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The American space agency is hosting a competition in which a number of entrepreneurs will be showcasing a variety of interesting creations

A National Aeronautics Space Administration competition will draw a number of international scientists to the New Mexico desert for them to unveil a number of different revolutionary projects. The overall goal of the NASA contest is to build some form of a space elevator that would hopefully one day replace expensive rocket missions. Even though the idea of a space elevator constructed out of a long enough cable to lift men and goods into orbit seems a bit outlandish, the entrepreneurs realistically believe it can be done.

University researchers, several corporations and scientists from several countries will test their devices to at the competition next month. Over $400,000 in cash prizes will be made available to the winners to the contests.

The LiftPort Group is one company that has openly stated its intentions of constructing a space elevator . LiftPort announced last month that it has completed a second round of testing on a prototype space elevator platform that stretches over a mile into the sky. The space elevator it hopes to construct would span over 100,000 kilometers. The company will be represented at the NASA challenge next month.

Even though a proper space base hasn't been constructed on Mars, some experts are hypothesizing about the ability of building a space elevator on the red planet. The 24 ½-hour days and proper atmosphere makes it an ideal location for a space elevator. Many scientists cited by the group agree that interested parties should first build some sort of elevator off Earth before even mentioning Mars.

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To where?
By Niv KA on 9/4/06, Rating: 0
RE: To where?
By Niv KA on 9/4/2006 4:46:02 PM , Rating: 1
Plus it is like when you are a little kid. if you build a really tall tower with LEGO it will start to bend, unless the base for this thing is the size of Cuba, we have no chance!

(or it could be a plot to build an elivator and get rid of cuba all in 1 go)

- Niv K Aharonovich

RE: To where?
By saratoga on 9/4/2006 7:20:44 PM , Rating: 2
Err, where did they say tower? This thing doesn't climb up from Earth, it hangs down from space. It can't "bend" because its basically a big rope hanging down to earth at one end, and spinning out into space at the other end. If the middle is exactly in geo orbit, then the center of mass is in geo orbit, and the rope will "fall" forever around the earth just like any satallite without ever moving (relative to the earth).

Fun to think about eh?

RE: To where?
By Ringold on 9/4/2006 4:47:13 PM , Rating: 2
Low earth orbit

RE: To where?
By saratoga on 9/4/2006 7:23:33 PM , Rating: 2
Geosynchronous Orbit

Low Earth Orbit would mean that the thing would rotate at a different speed then the surface, which would mean the end would be dashing over the earth at thousands of miles per hour. It would probably burn up or fall down from friction pretty quickly in that case.

RE: To where?
By Ringold on 9/5/2006 6:18:43 PM , Rating: 2
Woops, you're right saratoga. My bad; I was too annoyed that he obviously hadn't read the article to give the response the proper thought I guess :)

RE: To where?
By Lastfreethinker on 9/4/06, Rating: 0
RE: To where?
By Ringold on 9/5/2006 6:21:49 PM , Rating: 2
The second space elevator gets mentioned because the first one would be used to make the second one for pocket change in comparison to the first. The first makes all others much, much cheaper.. And the more there are, the more that of course lowers costs to get cargo up to orbit. Basically, they're pointing out once we have one, it's crazy not to have a second one.

RE: To where?
By Spyvie on 9/4/2006 6:31:32 PM , Rating: 2
The elevator is not going from Earth to Mars… LOL

They’re talking about a carbon nanotube ribbon suspended from a platform in geosynchronous orbit 24,000 miles up, with a lift crawling up and down the cable.

I still don’t believe it will work, I’d like to see a proof of concept in the form of a really long piece of strong string or cable suspended from some sort of affordable test platform. If they can keep the string intact and the platform in orbit then maybe we can proceed.

RE: To where?
By PrinceGaz on 9/4/2006 8:26:36 PM , Rating: 3
It can work, but it will require a large initial investment of funds to get a sufficiently massive anchoring point and attached by a strong enough tether. After that is done it is plain sailing as anything you can send up can be accompaned by enough fuel to ensure the anchoring-mass is kept moving at the correct velocity.

Unless we destroy our planet before then or unless we develop some revolutionary form of propulsion that bypasses gravity, we will need to use a space-elevator of the type mentioned here and proposed by sci-fi writers for decades. It's just common-sense; why use a large amount of energy escaping the Earth's gravity each time when a one-off investment in the elevator provides unlimited launches.

RE: To where?
By saratoga on 9/5/2006 6:05:38 PM , Rating: 2
It can work, but it will require a large initial investment of funds to get a sufficiently massive anchoring point and attached by a strong enough tether. After that is done it is plain sailing as anything you can send up can be accompaned by enough fuel to ensure the anchoring-mass is kept moving at the correct velocity.

No it doesn't. You can push a counterweight away from earth using an electric motor, must like a conventional elevator raises one weight while lowering another. In theory, no fuel at all is required, but in practice some will be needed to overcome drift, drag, etc.

RE: To where?
By bdunbar on 9/5/2006 12:03:55 AM , Rating: 2
The load goes up.

If you want to deliver it to LEO you push the cargo off above LEO and shape the orbit for your desired orbit.

