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April 25th, 2005
NASA offers prize for 'space elevator'
Meekk Shelef, a computer whiz, is worried: "We have to overcome the giggle factor," she sighs. Ben Shelef, a mechanical engineer, is worried, too, afraid that skeptics just don't understand the vision behind their endeavor:
They see the day when vehicles carrying cargo and humans will climb 62, 000 miles high into space on a ribbon of carbon thinner than paper, powered by beams of pure light aimed ever upward from Earth.
Fantastic? NASA has $400,000 in prize money riding on a competition to stimulate the innovative concept -- no matter how weird it may seem -- for sending people, spacecraft and robots directly out to Mars and the other planets of the solar system.
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