Sunday, October 22, 2006

Science Sunday Bonus: The Space Elevator Games

Elevator 2010's Annual Space Elevator Games:

Elevator:2010 is designed to address the "social engineering" of the Space Elevator. Taking our cue from the X-prize, solar car races, and various other competitive ventures, we use engineering competitions as a tool to capture mindshare in academia, space enthusiast community, and the general public.

In the days of airships, the advocates of planes devised a new way to promote their (obviously impractical...) inventions. It was called an "air show", and it had a dual purpose: First, these pioneers knew that they could explain airplanes all they wanted using equations and diagrams - it was not until they showed them flying that they really got their message across. Second, they recognized the power of competition - by bringing together airplane enthusiasts in a competitive environment, they were able to accelerate the rate of development beyond what was likely in the isolated confines of their shops.

Our goal is to infect the engineering and science community with our passion for building the Space Elevator, thus making them ambassadors to our cause. As the fruits of their efforts take to the sky every year, we will have demonstrated the feasibility and sheer simplicity of the Space Elevator concept, and will have brought it closer to reality.

Our prize money is provided by NASA's Centennial Challenges program - a total of $4,000,000 over the next 5 years! To mazimize our return and reduce our risk, we distribute the money in slowly increasing increments, as we ratchet up the difficulty level of the challenges...

Wired News has these two videos of early experimenters utilizing solar energy as the elevators energy source: