Technology, