Space Elevator Contest Enters Last Day

space elevator

Artist's concept of a space elevator viewed from the geostationary transfer station looking down at Earth. Image credit: NASA/MSFC/Pat Rawling

Popularized by Arthur C. Clarke, space elevators have long been a staple of science fiction, but a three-day competition in California’s Mojave Desert is focused on bringing the space elevator into science fact.  Three teams are in the running for a total of $2 million in prizes in this NASA-sponsored contest:   LaserMotive, The Kansas City Space Pirates and The University of Saskatchewan Space Design Team.  On the first day of competition, LaserMotive’s laser-powered robot qualified for the 2nd place prize of $900,000 by successfully climbing up 1 kilometer of cable at an average rate of just over 2 meters per second.  The first prize of $1.1 million is still up for grabs.  To qualify for first place, the entry must climb the kilometer at an average rate of 5 meters per second.  For more on the competition, check out the website for the 2009 Space Elevator Games.

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