Phone: 208-885-6111
Toll-free: 88-88-UIDAHO
Fax: 208-885-9119
Student Union Building
875 Perimeter Drive MS 4264
Moscow, ID 83844-4264


Phone: 208-334-2999
Fax: 208-364-4035
322 E. Front Street
Boise, ID 83702


Coeur d'Alene

Phone: 208-667-2588
Toll-free: 888-208-2268
Fax: 208-664-1272
1031 N. Academic Way,
Suite 242
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814


Idaho Falls

Phone: 208-282-7900
Fax: 208-282-7929
1776 Science Center Drive, Suite 306
Idaho Falls, ID 83402


3 men brainstorming

Space Elevator

For University of Idaho students, rocket science is "so last decade." In the new millennium, the buzz is about space elevators.

From the moment he heard about it, mechanical engineering student Jason Stirpe was drawn to the NASA Space Elevator competition's unparalleled engineering challenge, and its $500,000 prize.

Stirpe and teammates put together a proposal seeking $2,500 from the College of Engineering to cover NASA's entry fee, and Engineering Dean Aicha Elshabini awarded the funds.

"It's a really intriguing challenge to take the concept of a space elevator from science fiction to science fact," said Stirpe. "The physics behind it is as if you take a yo-yo and swing it around. The mass on the end being thrust outward keeps the string taut," Stirpe explained.

But the devil is in the details: NASA and other scientists envision constructing a "planet-sized yo-yo" and attaching it to a futuristic carbon nanotubing ribbon/string about 22,000 miles long.

Once it is firmly attached to a platform on earth, proponents hope to beam people and payloads up the super strong ribbon using robot climbers propelled by lasers.

The competition is designed to train young visionaries who will bring the concept to life.

The Idaho team is made up of four mechanical engineering students and three electrical engineering students. They are working to create an innovative climber and beamed power source, and will compete in the Power Beaming/Climber category at the 2008 Annual Space Elevator Games.

Leading Research and Creative Activity

The creation and expression of new knowledge is a hallmark of the University of Idaho. Students have the unparalleled opportunity to learn directly from creative and innovative faculty in the classroom, studio, laboratory, clinic and field. The University of Idaho is leading the way in research and creative activity.