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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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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.

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