A Robot Named Maryann Could Propel Us Into SpaceS

Only three teams remain, competing for NASA's latest $2 million prize for advancing space-elevator technology. Good thing one of them, the Kansas City Space Pirates, is using a fast-climbing robot and lasers shot through telescopes.

I love this news report about the K.C. Space Pirates, and "Maryann," their climbing robot, which uses solar panels, and energy beamed from the ground via a laser beam shot through a special telescope, to climb half a mile up, on a cord attached to a helicopter hovering overhead. The D.I.Y. enthusiasm among these part-time innovators is breathtaking, and you gotta love an inventor who says things like:

So we'll be beaming more energy to our robot in this competition than has ever been beamed to a remote moving device ever. We'll be setting a variety of world records as we proceed in this competition.

This $2 million prize is for wireless power transmission, the second half of the Space Elevator Games — the first half being a "Tether Challenge" to create a material strong enough to carry materials into space.

Here's the somewhat cheesy news report on the Space Pirates and their quest for the $2 million space "booty":

Space Elevator image above by FlyingSinger on Flickr. [Fox4KC.com]