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October 12th, 2004
If the space elevator dream comes true, robo-cars powered by laser light will roll on a carbon-nanotube ribbon stretching up tens of thousands of miles from Earth's surface, carrying cargo and passengers on a monorail to the sky.
But when Michael Laine, president of the LiftPort Group, manned a booth at a Seattle robotics exhibition last month, he didn't dwell on that dream for the next decade: Instead, he highlighted down-to-Earth applications that could emerge in the next year or two, such as servicing balloon-based platforms for wireless Internet access or aerial surveillance.
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