GEO? Climb to GEO and .. let go. Presto you're done. If you need a different location at that altitude see above.

Want to toss a load right out of cis-lunar space to the Belt or Mars? Let it ride out to the end. The tip is going to fling you right out of our orbit. You'll want to let go at the right place and carry rockets to shape your final destination ...

RE: To where?
By rcc on 9/5/2006 3:33:19 PM , Rating: 2
This brings up an interesting question. Whether the velocity imparted at the space terminal end would be enough to actually leave earth orbit. I tend to think not.

Bear in mind that whatever is outside of Geosynchronous orbit doesn't just wander off, it just orbits slower than surface rotation, as orbits below that are faster,relatively speaking.

Perhaps someone would like to run the math.

Really our greatest Technological Limits...
By shecknoscopy on 9/4/2006 4:15:58 PM , Rating: 4
...lie in what song we could possibly play while you rode an elevator into space. I mean, are we as a society prepared to make a 6 hour extended jam version of "Girl From Impanema?"

I'm not sure we can handle it. It's the omega scenario.

RE: Really our greatest Technological Limits...
By Fnoob on 9/4/2006 6:10:05 PM , Rating: 4
The superextraultra remastered six hour version of "Stairway to Heaven" of course.

By shecknoscopy on 9/4/2006 7:34:06 PM , Rating: 2
The superextraultra remastered six hour version of "Stairway to Heaven" of course.

Almost 20 minutes longer than the original!

...and about 6 hours shorter than the version played by your neighbor's teenage son's garage band seems...

*sigh* Bonzo is dead. Long live the Bonzo.

By bdunbar on 9/4/2006 11:58:27 PM , Rating: 2
Easy choice.

'Thus Spake Zarathrusta'. Scored for kazoo.

By rushfan2006 on 9/5/2006 9:27:46 AM , Rating: 2
LOL....why did "Love in an Elevator" immediately pop in my mind.....

Could see it now...go in a space elevator with some hottie....later when people talk about the "mile high club" could just laugh in their fact "amateurs" (quick someone hurry and spell check that and correct me!!!)....;)

Awkward silence?
By rklaver on 9/4/2006 5:03:37 PM , Rating: 5
Can you imagine how long the awkward silence would be riding in an elevator to orbit?

RE: Awkward silence?
By Hypernova on 9/4/2006 5:18:33 PM , Rating: 2
Not to mention the length of time you will have to listen to the god awful music.

RE: Awkward silence?
By quiksilv3r on 9/4/2006 5:34:08 PM , Rating: 2
Oh god...what if someone farts. That's stuck there for a while. Imagine how much it would suck to be that guy.

RE: Awkward silence?
By CrystalBay on 9/4/2006 6:36:55 PM , Rating: 2
Finally, three good questions about the space elavator...

RE: Awkward silence?
By Xavian on 9/4/2006 6:40:11 PM , Rating: 2
if the elevator doesn't have air filters... i wont be going up in one, thats for sure.

then again you can spedn the whole ride up figuring out who actually did it.

Other things first
By mwilkinson on 9/4/2006 11:10:16 PM , Rating: 2
Why dont we spend money on fixing things here on earth first before we build an elevator to space... I wonder how many children that could feed instead?

RE: Other things first
By proamerica on 9/4/2006 11:40:02 PM , Rating: 2
The military spends far more money than NASA...

Besides why don't you go feed the children if it's such a pressing matter for you. I dated a social worker once, she didn't worry too much about NASA's money because she made a difference in kids lives through her work. Actually helping them individually.

You can only throw so much money at a problem, at some point you have to get off your ass and do something about it if it's such a big deal to you. People forget that you can lead by example. It's a long road but if you bleeding heart liberal whiners would actually go out and WORK to make the world a better place in tangible realistic manner then you wouldn't even have to worry about NASA or the military spending the "children's" money.

The money will be wasted no matter where you send it. Thats a sad fact. You can't spend trillions of dollars well, human nature just makes it impossible.

RE: Other things first
By Ringold on 9/5/2006 7:18:29 PM , Rating: 2
Private enterprise can spend trillions well, if its in a competitive market, but *government* cant spend a nickle without forming a committee, having meetings, paying a corrupt contractor a hundred thousand bucks to study the issue, having more meetings, attaching a rider to build something expensive in a sparsely populated area, and then having a final vote that agrees that because it's an election year, the final decision of what to do with the nickel is best put off until next year, at which point the contractor will be paid to further investigate the nickel and several more riders will be attached.

NASA's share is so tiny of the budget it's hardly a rounding error. :\

RE: Other things first
By bdunbar on 9/5/2006 12:12:38 AM , Rating: 2
Edwards from Carbon Designs guess-timates 10 bilion. We're more conservative and have some (we think) better data and say 20 billion.

And so? BP put in a new deep ocean oil right in 2005. It cost $10 billion. It's not cheap but it's money that private companies toss around all the time.

Also note that NASA is nowhow noway saying they are going to build one. Liftport (bias warning I work there) says we can after we study the thing for a few more years but we don't want the government to do it - we can (with some luck) get the job done using private capital.

