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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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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 :)

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