Based in the 1960s, the idea of sending a solar powered satellite into outer space to provide electricity to ground stations has been brought up over the years several times by the Department of Energy (DOE) and The Department of Defense (DOD) of the United States. It is about a satellite floating at 22,000 feet above the Earth, equipped with powerful and large solar panels, that transmit the captured energy from the Sun (remember, in you don’t have any obstructive elements in space, such as air, water, or other gases) through microwaves down to Earth.
In 2007, the Pentagon encouraged the initiative of building such satellite systems, but NASA specialists say that it won’t be available until 10 years from now, if we start developing it… now!
The green implications of this energy super-generator would be enormous: only one of these satellites could provide enough electricity to power an entire town such as New York. The project costs a lot. In the 1970s, NASA estimated infrastructure for a complete system could top $1 trillion. The latest report suggests sharing the costs of a prototype with other space-faring nations. Of course, nowadays the cost would be much smaller.
Everybody is excited by the idea of having free energy from space… But… something sounds weird here… What does Green Energy have to do with Pentagon and DOE? We all know military applications never take into account the material and environmental costs of a war and the investments in the art of destruction seem endless. Part of them are paid through the work of regular citizens, like you and I.
My father worked in the military. He once told be they had a radar that was used to scan the planes’ lift-offs and landings from several hundreds of miles away. The radar had a “magnetron” (radar emissive subdevice – it’s really called that way) that, if open to full throttle could emmit several MegaWatts of energy. For those who don’t know, the electromagnetic field from the microwave range can be directed to a certain target, otherwise it wouldn’t be used to detect particular objects. Microwave devices can focus their energy to a limited area, working like a lens in the Sun.
My father told me that if a bird happened to pass through the electromagnetic field of that radar, it would instantly die and fall to the ground.
If you’re not drunk or if you haven’t taken any drugs lately, you may have already reached a conclusion: what if these satellites, having huge power (in the order of GigaWatts – and even more, I don’t know any numbers), would be pointed at some point on earth, instead of their ground stations? What if their emitting frequency would be modified to that of a microwave oven (2450 MHz)?
Wouldn’t that be the beginning of another “cold” (or better said “hot”) war? The energy would be sufficient, the speed would be instant, and, as history proved, civil energy producing principles (such as nuclear) will be used by the military, first of all.