To infinity … and beyond! Machine Design

It may sound far-fetched, but the day is coming when lasers will beam power to spacecraft, lunar/Martian rovers, and sherpalike robots that carry payloads up a thin tether into the upper atmosphere and beyond. Although researchers worldwide concur that power-beaming capabilities are decades away, a range of experimental efforts give promise that lasers may, in the not too distant future, provide cheap, safe, and reliable access to space.