Space Elevators

In news@nature:


Hold the doors please: teams are scrambling in Utah this weekend to prove that their technologies are the best if you want to get to space in an elevator. The 2007 Space Elevator Games will take place at the Davis County Event Center, after a week of frenetic preparations and qualifying rounds hampered by rain and high winds.

The idea of a space elevator is to allow cheap and easy transport of supplies and people to and from a station (or space hotel) in orbit around Earth. The idea has been around for decades, but the technologies needed to support it have yet to be created.

To promote development, the California-based non-profit Spaceward Foundation has hosted an annual competition since 2005, supported by a cash prize from NASA. Competing teams don’t have to build an actual elevator, but instead aim to build a super-strong tether (similar to what would be needed to support a real elevator), or get a robot to climb a suspended ribbon.