Feeds

NASA hands over $900K for Laser propulsion system

$1.1m still unclaimed

The next step in data security

LaserMotive has scooped a $900,000 prize from NASA for demonstration of an elevator powered from a ground-based laser.

LaserMotive's climber crawled up 1km of rope held in place by helicopter, achieving an average speed of four metres per second and powered by a laser focused onto solar panels on the back of the climber. That gained the company $900,000 from the Power Beaming Challenge being run by the Spacewards Foundation for NASA.

Three teams entered the competition, with the Kansas City Space Pirates coming second having nearly gained the top of the vertical track. The Pirates were let down by their lightweight climber which lacked rigidity, but the official coverage at Space Elevator Games reports the design is sound, and could deliver more power than LaserMotive's if they can get it working.

The third team, from the University of Saskatchewan, had technical problems and didn't get to compete on the day.

No one managed the five metres per second necessary to win the remaining prize fund of $1.1m this time, but the games will continue.

All this is intended to discover whether or not a space elevator is possible: not having to carry fuel would reduce the weight of such an elevator considerably, even if batteries had to be used for part of the journey, but practical applications are still a very long way off and for the moment it's just a matter of seeing what can be done. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Bacon-related medical breakthrough wins Ig Nobel prize
Is there ANYTHING cured pork can't do?
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.