The Space Elevator increases spaceship part production in all of your cities by 50 percent, and increases its city's odds of generating a Great Scientist.
Originally consigned to the pages of science fiction, the concept of a "space elevator" has begun to attract serious attention in the halls of academia and the space industry itself. The space elevator is a system for cheaply hauling goods and material into space. Once completed, it would quickly replace the current wasteful method of carrying everything up in dangerous and very expensive rockets.
The basic concept is simple; a satellite in geosynchronous orbit is connected by cable to a stationary or mobile platform somewhere on Earth's equator. An elevator, or "climber", would ride up and down the cable at a fraction of present costs.
There are a number of problems that need to be overcome before such a project could be put in place. For one, the cable would have to be made of a material stronger and lighter than anything yet known. At the moment, carbon nanotubes seem to be the best candidate, but nobody knows how to construct them in quantity, nor yet how to weave them into cable. And even these might not be strong or light enough.
However, when considering the many daunting scientific and engineer challenges facing the project, it is quite useful to remember that a far less advanced world figured out how to put a man on the moon a mere ten years after it was first seriously proposed. Many sane and sober people believe that a space elevator will be constructed within this century.
- It is the only Great Wonder in Civilization IV which is based on a hypothetical future structure rather than a real-world one (historical or present).