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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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Beanstalk :)
By Kellendel on 9/5/2006 7:24:02 PM , Rating: 2
The concept has been for a space elevator (lets call it a beanstalk, much better for news articles) has been around for quite some time and it will probably take longer to even start a project for one. A few comments have mentioned about ferrying parts into space; probably better to make it in space and lower it (I wonder if any goverments would agree to that). Also they would need to nick an asteroid as well as a counter balance. It is a great concept and it is plausible but not practical yet.

RE: Beanstalk :)
By Ringold on 9/5/2006 7:36:00 PM , Rating: 2
Beanstalk! Finally, someone at a newspaper will see your post, think "Great idea! We can finally explain this in 3rd grade terms so the masses will understand it!" and it'll be in tomorrows newspapers.

RE: Beanstalk :)
By bdunbar on 9/8/2006 8:37:22 AM , Rating: 2
We don't need to capture an asteroid - that's the old-school "can't build for another 300 years" desiign.

Don't use an asteroid - extend the tail of the elevator far past GEO for a total length of 100,000 kms. The length _is_ the counterweight.

Plus if you ride out to the end and let go you're flung out of cis-lunar space - a finger to other planets.

Consider that if we can afford a mission to get an asteroid we've (somehow) already solved the pesky 'cheap access to space' problem the elevator is going to eliminate.

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