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View Full Version : Discussion: First Centennial Prizes Announced



Fraser
2005-Mar-24, 05:17 PM
SUMMARY: NASA announced on Wednesday their first Centennial Prizes, which will reward the development of new technologies for space exploration. The first is the Tether Challenge, where various teams will compete to see who can built the strongest cable material. In the Beam Challenge, teams will build power transmitters that send energy wirelessly to a robot climber - the winner's robot will lift the most weight to the top of a 50-metre cable. The winner of each prize will be awarded $50,000. Follow on challenges are planned for next year, and will award even higher prizes.

View full article (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/first_centennial_prizes.html)

What do you think about this story? Post your comments below.

antoniseb
2005-Mar-24, 05:53 PM
The first prizes seem to be about the space elevator, and related technologies. I wish I had the personal motivation and freedom to go after one of these. This is very cool.

LLoydd
2005-Mar-25, 02:00 AM
With this NASA will cultivate great enthusiasm, and there will be an explsion of innovative action. The genius of America will flow.

John L
2005-Mar-25, 02:26 PM
The first one, IMO, may also be about a space tether for orbital transfer. Besides the elevator they can use a long spinning tether to throw payloads and craft from one orbit to another, including interplanetary. Its the same principle as riding to the end of the space elevator and letting go, but you don't need the whole elevator. With the second one for beamed power, though, I have to agree that this definitely has space elevator written all over it. If we can just overcome these two issues we can put one up in a decade.

antoniseb
2005-Mar-25, 04:34 PM
Originally posted by John L@Mar 25 2005, 02:26 PM
If we can just overcome these two issues we can put one up in a decade.
I think that it will take development of the nanotechnology of being able to create and weave VERY long carbon nanotubes. I'm thinking this is still thirty years out. After that, we can put one up in a decade.

Mild mannered
2005-Mar-25, 04:44 PM
I agree - very cool

Maybe Private enterprize will get interested like they have with the X prize and kickstart the next wave of technology advances

John L
2005-Mar-25, 07:07 PM
Originally posted by antoniseb+Mar 25 2005, 10:34 AM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (antoniseb @ Mar 25 2005, 10:34 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-John L@Mar 25 2005, 02:26 PM
If we can just overcome these two issues we can put one up in a decade.
I think that it will take development of the nanotechnology of being able to create and weave VERY long carbon nanotubes. I&#39;m thinking this is still thirty years out. After that, we can put one up in a decade. [/b][/quote]
The longest carbon nanotube created in quantity was 30 centimeters long&#33; That&#39;s long enough to weave, although they have a little work to do on the quality of the nanotubes first. According to the research I&#39;ve read they can work with nanotubes of about 1cm long to make a space elevator ribbon.

antoniseb
2005-Mar-25, 10:45 PM
Originally posted by John L@Mar 25 2005, 07:07 PM
they have a little work to do on the quality of the nanotubes
Also quantity and economy.

I expect that there will eventually be nanomachines capable of making very controlled nanotubes of any length you care to spool up. We are a long way from being there.

John L
2005-Mar-25, 10:56 PM
Originally posted by antoniseb@Mar 25 2005, 04:45 PM
We are a long way from being there.
I disagree completely. Five years tops and we&#39;ll have them. There are too many teams working on this and they&#39;ve made huge progress in the last 5 years.

j0seph
2005-Mar-26, 05:58 AM
I somewhat agree that it will not be long until we are finally able to achieve this, but not within 5 years... but who knows

filrabat
2005-Mar-26, 06:12 AM
In the Beam Challenge, teams will build power transmitters that send energy wirelessly to a robot climber - the winner&#39;s robot will lift the most weight to the top of a 50-metre cable

I can also see how this can be relevant to planetary exploration, particularly operating at nighttime if you have that transmitter powered up by a battery (more advanced than any we have now), you can see how having this robot would come in handy when we humans get ready to set foot on Mars, or even the Moon. It could also be useful in exploring below the surface of Europa.