So - no 'think of the children' moral quandry involved.

But wait - there is. Any means that reduces the transaction cost of transport _always_ generates wealth. If we're wealthy we can _buy_ those kids welfare and food. Conversly if we simply take our excess captial and buy food we'll be (relativly speaking) poor as dirt and can't afford frippery like welfare.

Rich and able to afford social toys like welfare and food stamps or poor dumb peasants scrabbling in the fields and everyone dying at 40?

RE: Other things first
By Ringold on 9/5/2006 7:22:58 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, you guys arent looking for one red government cent? Doing it privately?

To a red-blooded capitalist, LiftPort just became beautiful. Thats a great idea, 'cause NASA would do nothing but slow you people down, create cost overruns, and you guys would end up with another International Boondoggle, er, Space Station.

RE: Other things first
By bdunbar on 9/8/2006 8:32:12 AM , Rating: 2
Wow, you guys arent looking for one red government cent? Doing it privately?

No. Yes.

It can't be done without the government's help. We've already had extensive dealings with the FAA and we'll have more with other agencies in the future.

Too, if Uncle Sam is willing to pay some of the costs of development then we'd be foolish not to accept their help. The first customer is likely to be the government for that matter. They send up a lot of satellites and the cost savings should be enormous.

And this is okay. It's the job of the state to prime the pump for projects like this; always has been.

But yes, the goal is for Liftport to remain a private company and to build and operate a space elevator system.

RE: Other things first
By Viditor on 9/5/2006 1:10:59 AM , Rating: 1
Why dont we spend money on fixing things here on earth first before we build an elevator to space

Because building an elevator to space could do just that (feed children, give us free energy, eliminate poverty) better than anything else we could spend the money on...

Some things to keep in mind...

1. The current proposed theory consists of a cable made of carbon nanotubes. This would be 100 times stronger than steel, and it would also conduct electricity with almost no resistance. If you deploy a large solar collector at the far end of the elevator (in an orbit where the sun "shines" all the time), you could use the generated power back on Earth to light a city.

2. The major cost of launching and maintaining satellites (or any other space effort) is overcoming the Earth's gravity well...with a Space Elevator, this cost is reduced to almost nothing. That would allow the launching of vastly more satellites (it brings the cost down to the $100s of thousands instead of $100s of millions). Satellites allow us to explore for more resources, predict weather better, increase security, predict natural disasters, reduce communications cost, etc...

3. There are more natural resources in the Asteroid Belt than there are here on Earth. Eliminating the barrier of Earth's gravity well makes mining that belt for resources much more economical.

4. As the population grows, the viable living areas on Earth cannot (without harming the whole planet). Colonization of other planets will be a VERY long process, but one that is absolutely necessary over the long haul (unless we start killing each other on a Grand Scale). Unless we begin that process soon, our future generations may find that we have left it too late.

sad day for dailytech
By jmunjr on 9/5/2006 12:11:35 AM , Rating: 4
Wow, I read most of the posts here and I am just amazed how clueless people really are. Ok, I know there are lots of idiots in the world but I would like to think most of them aren't online too much(cause they are clueless) and those that are certainly would not be reading a technology blog. Well, guess what, this particular blog demonstrates how utterly moronic a LOT of people are. And for you moronic folks, to clarify I am saying the space elevator idea is a logical and prudent one. Some of the things stated here are outright scary. Reminds me of my days as a teacher assistant grading papers for remedial science classes.

RE: sad day for dailytech
By lemonadesoda on 9/5/2006 3:57:04 AM , Rating: 2
... I didn't know that teachers find assistants from their classes. Did you enjoy the job?

RE: sad day for dailytech
By saratoga on 9/5/2006 6:11:51 PM , Rating: 1
... I didn't know that teachers find assistants from their classes.

He didn't say they did?

Are you even reading or just posting whatever BS pops into your head? Pretty much everything you've posted here has been either factually incorrect, a complete misunderstanding of the quoted text, or in some cases, both.

Seriously, clean up your posting style. You come off like a 13 year old with too much free time.

RE: sad day for dailytech
By lemonadesoda on 9/6/2006 4:31:03 AM , Rating: 3
... try "reading between the lines". Probably escaped you.
factually incorrect

Please quote me on incorrect facts. You will spend a long time looking.
You come off like a 13 year old with too much free time.
Sounds like pot calling kettle black! LOL.

Now where have I read about this before....
By kilkennycat on 9/5/06, Rating: 0
RE: Now where have I read about this before....
By jmunjr on 9/5/2006 2:01:15 AM , Rating: 2
just what we need. More healthy people on the planet. Space exploration now is necessary to ensure a plentiful food supply for the BILLIONS and BILLIONS that will inhabit the earth in the not too distant future.

Doesn't that bible talk about people going out and having babies as much as possible too? That was a brilliant idea 3000 years ago, but not so today. If it is true, then space exploration is even more important to find/create places for these people to inhabit as well as to find/create new sources for food.

As much as I hate to say it, restrictions on reproduction in this world need to be imposed now. As bad as China is many areas they got that part right. Problem is liberty advocates won't allow it(and I am one of those people).

