This is the quick answer book for the Space Elevator, largely independent of the specifics of the Elevator:2010 competition. These questions were compiled from questions we get at lectures, those we get by email, and questions science reporters always come up with. We do try to answer all of them - if you have a question that you think is not answered by the FAQ - please let us know!
Space Elevator 101
The questions that start most every SE conversation, ranging from the "hows" to the "what ifs", and everything in between.
In 50 words or less - what is the Space Elevator?
The Space Elevator is a safe and low-cost Earth-to-Space transportation system that does not use rocket propulsion. It is a physical stationary tether between the ground and an object in space, and a set of vehicles that can travel to space and back, moving on the tether using electric motors.