A Seattle team has won a $900,000 prize in a NASA-supported competition to develop the concept of a space elevator.

The winning team’s robotic machine charged up nearly 3,000 feet of cable dangling from a helicopter.

Powered by a ground-based laser pointed up at the machine’s photo voltaic cells, which convert the light into electricity, the LaserMotive completed one of its ascents in just three minutes and 48 seconds – fast enough to secure the second place prize.

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