What this has to do with space elevators isn't too clear, but one thing is for sure, if these elevators can be built it will change the face of space exploration in much the same way the printing press or the Internet has changed the world.

RE: Now where have I read about this before....
By Viditor on 9/5/2006 5:32:53 AM , Rating: 2
So you are saying that we will all have our own space elevator to get a bit of fresh air and our breakfasts in the morning?

So you are saying that the Internet and Printing Press can get you fresh air and milk? The term non-sequitur comes to mind...
Armstrong walking on the Moon has had numerous benefits, but they pale to the direct benefits we could see from a Space Elevator...
1. A possible new renewable energy source
2. A vastly more affordable satellite program (that alone could save millions of lives)
3. Access to exponentially more raw materials
4. Access to real estate for expansion
5. Most importantly...HOPE, and a direction for adventure that doesn't involve killing each other.

I don't know if you were alive for Kennedy's speech, but when he made it, most of the world thought he was crazy and that we could never accomplish the goal in our lifetimes.
However as NASA evolved and Apollo came to fruition, I have never (either before or since) witnessed the people of all countries so optimistic about the future. It was a project that truly captivated the entire planet (even those in Russia). How many things can you think of that can or could do this?
Is hope and expansion important?
After watching the suicide and homicide rate increase as much as it has these last few years, I can't think of anything MORE important...and this is a hope that transcends religious boundaries. It's hope and faith in mankind itself.

By lemonadesoda on 9/5/2006 7:55:11 PM , Rating: 2
1./ ??? No renewable energy sources from the Elevator... just a simpler system of shipping supplies compared to the space shuttle or rocket deployment systems

2./ ??? Why does cheaper satellite system save millions of lives (a direct link, not some tenuous connection)

3./ ??? There aren't any RAW materials in geostationary orbit

4./ ??? You are definitely smoking something. There's plenty of real estate in the deserts and oceans that is WAY cheaper and WAY more environmentally friendly to populate

5./ ??? A doctor can prescribe pills for the "HOPE" you need

For your last paragraph of nonesense, try some classical music. I promise you, it will help.

By JonB on 9/5/2006 5:39:32 PM , Rating: 2
Population pressure - you make it sound like a bad thing. It is population pressure that drives exploration, causes wars, pushes scientific advances to fight better wars, grow more crops, etc...

If we don't have population pressure, we'll become Lotus Eaters, worth nothing, doing nothing. Keep the people coming! Push us into space.

By Ringold on 9/4/2006 4:16:07 PM , Rating: 1
400k for a few companies to play around? This is just a positive press release to make NASA sound like it cares about contractors beyond The Usual Suspects, as it accomplishes nothing.

Apollo benefited the larger economy in huge ways because it forced the pioneering of new technology. For christ sake, the Ares V, Ares I, and Orion are all kit-bashes of garbage we've generally already had. If NASA were at all serious, it'd be pushing this, not Orion, or would've stuck to any one of its previous projects like the Venture Star.

We'll all just get embarrased by the Russians again I figure. Soyuz has outlived Apollo. Buran was better in almost every way than the Space Shuttle. All Russia lacks is money, and oddly, they're more capitalist in their space program than NASA is :P

RE: Empty
By djcameron on 9/4/2006 6:20:36 PM , Rating: 3
Soyuz and Apollo had different missions, that's why Soyuz is still around. Also, Buran was a knock off of the US Space Shuttle. I'd hardly say it was better.

RE: Empty
By Ringold on 9/5/2006 6:15:44 PM , Rating: 1
Both their missions was really to get to the moon; and commercially, it's about to do that finally. Not land, but at least orbit.

And Buran might've been a knock off, but AMD is a knock off of Intel, but that's never been a problem, eh? It had (thanks to its Energia launch system) significantly better cargo capacity, an ejection system for two cosmonauts (which admittedly wouldn't of helped Columbia, but would've saved two from Challenger anyway). Speaking of Columbia, Russian engineers saw that the RCC panels that failed Columbia were inferior to whatever configuration they used, so thats two key improvements right there. Better flight characterists; better coefficient of drag. Probably inferior electronics, computers, some such technical things, but getting the job done matters quite a bit more than fancy (and high maintenance) electronics.

Thats mostly all thanks to the Energia launch system though. That thing was absolutely beautiful. It's only failure truly was what plagues Russia all the time; lack of money. Remember too our current artificially created diamonds use methods that were pioneered by soviets, abandoned for lack of money, then bought by an American in Jacksonville, refined by a local university (USF or UF I think), then marketed here. A seperate method arose up north at the same time, but still. Buran's history is really an interesting but never told story.

RE: Empty
By bdunbar on 9/5/2006 12:00:16 AM , Rating: 2
Well yes and maybe no. The centennial challenge is the umbrella under which this event is being held, second year in a row. It's about giving an incentive for private sources to come up with something better than NASA could do in-house.

It's a piddly amount, granted, but then that's our collective fault for not pushing Congress to push NASA to fund the program.

Space exploration
By lamestlamer on 9/4/2006 3:19:37 PM , Rating: 3
This isn't really about space exploration: little robots and telescopes are responsible for that.

