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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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Don't need
By Lastfreethinker on 9/4/2006 4:27:03 PM , Rating: 0
A space elevator is not required. Granted it would be a boom to have but it is far too expensive at this moment in time. Plus the technologies are not there to even create one yet. Not to mention by their logic we would have to have a space elevator to make a space elevator. Why? Because it would require so much material that we would have to mine asteroids to get the mats.

A single stage to orbit Heavy Lifter, Mass Driver, or space gun are far more practical, not to mention cheaper, and easier to build. As a plus since they are all relatively easy to make and produce you should many operating at the same time, you also wouldn't have to use one exclusively. You have have all three in operation. Use the Heavy Lifters for People and supplies that would be damaged if shot out of a cannon or rail gun. Use the Mass Driver for very heavy materials. The mass driver can also be used to ship things around the world. The space gun can me used for the most basic of materials like metals and alloys.




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 :)


"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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