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Kickstarter of the week: Space Elevator Science

Former NASA contractor Michael Laine wants to build an elevator into space.

Former NASA contractor Michael Laine wants to build an elevator into space.

It's a lofty goal (ho ho) and, to be honest, one that's a long way off, with a lot of research, building and experimentation between now and then. And that's why Laine, CEO of LiftPort, needs help.

At this stage, the Kickstarter project is not promising the elevator. LiftPort has been researching it since 2001 — first as part of NASA's study (PDF), then independently, before falling to the GFC in 2007.

After all this research, LiftPort has determined that a lunar space elevator is a an attainable goal and is seeking resources for further experimentation.

According to the Kickstarter page, the US$8000 will go towards:

  • Building a robot that can climb 2 kilometres straight up

  • Building a test platform of high-altitude balloons &mdash tethered to the ground

  • The robot will climb the test platform — and set a world record

  • Letting the world know that LiftPort didn't quit, give up or fail. It just had to "pause" for a while.

  • Rebuilding a connection with the global community of supporters

  • Raising a little money to cover the cost of this specific experiment.

The stretch goals will add to the experiment, culminating in a US$3,000,000 feasibility study for the lunar elevator — the campaign has already raised over US$60,000, which means that the platform will be raised higher, and a better robot will be built, as well as a live video feed with a camera that can be controlled via the web.

There are also lots of low-level rewards in order to entice people in, so even if you pay as little as three bucks, you get something for your troubles.

Obviously, we can't say how far away a real and operational space elevator actually is, but we love the idea. Visit the Kickstarter page to learn more, and check it out in the video below.