Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen may have helped fund Burt Rutan's famous SpaceShipOne rocket plane, but Microsoft itself is supporting a rather different method of getting into space by hosting the annual Space Elevator Conference on its main campus in Redmond, Washington. Participants discuss the technical and other challenges facing the project to string an ultra-strong ribbon tens of thousands of miles from Earth's surface to a counterweight above geosynchronous orbit, and methods of traversing the elevator with vehicles probably powered by laser energy beamed from the surface. The most commonly used metaphor to describe how the ribbon stays up, where you whirl a rock on a string around your head to represent Earth's rotation, makes the whole thing sound just a little too simple.
- First held in 2002 (ref)
- Location: Microsoft Conference Center, Redmond, Washington
- Next event: August 12-14, 2011
Folks who signed up for space wiki at the 2011 conference in Redmond Washington.