A space elevator is damn near required to build an off planet colony, which will greatly increase humanity's survival odds. By learning how to live in the harshest environments, we will definitely create non-oil based economies and environmentally stable practices that can be translated back to earth.

RE: Space exploration
By lemonadesoda on 9/5/2006 3:44:30 AM , Rating: 1
It will not greatly increase humanity's survival odds. The greatest probability of failure is through what we are doing (or failing to do) on planet earth.

In terms of probability, the additional "odds" by your agrument are in the 1/100000000ths of a percent.

For the general good of the universe, it is probably a good idea to limit the scope of human damage to one planet. We can hope the "probability" will lead eventually, in another eon, to perhaps more eco-friendly little green men to evolve somewhere else in the universe.

If you want to learn how to live in "the harshest environments" so that "we will definitely create non-oil based economies and environmentally stable practices that can be translated back to earth" there are easier and cheaper experiments: Go buy a tent and live in the desert, or the polar ice cap for a year. Then come back to the oil-based-civilisation and report back!

RE: Space exploration
By rykerabel on 9/5/2006 4:27:27 PM , Rating: 2
Been there, done that, not difficult and quite enjoyable... but it didn't save the planet either.

More about elevators
By peternelson on 9/4/2006 4:06:52 PM , Rating: 2
Much more info (including discussion of problems) here

Has been for ages.

This story isn't really news, except that NASA decided to hold an event.

RE: More about elevators
By slunkius on 9/5/2006 1:19:55 AM , Rating: 1
This story isn't really news, except that NASA decided to hold an event.

...and you get the 1st prize in category "I have known it for years". Hooray!!!

RE: More about elevators
By rushfan2006 on 9/5/2006 9:31:35 AM , Rating: 3
Granted I'm not a people person and I openly admit that with full honesty.....but here goes my comment...

I agree with you these types of folks "Blah! this isn't news" these folks have such low esteems that they actually feel validated in some strange geekish way "HAHA!! I got you know feeble Daily Tech..I was more informed than you were...NOW I WILL CONQUER THE WORLD!!!"....

C'mon folks no really gives two shits if you heard the news before or want a cookie or something?

By tigz1218 on 9/4/2006 10:19:18 PM , Rating: 1
With this day in age, I hope NASA kept that in mind. Would be an easy target for a plane to fly into. What ever happened to the long magnetic runway launch system they were going to build ?

RE: Terrorism
By jabber on 9/5/2006 5:30:13 AM , Rating: 1
"With this day in age, I hope NASA kept that in mind. Would be an easy target for a plane to fly into. What ever happened to the long magnetic runway launch system they were going to build ?"

With that attitude why dont we just all stay at home, lock our doors and hide under the bed? That way we can let the human race die out from fear and indifference.

Forget 'Terrorists' they are nothing. If something gets blown up, so what? Get up and rebuild it again. Don't just give up and not bother because of what might have a slim chance of happening.

Dont let folks stop you thinking outside of the box. I find this a worrying trend.

RE: Terrorism
By rykerabel on 9/5/2006 4:43:40 PM , Rating: 2
Then never ever attend your childrens elementary school class. All they teach kids now is how to be victims, how to let other people think for them, and that everyone gets rewarded no matter who actually did the real work.

Its a horrible thing to witness but easy if you just go look for yourself. They don't try to hide it since they firmly believe what they are teaching. "No child left behind" = "No reward for achievement and no punishment for sloth"

RE: Terrorism
By Ringold on 9/5/2006 7:08:40 PM , Rating: 2
Entirely true, guys.

Terrorists win the day we listen to fear-struck cowering yellowbelly's that curl up in a ball any time the going gets tough. Rebuild, bigger, taller, better than before. That's how I look at in when hurricanes knock things around; just a (forced) opportunity to upgrade, rebuild things better than before, with modern equipment, methods and standards.

Besides, it's been pointed out in other news posts how difficult it conceivably would be to really hit one of these. Given that it would be on an island along the equator, it'd be extremely easy to isolate, both from on the surface and in the air.

Space elevators - A good idea but...
By Senju on 9/5/2006 12:35:54 AM , Rating: 2
It may take time and money but human beings will deliver such extreme engineering projects like space elevator. However, the article was too brief on the techncial aspects so that cause lots of debate on how it could be made. I am sure there are a lot of issues to overcome so we might as well start now....however I think it will take a couple of decades (not years) for space elevators to be used by humans.

Issue at hand
1.Well, this can be yet another space race - if US can do it so will other countries so their probably be several space elevators building. Every country will want their own space elevator.

2. Weather - the elevator structure will need to protect the inter-structure ...the tunnel passage for the elevator. Winds, snow, ice, lightning, twisters...I dont know how an elevator could withstand a guess the space elevator would have to located in a very constant calm enivornment like middle of a desert.

3. Security - we dont want korean missles using space elevators as target pratice. I do not know how one could protect a space elevator but this issue has be solved!

4. Backup - When talking about space elevator...I would assume it would be several link together in a bigger structure. Maybe like even 20 in a bigger tunnel and plateforms for maintance every 2000 meters. - Can you imagine getting stuck half way up?

