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Photovoltaic panels, which convert laser light into electrical energy similar to solar panels, are seen on the bottom of the LaserMotive entry in the $2 million Space Elevator Games at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2009. In a the test of the concept, robotic machines powered by laser beams will try to climb a cable suspended from a helicopter, on a course 900 meters (2,953 feet) high.
LaserMotive is commercializing laser power beaming to transmit electricity without wires for applications where wires are either cost prohibitive or physically impractical. As our first project, we are a Seattle-based team competing for $2,000,000 in prize money at this year’s annual NASA-sponsored Power Beaming competition, part of the Elevator:2010 Space Elevator Games. Teams entering the Power Beaming Challenge must power a vehicle 1 kilometer (nearly 3,300 feet) straight up a ribbon using only energy beamed to the vehicle from the ground.
A space elevator is a proposed structure designed to transport material from a celestial body's surface into space. Many variants have been proposed, all of which involve traveling along a fixed structure instead of using rocket powered space launch. The concept most often refers to a structure that reaches from the surface of the Earth on or near the Equator to geostationary orbit (GSO) and a counter-mass beyond.