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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 9/4/2006 4:42:18 PM , Rating: 0
The moon rotates around the Earth, Mars and Earth rotate at diferent speeds, there is no location on Earth were we could put an elevator to a spicific place. Unless we make some sort of complex stop station to whitch you get with a plane like shuttle this is out of, not only our technological limits but also our planets limits and the way our solar system works.

If anyone has an answer to this and I am just an idiot then tell me, because I thought NASA were smarter than to think things like this

- Niv K Aharonovich

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.

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