5. Cargo vs people elevators - Creating cargo space elevators is a good idea but people elevators to space it completely different issue and would take more time to solve. Pressure system and of course a city in space to connect to. thoughts...

RE: Space elevators - A good idea but...
By Viditor on 9/5/2006 1:23:17 AM , Rating: 2
1.Well, this can be yet another space race - if US can do it so will other countries so their probably be several space elevators building. Every country will want their own space elevator

I would think so...and I think that's a good thing!
2. Weather - the elevator structure will need to protect the inter-structure ...the tunnel passage for the elevator. Winds, snow, ice, lightning, twisters...I dont know how an elevator could withstand a twister

It's not a tube, it's a cable with a sealed platform that travels up and down the cable. The current thinking is to use several strands of carbon nanotubes (molecular in size) strung together. The comparison to steal is about 100 to 1 in strength, so there doesn't need to be much surface area on the strands.
2. Weather - the elevator structure will need to protect the inter-structure ...the tunnel passage for the elevator. Winds, snow, ice, lightning, twisters...I dont know how an elevator could withstand a twister

Security - we dont want korean missles using space elevators as target pratice. I do not know how one could protect a space elevator but this issue has be solved

Funny you should say that...
Of course there's the doctrine of MAD to fall back on as well...

I think your next 2 points are based on the misconcept of a "tube" into space...

By Ringold on 9/5/2006 7:28:21 PM , Rating: 2
Allow me to interject a little new-world capitalism here:

If LiftPort makes this themselves, this is NOT necessarily a 'United States' space elevator. LiftPort exists, like all companies, to generate profit. It'd belong to the US no more than it would any other customer.

If they strike some kind of bargain, ie, the US government provides security and in return gets a discount or some degree of priority, that is one thing. But beyond that, it 'belongs' to LiftPort, and profit motive says it 'belongs' to whoever comes first with the fattest wallet.

Beanstalk :)
By Kellendel on 9/5/2006 7:24:02 PM , Rating: 2
The concept has been for a space elevator (lets call it a beanstalk, much better for news articles) has been around for quite some time and it will probably take longer to even start a project for one. A few comments have mentioned about ferrying parts into space; probably better to make it in space and lower it (I wonder if any goverments would agree to that). Also they would need to nick an asteroid as well as a counter balance. It is a great concept and it is plausible but not practical yet.

RE: Beanstalk :)
By Ringold on 9/5/2006 7:36:00 PM , Rating: 2
Beanstalk! Finally, someone at a newspaper will see your post, think "Great idea! We can finally explain this in 3rd grade terms so the masses will understand it!" and it'll be in tomorrows newspapers.

RE: Beanstalk :)
By bdunbar on 9/8/2006 8:37:22 AM , Rating: 2
We don't need to capture an asteroid - that's the old-school "can't build for another 300 years" desiign.

Don't use an asteroid - extend the tail of the elevator far past GEO for a total length of 100,000 kms. The length _is_ the counterweight.

Plus if you ride out to the end and let go you're flung out of cis-lunar space - a finger to other planets.

Consider that if we can afford a mission to get an asteroid we've (somehow) already solved the pesky 'cheap access to space' problem the elevator is going to eliminate.

Sounds familiar
By BLOfelt22 on 9/4/2006 10:41:32 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds an awful lot like the biblical tower of babel story with man wanting to build a tower to reach the heavens and all. I know it isn't and actual tower but the principal idea is essentially the same. Remains to be seen if they can actualy pull it off. If they do, it would more likely be done with international cooperation than with splintered devlopments and attempts.

For the record I am not a bible thumper, I just fing the similarities interesting.

RE: Sounds familiar
By BLOfelt22 on 9/4/2006 10:44:23 PM , Rating: 2

"I just fing the similarities interesting." should be
I just find the similarities interesting.

Space Lift
By soopa on 9/5/2006 6:06:07 AM , Rating: 2
What happens if lightning hits it. 20 billion of cabon dust??

RE: Space Lift
By Viditor on 9/5/2006 7:03:56 AM , Rating: 2
What happens if lightning hits it

As carbon nanotubes are almost perfect conductors, not much...
The reason things heat up when a current flows through them is resistance. No resistance, no heat.

Secret project completed...
By Micah on 9/5/2006 10:07:35 AM , Rating: 2
I built a space elevator in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri (SMAC). The biggest benefit is the ability to hot-drop orbital shock-troops with nerve gas weapons anywhere in the globe within a single turn. Say goodbye to the enemy capital city. Casualties are pretty high, but such is life for a Space Marine.

By SilthDraeth on 9/5/2006 11:51:35 AM , Rating: 2
Best post yet.

Propulsion tech more likely...
By vortmax on 9/5/2006 10:34:57 AM , Rating: 2
The space elevator is a neat concept, but based on what it would take to bring to fruition, it's 30-50 years out.

Now new propulsion technologies seem like a much more prudent way to spend research time and money. There's got to be some kind of propulsion (laser, nuclear, etc.) that will overcome the thrust-to-weight ratio.

