Thirty-Six Thousand Kilometers depicts the hub of a near future space elevator as it nears completion. Space elevators are a theoretical means of deploying payloads into orbit without the use of rockets. They are a mainstay in hard science fiction. While theoretically possible, they would require the development of materials such as graphene that can not be mass produced with today's technology.
The title refers to the altitude of a geostationary orbit (more precisely 35,786 kilometers) above the equator. At this altitude, objects detaching from the elevator would remain in orbit around the Earth.
Technologies such as these will be crucial steps in humankind's grand odyssey to explore the solar system and beyond.