Rocketing off to space? Some think an elevator might be the way to go.
The so-called space elevator is the future goal of this week's $2 million Space Elevator Games in the Mojave Desert.
In a major test of the concept, robotic machines powered by laser beams will try to climb a cable suspended from a helicopter hovering more than a half-mile (one kilometer) high at Edwards Air Force Base.
Several teams have qualified to participate in the event beginning Wednesday on the dry lake bed near NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards.
Funded by a space agency program to explore bold technology, the contest is a step toward bringing the idea of a space elevator out of the realm of science fiction and into reality.