Posts filed under 'Light Racers competition'

The 2007 Light Racers Competition - Part 5

I have four more videos and two more pictures to post to complete my coverage of the 2007 Light Racers Competition.

The first video is of Spaceward’s Ben Shelef explaining how the Light Racer competition is going to work.


This second video is one of most of the competitors in this competition.


This third video is of most of the entries into the competition.  You’ll note that they’re sitting in front of a large picture of the surface of the moon, with an earthrise in the distant.  This picture was used as a backdrop for the races.


The final video is one of Ben announcing the winners / prizes in this year’s competition.


The two pictures are ones of the competitors and entries.  I must confess that I had fairly low expectations for this particular event - I didn’t think that it would be very much fun or generate much interest.  I was wrong on all counts - everyone really enjoyed it and you could see the “family resemblance” to the earlier Space Elevator Games - lots of experienced gained for future competitions.  I think that next year’s event will be an even bigger success!

(Click on the picture thumbnails for larger versions)

Add comment November 14th, 2007

The 2007 Light Racers Competition - Part 4

In this, my penultimate post in this series on the 2007 Light Racers Competition, I thought I would post some of the pictures I took of the cars and competitors.

I liked this shot of one of the racers, lit up with the spotlight as it attempted to make its run.



This was an interesting entry, a 3-wheeler.  It was able to run through part of the racecourse, but not, unfortunately, all of it.



Here’s a close-up of the Technology Tycoons entry.





Both of these entries, I believe were from the same family (if this is wrong, please let me know and I’ll correct this post).




This is the McGill team and their entry.  As I indicated in an earlier post, this entry was, by far, the fastest one in the competition.  If it had stayed on course, it would have easily won the competition…


The Kansas City Space Kids with their winning entry.



(As always, click on the picture thumbnails for a larger version)

Add comment November 13th, 2007

The 2007 Light Racers Competition - Part 3

Here are some more videos and photos from this year’s Light Racers Competition.

The two photos shown are indicative of what a family affair many of the entries were.

The first video is of Eddie, one of the competitors, telling us why Light-powered cars will be important in Lunar Exploration.


The second video is one of the qualifying runs of the entry from the Technology Tycoons.  This car was, by far, the largest entry.  It vaguely reminded me of a bathtub or a large bucket or something like that.  I had seen this car running outside during the day, powered by sunlight, and it was running very well and very quickly.  And, unlike some of the others, the steering on this on was controllable via Remote-Control.  Once inside, however, it had much more difficulty in doing it’s runs.  It still was an impressive entry, however, and everyone enjoyed watching it.


As always, click on the picture thumbnails to see a larger version.

Add comment November 12th, 2007

The 2007 Light Racers Competiton - Part 2

McGill University was one of the “double-dipping” teams this year, entering two competitions; the Power-Beaming / Climber competition and the Light Racers Competition.

Their car was, by far, the fastest one in the competition.  Unfortunately, it couldn’t stay within the race course boundaries, despite repeated attempts, until after the competition was closed.  The idea of these “cars” was that they should be steerable via remote-control, like an RC racer.  But several of the competitors lacked that feature; the competitor would put them on the starting line, aim them towards the finish line, and hope for the best.  The KC Space Pirates winning “car” was built this way, as was the McGill car.

The first video show their best competition run.  If the “car” had stayed in bounds it would have easily won the Professional category.


The second video shows a run they made in conjunction with the KC Space Pirates.  This was after the competition was closed and they were just having fun.


The final video shows a great run they made - crossing the finish line in bounds.  Unfortunately it was a “fun run” and didn’t count towards a prize.  You’ll note that at the end of the run, it ran into yours truly.  I was recording the competition while sitting on the floor at the finish line.  All of the racers, with the exception of the McGill one, moved so slowly that I was able to easily get out of their way if they were headed towards me.  But with this run I had no chance.  I tried to record it myself but messed it up somehow.  This video is courtesy of Alex from the McGill Team.


Thanks Alex!

1 comment November 10th, 2007

The 2007 Light Racers Competition

Along with the Space Elevator Games, the 2007 Light Racers Competition was held.  This was a competition of model “cars” (I use the term “cars” very loosely here) which were powered solely by light; no fuel, no batteries, no sun, no problem (as the promo says).

Although not strictly Space Elevator related, it was held at the same venue as the Space Elevator Games were and, I must say, was quite a crowd-pleasing event.  This event was targeted towards families and school-age kids and includes a science curriculum which can be taught that has studies relevant to this event (for more info, see the Light Racers homepage).

There were several (8-10) teams entered.  Many of the cars didn’t move at all, or just barely.  I’m guessing that they had been “tested” outdoors in sunlight.  When brought indoors and put in the spotlight beams, there just wasn’t enough juice generated to get them going.  But that’s valuable experience which will be put to good use next time.

The competition was held indoors in Building 2 (Climber Row) on Saturday, October 20th.  Ben Shelef of the Spaceward foundation laid out a course the cars had to navigate - they needed to travel from one end to the other without veering outside the boundary lanes.  There was one large spotlight trained on the car from start to finish and a second, booster light which was trained on the car at the start, just to get it going.

The two fastest cars were also the two smallest.  The fastest car, by far, was the one put together by McGill University.  It didn’t win any prizes though and will be the subject of my next post.  This post is dedicated to the winning team, the Kansas City Space Kids, a subset of the Space Pirates.  This car was put together at the last minute by Brian Turner and his team and was good enough to win a $2,500 prize!

I have two videos for this post.  The first was nearly a prize-winning run, making it from one end of the racecourse to the other, but veering out of bounds just before reaching the finish line.


This second video is of the winning run.  The KC Space Kids car completes the entire course, inside of the boundaries, to the acclaim of the crowd!

Add comment November 10th, 2007

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