Feeds

NASA hands over $900K for Laser propulsion system

$1.1m still unclaimed

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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. ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.