Joined: Sep 16, 2006 Posts: 736 Location: North England
Posted: Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:58 pm Post subject: Laser-powered helicopter lights the way for space elevators
A model copter has been made to hover for six hours using only the power of a laser beam.
The technology could be used to power space elevators to lift objects into orbit, deliver emergency power to disaster-hit communities, or as a source of energy for military drones.
Tom Nugent, president of Seattle-based LaserMotive, said he believed the 22g aircraft could hover for longer if a better quality motor had been used to drive the rotors.
Delegates at an aerospace conference in Denver, Colorado, saw power come from an array of lasers that were then focused down to a single beam 7cm (3in) in diameter.
This beam illuminated the helicopterís photovoltaic cells which converted half of the laser power to electricity, providing just a few watts, but enough to keep the rotors spinning.
.Meanwhile, scientists in Australia have invented a tractor beam which could be able to move large objects longer distances than ever before by using a laser light.
Molecular transportation researchers at the National University in Canberra managed to move tiny particles over a distance of almost 1.5m (5ft).
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