Earlier last year, there were news about scientists dreaming of space-based solar panels, which were to capture the Sun’s energy and bring it to the Earth through microwaves, or lasers, and to provide the ultimate energy source for us.
The costs of such a space installations would be huge, somewhere in the range of trillions of dollars, since the solar panels would have to be catapulted to space by a huge gun.
Now, a Japanese company, Shimizu, dreams of turning the Moon’s ecuator into an 11,000 kilometers long solar collector, and bring that energy “down” to Earth via a 20-km wide dishes, through microwaves and lasers. The belt would have widths ranging from a few to 400 km. Now, how brilliant is that?
Shimizu even named their project: LUNA RING. The solar panels installed on the Moon’s belt would be called the “Solar belt”. The Solar belt will be constructed using materials that exist on the Moon, including cement and fiber glass, produced there with the aid of solar power.
The solar panels themselves will be produced on the surface of the moon, from existing resources, in automated factories that would move as they will be installing the panels. They will also build a transportation route that will carry the electric cables under the solar panels surrounding the Earth’s satellite.
While everything would be automatized in Shimizu’s plan, people will also be present on the Moon, to ensure support and maintenance for the production tools.
It sounds like science-fiction, and probably a lot of writers in the branch may have had the idea in the past, but as I think of it deeper, I think Shimizu’s plans might just work, considering the investments and profits that the oil industry has, and the money they are willing to pay just to get to another petroleum reservoir, no matter where on Earth. This should channel their investments and keep them interested in working, as the stake is the highest ever. Until then, though, people will have to research more about the Moon and ways for developing entire factories and buildings in a zero-oxygen atmosphere.
This is what I call extreme engineering.
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Join the Discussion4040 total comments so far. What's your opinion ?
Although this sounds like a bit a sci-fi fantasy (which the inner nerd in me loves), it is hard to imagine if this could ever truly happen. I am not astrophysicist, but it just seems like the moon would be a difficult place to maintain such a solar plant considering it has no atmosphere to protect it from space debris that may strike these sensitive solar panels. That being said, I do think it is extremely interesting and acceptable to be envisioning such future methods of energy protection in the realms of space. The implications and NIMBY problems would literally be put aside and allow us to focus on making our own planet a paradise (hopefully this isn't just sci-fi fantasy either).-Consumer Energy Alliance "A balanced approach towards America's energy future"