Another idea (that is similar to the space elevator concept) is to have a propulsion device at the counterweight location that pulls the payload up from Earths surface. Wonder how that would work???

By splines on 9/5/2006 11:55:53 PM , Rating: 2
That's the skyhook concept, right?

Great idea, but I was reading that unless it was tethered to the ground (and thus a space elevator), it'd be spinning around the globe at supersonic speeds.

Feel free to correct me on that if I'm wrong though.

By Murst on 9/5/2006 1:24:51 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder how much a 80k km cable, strong enough to lift a 500kg satellite, would weigh. Or how much space it would take up..

I doubt any form of transport we have currently would be strong enough to lift it in even 1000 pieces. Not to mention the problem of actually creating connectors which can withstand the weight of what's below.

The project would dwarf the ISS in size.

RE: weight
By bdunbar on 9/5/2006 5:15:43 PM , Rating: 2
If you would read the source doc I posted the link to above - Dr. Edwards NIAC paper - you would discover the estimate is 4-6 trips by Shuttle. More, of course, for a Delta IV rocket since Shuttle is all but out of business.

By bribud on 9/4/2006 7:28:35 PM , Rating: 1
Doesn't sound like a good idea to me. It sounds sort of like trying to build and provide up-keep for a bridge spanning all the way across the Pacific ocean from west coast US to Japan.

RE: Pessimistic
By Fnoob on 9/5/2006 6:14:56 PM , Rating: 2
It's nowhere near that far. Your talking thousands of miles. Space is less than 100m, straight up. The space elevator is far more realistic than a bridge to Japan...

Carbon Fiber Nanotubes
By Fnoob on 9/5/2006 6:24:30 PM , Rating: 2
These little bastards rule. The specs are insane - 1000x the strength of steel and extreme light weight. Once these are cost effectively integrated into various manufacturing lines, amazing things will become possible...

Snakes and Ladders
By lemonadesoda on 9/5/2006 7:59:15 PM , Rating: 2

This elevator thing sounds GREAT!

But has any thought about all the little green men that will come SLIDING DOWN it? They won't need flying saucers anymore! Whoaaa!


By Rob94hawk on 9/6/2006 2:57:17 AM , Rating: 2
Sounds like something out of Popular Science magazine. You know, another great idea that'll never go into production. Just magazine filler.

I remeber years ago NASA did an experiment trying to conduct electricity by dragging a cable through the ionosphere. It worked but then the cable snapped. Same thing will happen here. I'm sure it'll be strong but fatigue of any stressed object always wins. It's just a matter of how many trips you get before "SNAP!!!"

By Misty Dingos on 9/6/2006 11:57:52 AM , Rating: 2

Lets make a deal. You folks who are afraid of the future get to stay here. On the planet. Without the benefit of space elevators and satelitte TV and the internet and world wide communications. The rest of us will enjoy all that technology has to offer. We will learn to cope with the hazards and reap a future that you can not imagine. One with out widespread hunger and poverty. True we will look 'proud' wearing clothes with buttons.

If I have just offended any Amish people I am sorry. But then again what are you doing on the internet!

Don't need
By Lastfreethinker on 9/4/06, Rating: 0
RE: Don't need
By Ringold on 9/4/2006 4:56:56 PM , Rating: 1
It probably wouldn't cost significantly more than this silly Ares V/Ares I/Orion project, but could throw a lot more in to LEO than 6 astronauts, and be 100% reusable. Orion will die the day Congress gets cranky with no large reusable craft like the Shuttle making it just as economical to keep going ($60m marginal cost for each additional launch).

Besides, they just SOUND dangerous. Get shot at mind-numbing speeds out the side of a mountain, or a nice leisurely ride up a cable? :P Being a pilot, and being comfortable with the ballistic whole-plane parachutes and maneuvering at altitude, rideing anything slowly to space seems comfortable.. and HAS to be safer that sitting atop a skyscraper full of volatile fuel or being flung with magnetic fields or whatnot at, again, mind-numbing speeds towards the sky. High speed mechanical screw-ups are fatal, low speed ones are just annoyances. Heck, enjoy a few seconds (or minutes) of free-fall before deploying the parachutes if nothing else.

Something tells me a space elevator would be more energy & resource efficient then any kind of rocket, but much too lazy to prove that :)

By INeedCache on 9/5/2006 2:44:02 AM , Rating: 1
I can hardly control myself over this stupendous idea from NASA. Maybe they can have a pure oxygen environment in this elevator, and make it a fireball to the stars. Somehow I don't think NASA is one to pull this off.

By ascian5 on 9/4/06, Rating: -1
RE: Eh...
By Ringold on 9/4/2006 4:43:49 PM , Rating: 3
I guess you missed the whole thing with extreme physics, finally nailing down some rough properties of dark matter, scores of extrasolar planets, the existance of some systems whose configuration (with a large gas giant far enough away from the parent star) may allow for a habitable planet, understanding in finer detail the birth of the universe and many of its current properties, peering deep in to space almost to the point of the cosmic light horizon, etc, all of that.

