is set around the same ones featured in ''Literature/HaloContactHarvest''.
** In ''VideoGame/Halo5Guardians'', you actually go down one in order to get to Meridian. [[spoiler:You then have to travel back up it when Meridian gets overrun by Prometheans; in classic ''Halo'' fashion, it's destroyed right as you escape.]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Latale}}'' has the Bifrost map, which is called a space elevator, though instead of riding an actual elevator up, you have to climb the entire thing.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Dystopia}}'', there are five space elevators located on or very near the equator, and four of them are the traditional kind. However, one of those is anchored to Atlantis, a ''free floating'' city in the Atlantic Ocean. It has yet to be explained how the elevator maintains geosynchronous orbit.
* In ''VideoGame/SonicColors'', this is how Dr. Eggman's [[AmusementParkOfDoom intergalactic amusement park]] is accessed from Earth. This being a ''Sonic'' game, of course, you eventually [[EscapeSequence descend]] [[RuleOfCool on foot.]]
* The world of ''VideoGame/{{Syndicate}} Wars'' has one in Colombo, Sri Lanka, a ShoutOut to Creator/ArthurCClarke who lived there. You [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Twl1TC-LupM take a ride on it]] in the final missions.
* In ''VideoGame/RefleX'' the boss fight against Scorpio takes place in one of these, while climbing.
* In ''VideoGame/InfiniteSpace'', orbital elevators are the usual method for space travelers to travel between orbital spaceports and planetary surfaces.
* The last part of ''Videogame/Warhammer40000SpaceMarine'' happens inside one of those Orbital Spires mentioned above, since it happens to act as a fairly good grounding rod for the BigBad's [[TheLegionsOfHell warp portal]].
* In ''[[VideoGame/EscapeVelocity EV Nova]]'' the Kane Band, an [[RingWorldPlanet artificial ring around Earth's equator]], is connected to the surface by six space elevators, colloquially known as Kane's Ladders.
* In ''VideoGame/BorderDown'', the enemy forces try to topple a space elevator on the colonized and terraformed Mars in order to destroy the Martian capital of Sheffield. [[spoiler:Frank destroys the elevator by accident trying to defend it]]
* In ''VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic'', several of these installations, known as "gravity hooks", exist on the surface of Makeb. Interestingly, thanks to the Franchise/StarWars universe's CasualInterstellarTravel, they're horrifically inefficient; they're used on Makeb because the planet's atmosphere makes travel by shuttle or ship dangerous and impractical, necessitating a workaround. For this reason, an early Imperial quest in the Rise of the Hutt Cartel content consists of capturing a gravity hook to use as a beachhead for the Empire's covert operations on the planet.
* ''Videogame/StarRuler2'' features space elevators as an Imperial-scale planetary improvement project. Each Space Elevator on a planet reduces the cost of support ships - small gunships, space fighters and such that escort the [[MileLongShip multi-kilometer long flagships]] - by 30%. Being an Imperial scale project, they are prohibitively expensive to build, and in the early game will consume the majority of your budget cycle and possibly part of the next budget cycle. They are available at the very beginning of the game, [[LensmanArmsRace and things only get crazier from there]].
* In ''VideoGame/StarbaseOrion'', colonies can build space elevators to reduce the costs of building ships. Very useful. Strangely, this doesn't reduce the costs of building starbases.
* The Orbital Elevator in the 2014 ''VideoGame/{{Strider}}'', a huge elevator functioning by gravity control built inside the [[StarScraper really long]] [[EvilTowerOfOminousness Meio's Tower]]. It is the only way to access Meio's throne room, found at the very top of the tower and hosting a nice view of outer space.
* A fantastic example in ''VideoGame/{{Unreal|I}}'' is the Sky Elevator, a floating cubicle which connects the top of the [[StarScraper Sunspire]] to an asteroid with a city on it. Later on, in the ExpansionPack, you find it crashed on a lake near the Sunspire - two humans found out the hard way that riding it in bad weather isn't a good idea.
* The ''VideoGame/FrontMission'' series has multiple examples. The Orbital Elevator ATLAS plays a prominent role in backstory of ''Gun Hazard'' [[spoiler: and serves as TheVeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon.]] Multiple Orbital Elevators also appear in ''Evolved'', with each of the world superpowers having at least one.
* ''VideoGame/AceCombat7SkiesUnknown'' revolves around control of a space elevator known as "the Lighthouse." Bandai Namco consulted with a Japanese company researching the development of actual space elevators to ensure [[ShownTheirWork a realistic portrayal.]]
