On the LaserMotive blog, Tom Nugent opines on how relatively ‘easy’ the Lunar Landing challenge looked and how hard it was in retrospect. He also comments on how this applies to the Climber / Power-Beaming competition in the Space Elevator Games; something which looks easy but turns out not to be…
‘Tis true, tis true… Systems of this complexity (and make no doubt about it – these Climber/Power-Beaming systems ARE complex) take lots of engineering and even more debugging to get right. Integration testing is even more fun 🙂 You can have sub-system “A” which works just fine and sub-system “B” which works just fine and sub-system “C” which works just fine too, but when you put them together, well, the interactions between the various components can make things act in a very odd (and undesirable) manner.
Along the way, we’ve had more teams than not drop out because they underestimated the complexity of the task in front of them (and/or they couldn’t get funding – always a big deal, too). This year alone we had 14 teams sign up, but we’ll be happy if we get 5-6 competitors who actually have something at the Games which has a shot at the prize money (even with all the delays we’ve had in scheduling it).
Read Tom’s post – he’s so young to be so wise 🙂