No winner in 'space elevator' competition

October 24, 2005

It sounds like science fiction, but a competition was held during the weekend for the design of a "space elevator."
A three-day competition at NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., ended Sunday, but with no winner.

Competitors tried to design a "space elevator"' -- a platform rising above the Earth's atmosphere along a super-strong ribbon of carbon nanotubes. The elevator would carry cargo into space at a much lower price than do rockets today.

The seven "robot climbers'' entered in the competition didn't ascend more than a few dozen feet up a tether attached to a giant crane, the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News reported, therefore none performed well enough to win the $50,000 grand prize.

But the Mercury News noted the competitors broke a barrier of sorts by proving the idea is not just science-fiction fantasy.

Two teams developed space elevators that were able to rise along the tether using power converted from spotlights.

"It was amazing to watch these silent machines gliding on light,'' said Marc Schwager of the Spaceward Foundation, which organized the competition. "Two college teams came in and showed industry how to build a space elevator."

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: NASA drops Boeing from race for $3.5 billion cargo contract

Related Stories

Facebook gives sneak peek into sci-fi future

November 17, 2015

Mike Schroepfer is sitting in a conference room inside Facebook's Frank Gehry-designed headquarters. His ultra-modern surroundings—22-foot ceilings, raw steel beams, polished concrete pathways that flow through acres of ...

China launches new type of carrier rocket: state media

September 19, 2015

China on Sunday launched a new, smaller type of rocket from its "Long March" family which will be primarily used for carrying satellites aloft, state media reported, as the country races ahead with an ambitious space programme.

Recommended for you


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.