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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: 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.

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