The International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC), in conjunction with the National Space Society (NSS), is conducting a student academic challenge contest regarding the concept of space elevators.

First prize is $2000 and a total of $7000 in prizes will be awarded. The contest is for individual students or teams of up to four students from around the world. The contest will be in three phases as described below. The first phase is to submit an abstract of your idea, up to 400 words, by November 15.

Space Elevators

Imagine an advanced lift system which raises 170,000 metric tons to space every year, the equivalent of 8500 Falcon Heavy launches, and with no atmospheric pollution—a “green road to space.” Space elevators would enable such massive movement of cargo to GEO and beyond in a safe, environmentally friendly, daily and routine way, at lower cost than rockets – thus transforming the approach for humanity to escape Earth’s gravity. The identification of a suitably strong material (single crystal graphene super laminate) to build a space elevator could make it a reality in your lifetime. For information about space elevators and their capability visit isec.org.

The Challenge

You can actually pick from two challenges. First, select a “mission” that would be important for humanity’s future which would be enormously enhanced by space elevators. The first challenge asks you to assess how your selected “mission” would be benefited by the “green road” access to space that space elevators would provide.  The second challenge asks you to explain how artificial intelligence (AI) technologies could be used to enhance the capability of the space elevator’s transformational characteristics in achieving your chosen “mission.”

Submissions will be judged based upon

  • Your insight into future possible uses of (1) green technologies or (2) AI technology towards missions for space elevators, depending upon which challenge you accept.
  • Your insight into the impact of the transformational strengths of space elevators with respect to the “green road” or AI.
  • Your presentation of the arguments in favor of space elevators.
  • Your creative concepts for using space elevators that lead to a better future for humanity.

Imagination will be appreciated but remember that everything in your submission must be based on well-researched facts.

The Contest

Phase 1 submissions (an abstract of up to 400 words) must be submitted by November 15, 2023. Semi-finalists will be selected and notified by December 15, 2023. In Phase 2, the semi-finalists may submit a paper up to 15 pages by February 1, 2024. Finalists will be notified by February 15. Phase 3 submissions will consist of a video MPG up to 10 minutes by April 1, 2024.

Separate prizes will be awarded for high school and university entries. First Prize is $2000, Second Prize is $1000, and Third Prize is $500 in each of these two categories. The six winners will be announced by April 15. Prize money will be equally divided among team members. Winning submissions will be published on the ISEC YouTube channel and other social media. Winners will be invited to present at the NSS International Space Development Conference May 23-26, 2024, in Los Angeles.

For detailed rules and guidelines for the contest see https://www.isec.org/academic-challenge.

The International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC) promotes the development, construction and operation of a space elevator infrastructure as a revolutionary and efficient way to space for all humanity. ISEC is an affiliate of the National Space Society.

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