Space Elevator Contest Enters Last Day
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.