* The ''VideoGame/BattleClash'' games have a stage with a space elevator built at the site of the ancient TowerOfBabel, which connects to a secret base on the moon where the BigBad's hideout resides. In the first game, you fight your way up the elevator from the inside, and in ''Metal Combat'', you start at the ''top'' of the tower and engage your opponent in a FreeFallFight.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'' features one on Luna (The Moon). It is destroyed as a result of the Partnership Collective's sabotage of the Toughs' first flagship, causing a massive amount of damage. The Earth courts decided to ''inflict'' equal damage on the group of conscience-less lawyer drones -- and gave a contract to Tagon's Toughs to destroy one million of them. Cue a RunningGag -- a snake with tie will die.
* [[http://www.irregularwebcomic.net/43.html This]] ''Webcomic/IrregularWebcomic'' shows a problem with space elevator: two days of elevator music.
* In ''Webcomic/RealLifeComics'', Tony builds a space elevator to his space station, except it has a ''retractable'' elevator cable, making it more of a "space rope-ladder".
* ''Webcomic/{{xkcd}}''
** A comic suggests that, since a space elevator will be built 50 years after everyone stops laughing, all we have to do is put ''Mind of Mencia'' [[TakeThat on every channel]] and wait.
** A later one illustrates a [[http://xkcd.com/697/ rather severe setback]] in such an elevator's grand opening.
* In the backstory of ''Webcomic/{{Drowtales}}'', the Val'Nabhan'veaka clan of Chel'el'sussoloth essentially wanted to build one of those, though instead of to space it went to the Surface from the Underworld. Unfortunately, the Skyhole collapsed during construction and set off a series of DisasterDominoes that continue to resound in the present day.
* ''Webcomic/{{Westward}}'' uses a space elevator in place of {{Space Plane}}s or TeleportersAndTransporters as a means of travel between the titular CoolStarship and a planet's surface. The elevator is portable -- it is carried around by the starship, deployed at a planet as needed, then pulled up and stored on board again for the next trip. Needless to say it breaks some rules of physics and engineering (though no more so than [[Franchise/StarTrek transporters and shuttlecraft]], perhaps) but it provides a unique alternative with an "analog" feel, which was the author's stated purpose for it.
* In ''Webcomic/EscapeFromTerra'' Mars has both a [[http://www.bigheadpress.com/eft?page=619 space elevator]] and a [[http://www.bigheadpress.com/eft?page=618 "skyhook"]] that passes over the equator dropping airplanes.
* One such elevator, named "Starclimber Station", appears in ''Webcomic/AlwaysHuman'' on an artificial island near Singapore.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Literature/ThePentagonWar'', the bigger asteroids in the Human-Centauri star system have space elevators to ferry cargo and passengers from the space stations to the surface. They can get away with it because the surface gravity of these asteroids is only 0.5%-1% of Earth's, so the elevator cables won't snap under their own weight.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Centurions}}'' has one, but it's set up more as a train, rather sensibly, as the ride is looong.
* ''WesternAnimation/GeneratorRex'' has one leading to an orbital research station.
* On ''WesternAnimation/RockosModernLife'' Ed Bighead starts off (literally) at the bottom of [[MegaCorp Conglom-O]], but as he makes good company decisions (using a "Magic Meatball"), he quite literally moves up in the company via an elevator, until the view outside his office is the Earth from space.
* In ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy'', Ed spends most of an episode building one [[BambooTechnology out of junk]] that reaches the moon.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Some people have stopped laughing. There is a growing group of enthusiasts and scientists, [[http://www.isec.info ISEC]], working on it and a full-blown annual [[http://www.spaceelevatorconference.org conference]]. Though it's worth noting that the more serious thought that is developed about space elevators, the more problems are discovered with the concept. Some have proposed other ideas, while others have abandoned the idea as infeasible even with near-future technology.
* A probably better idea is the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Launch_loop launch loop]]. It's still largely unknown to the masses (because a strip of rotating wire is a lot less glamorous than a wire shooting up into the sky), but seems to be a lot more practical, not to mention more feasible at our current technology level (you don't need carbon nanotubes to make it).
* Even better than those two is a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_Driver#On_Earth Mass Driver]]. Which is basically a 100 plus kilometer long space gun.
* [[http://liftport.com/ Liftport Group]] proposes to develop a complete Lunar Space Elevator Infrastructure - having previously developed some initial proof-of-concept works, such as one that was [[http://www.space.com/1593-space-elevator-concept-undergoes-reel-world-testing.html successfully demonstrated in 2005]]. The group - having experienced [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LiftPort_Group some bumps in the road, along the way]] - has recently and successfully [[http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/michaellaine/space-elevator-science-climb-to-the-sky-a-tethered completed a funding project at Kickstarter]]