Tuesday, 16 Oct, 2007 Current Events

NASA Starts 2007 Competition to Build Space Elevator


The Spaceward Foundation launched a 2007 Beam Power Challenge competition where the teams could compete to build a Space Elevator. The NASA project is aimed at stimulating "innovation and competition in space exploration and ongoing NASA mission areas".

The final competition event will take part at October 21 at the Davis County Event Center just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah, where teams from US, Canada, Spain, Japan and other countries will be competing to win half a million NASA prize.

The teams that will participate in competition to build space elevator will face a challenge to design and construct the robot that can climb a tether ribbon suspended from a crane or scaffolding apparatus while carrying a payload. Teams will power their machines with a beam of light from a transmitter, and the receiver on the climber will turn light into electricity to power the motors.

The team that will manage to make their robot climb at more than two meters per second speed will practically win the competition. Last year the team from the University of Saskatchewan team was reported to be the fastest to climb their robot but the speed of their robot was only an inch and a half per second.

Though the idea to build a space elevator was introduced several decades ago by fiction writers and scientists, no one managed to build one yet. Experts at Beam Power Challenge hope to find a key at least to an answer of getting the power to the space elevator.

If the invention of space elevator becomes a reality, the cost of sending payloads into space will be considerably reduced in hundred times, revolutionizing space technology.

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