But I guess knowing whats above our atmosphere isn't tangible? :P

I think little green men orbiting a star with ten or 15 solar masses would laugh at "intangible". Especially if it imploded close to our own and the gamma rays soaked us real nice. (Not that im sure theres a large one even close enough for that)

RE: Eh...
By bdunbar on 9/4/2006 11:57:22 PM , Rating: 2
The most scientists bit is misleading, perhaps. I'd love to know where they got that factoid from.

It's not about space exploration or science advancement, except as how cheap access to space will enable those activities (and of course wealth generation will allow more funds to be devoted to science).

It's all about enabling space commerce and generating wealth.

RE: Eh...
By lemonadesoda on 9/5/2006 3:37:10 AM , Rating: 2
and of course wealth generation will allow more funds to be devoted to science
INCORRECT! A political environment that directs greater taxation to science provides this environment.

Wealth generation allows the ruling government to tax more, or tax the same but with less complaint from the voting/taxed population.

RE: Eh...
By bdunbar on 9/5/2006 9:20:00 AM , Rating: 2
INCORRECT! A political environment that directs greater taxation to science provides this environment.

We're both right. I did ignore the political side - it was a quick reply not a dissertion.

* There has to be something there to tax - the greater wealth that society has the richer the tax base.

* The government is not the only entitiy that can do research. Example see Bell Labs. Not a perfect example as they were founded as a result of Bell's government mandated monopoly but there are other private industry labs.

By headbox on 9/4/06, Rating: -1
By beepandbop on 9/4/06, Rating: -1
By saratoga on 9/4/2006 7:29:51 PM , Rating: 2
How would you build it and provide oxygen for guys in the atmosphere?

You don't. People wouldn't be on it, the trip would probably take weeks. Think of it as a pipeline that carries fuel and compressed air into space.

This sounds like it won't be realistic at all. The elevator would have to be built on mount everest if they really wanted to save resources.

You really should think this through. Everest is less then 9km high. This eleveator would more then 78000 kilometers long. Saving 9km makes no difference. You'd probably want to put it out in the middle of the ocean anyway where there is relatively little weather, no people, and less seasonal change.

And just the idea is...stupid.

You don't even understand it, but feel the need to express an uninformed opinion anyway? Perhaps this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black?

By lemonadesoda on 9/5/2006 3:50:05 AM , Rating: 2
pot calling the kettle black
Please don't misuse metaphors. If you aren't 100% sure how to use a metaphor, don't use it! It just advertises that you aren't a native english speaker, which doesn't help your argument!

By Helbore on 9/5/2006 9:34:49 AM , Rating: 2
Hehe. His metaphor actually makes perfect sense. Just think about what he's trying to say. (hint: the message he quotes says the idea of a space elevator is stupid)

By saratoga on 9/5/2006 6:03:43 PM , Rating: 2
Please don't misuse metaphors. If you aren't 100% sure how to use a metaphor, don't use it!

You might want to look up that metaphor (first link on google):

"You are the pot calling the kettle black when you point to another person and accuse that person of doing something that you are guilty of doing yourself."

So essentially, I'm saying that you're stupid, and thus hypocriticla. Unfortunately, it seems my diction was slightly over your head, so I'll try again in language you might understand:

ur dumb.

Was that better?

It just advertises that you aren't a native english speaker, which doesn't help your argument!

Woah. Way to randomly bash the majority of the world who doesn't speak english. They sure r dum rite?

By lemonadesoda on 9/5/2006 7:47:43 PM , Rating: 2
Fool twice.

He refers to a concept or an idea, and not to a person.

You completely misused the metaphor. (FACT)

Many people do. This particular metaphor is most often misused in South East Asia.

I'm sorry for you that you can't accept a correction, and that you start throwing around insults.

Someone who rejects information because it doesn't fit with their preconceptions, and gets "antsy" about it, has scientifically been proven to have, on average, an IQ which is significantly less than 100. (FACT)

By Helbore on 9/6/2006 8:54:54 AM , Rating: 2
Its funny how a metaphor that alludes to common household objects can only be applied to people!

Anyway, think about it a bit more. An idea doesn't exist on its own. An idea is not a "thing" in itself, but a proposition by another human being. If the idea is stupid, then the author of said idea is stupid. To criticise an idea, you are criticising the originator of that idea. Therefore, even by your own reasoning, this metaphor can be applied perfectly.

What was that fact about people with an IQ of less than 100 again?

By lemonadesoda on 9/6/2006 6:04:42 PM , Rating: 3
Well if its your cup of tea to call the kettle black then it's your Achilles heel to bare

By PrinceGaz on 9/4/2006 8:32:48 PM , Rating: 2
Might I suggest you read some sci-fi novels by the likes of Arthur C. Clarke and Kim Stanley Robinson who provide a good insight into the likely problems and solutions of space-elevators as they have a scientific background and a space-elevator was a major part of one or more of their novels.

After reading them, and other more scientific material, you will realise a space-elevator is the most viable long-term solution to launching material into orbit.

By bdunbar on 9/5/2006 12:06:15 AM , Rating: 2
Or you could read the Dr. Brad Edwards NIAC paper from 2002. Dated in some respects but still a good starting point.

We host a copy at Liftport -

"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home
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