Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Japan wants to capture Solar Energy in Orbit

Japan may still be struggling with the terrible consequences of Fukushima, but it's also looking ahead for a better way to solve its energy problem, in a cleaner and more sustainable away that is also  immune to natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis. How? By placing the energy plant off the ground... in fact, placing it in orbit.

These solar collectors would stay in orbit, free to collect the sun's energy without having to worry about bad weather and beam down the energy to receiving ground stations. It's a nice idea, that has been thought of before but never implemented due to its high costs. But maybe now the time is right for such an approach, though I think people will worry about the way the energy will be beamed down: either via microwaves or lasers.

One can envision such a power plant be used as a weapon, in a true sci-fi apocalyptic "death ray from above" scenario. But... when we think about it, any significant power generation system can be turned into a weapon: just take a look at atomic energy.

I imagine there will be a number of failsafe measures to prevent the improper use of such a system, including shutting down the power beam should anything happen to the base station - just because an earthquake can't reach orbit it can still damage the receiving end on the ground, though it should be much easier to deploy a new receiver (or even relocate it) than it is to rebuild an entire power plant.

In any case, I think I'll patent mirrored roof tiles and microwave reflecting roof insulation... just to be safe. ;)

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