Space Elevator Competition Shows Promising Future
Every year, teams of elevator designers get together for a competition to see who has the fastest elevator. These elevators are a little unusual, however, in that they're "space elevators," basically cables that go straight up with nothing surrounding them on all sides but air. The elevators reach about 100 meters (328 feet)
This year, the Space Elevator Games were held in Farmington, Utah on Monday, October 22. The teams built elevators and raced robotic vehicles to the top. The hope is that these games will help encourage researchers to develop technology needed to build an elevator that would reach all the way into space.
For the third year in a row, a team from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada had the fastest robot climber, which climbed the elevator in a time of 54 seconds. While admirable, the time was just short of winning NASA's half-million-dollar prize for a robot that could climb an elevator at an average speed of 2 m/s.
For the first time, the University of Saskatchewan team used a laser-powered robot, while most other teams used solar-powered robots. Some teams also had microwave-powered designs, although they didn't qualify for the competition.
via: New Scientist