NASA Invests In Satellites That Beam Power Down to Earth

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 13, 2012 7:20 PM GMT
    Another way of making solar power economical though maybe it's just me but there seem to be a lot of potential ways for this to go horribly awry...

    http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2012-04/nasa-wants-flower-inspired-satellite-array-beaming-solar-power-down-earth

    As spaceborne energy-harvesting schemes go, this one seems faintly possible — an array of curved mirrors directing sunlight toward solar cells, their energy production microwaved down to Earth. It’s so realistic, actually, that NASA is providing funding for a proof-of-concept study.

    A former NASA engineer named John Mankins, now with a company called Artemis Innovation Management Solutions, detailed his plans at a NASA innovation conference recently. The concept is called called Solar Power Satellite via Arbitrarily Large PHased Array (SPS-ALPHA), and it would harvest solar energy from a perch in high Earth orbit.

    It would consist of a modular array of movable thin-film mirrors, which could be taken into space using current cargo ships and assembled piece by piece. This would be less expensive than building a gigantic array and launching it. These curved mirrors would redirect sunlight toward an internal collection of photovoltaic panels, and the solar energy would be converted into microwaves.

    Then the Earth-facing portion, or the bottom of the margarita glass in the image at top, would transmit low-frequency, low-intensity waves toward Earth. At the receiving end, power plants would convert the microwave energy into electricity, adding it to the power grid.
  • calibro

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    Apr 13, 2012 9:11 PM GMT
    where's my burrito?!?
  • DCEric

    Posts: 3713

    Apr 13, 2012 9:16 PM GMT
    calibro saidwhere's my burrito?!?


    This is about solar energy, not recaptured methane.
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    Apr 13, 2012 9:16 PM GMT
    how many takers on how this will get weaponized as a direct energy weapon to use against the {insert enemy of the week} when they {do something that opposes "American security interests"}...?

    Or as a form of population control/sterilization of widespread areas?

    Or am I taking a dim view of H. sapiens's propensity for manipulating potentially good things to evil effect? icon_razz.gif
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    Apr 13, 2012 9:18 PM GMT
    This has been "the next big thing" since the early 70's at least. Along with the moon colony and orbiting space habitats that were going to run them.
    Starting right after SkyLab. icon_rolleyes.gif

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_satellite
  • groundcombat

    Posts: 945

    Apr 13, 2012 9:30 PM GMT
    Sounds interesting! I need to know more about the process of converting low-frequency, low-intensity microwaves into power though. The only thing I can think of is heating water to turn turbine generators but that seems like an awful lot of trouble.
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    Apr 13, 2012 9:35 PM GMT
    groundcombat saidSounds interesting! I need to know more about the process of converting low-frequency, low-intensity microwaves into power though. The only thing I can think of is heating water to turn turbine generators but that seems like an awful lot of trouble.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rectenna
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Apr 13, 2012 9:43 PM GMT
    DCEric said
    calibro saidwhere's my burrito?!?


    This is about solar energy, not recaptured methane.


  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 13, 2012 9:58 PM GMT
    See also from the 70's:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_High_Frontier:_Human_Colonies_in_Space
    http://www.nss.org/settlement/ColoniesInSpace/index.html (full text on-line. Chapter 3 about the power satellites)
    http://www.amazon.com/Colony-Ben-Bova/dp/0380793156 (how it could all go horribly wrong. ish.)
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    Apr 13, 2012 10:41 PM GMT
    AlphaTrigger saidhow many takers on how this will get weaponized as a direct energy weapon to use against the {insert enemy of the week} when they {do something that opposes "American security interests"}...?

    Or as a form of population control/sterilization of widespread areas?

    Or am I taking a dim view of H. sapiens's propensity for manipulating potentially good things to evil effect? icon_razz.gif


    HAARP.

    ovhead-view-of-harrp-antenna.jpg
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 13, 2012 10:43 PM GMT
    AlphaTrigger saidhow many takers on how this will get weaponized as a direct energy weapon to use against the {insert enemy of the week} when they {do something that opposes "American security interests"}...?

    Or as a form of population control/sterilization of widespread areas?

    Or am I taking a dim view of H. sapiens's propensity for manipulating potentially good things to evil effect? icon_razz.gif


    I concur
  • DCEric

    Posts: 3713

    Apr 21, 2012 12:36 PM GMT
    AlphaTrigger saidhow many takers on how this will get weaponized as a direct energy weapon to use against the {insert enemy of the week} when they {do something that opposes "American security interests"}...?

    Or as a form of population control/sterilization of widespread areas?

    Or am I taking a dim view of H. sapiens's propensity for manipulating potentially good things to evil effect? icon_razz.gif


    Oh please, we only use nuclear technology for energy production.... oh wait.
  • TheBizMan

    Posts: 4091

    Apr 21, 2012 7:11 PM GMT
    With all of the reseach humanity is focusing on nuclear fusion and space based solar energy, we are starting to approaching a Type 1 civilization on the kardashev scale.

    "Currently, there is no known way for human civilization to successfully utilize the equivalent of the Earth's total absorbed solar energy without completely coating the surface with man-made structures, which is presently not feasible. However, if a civilization constructed very large space-based solar power satellites, Type I power levels might be achievable."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kardashev_scale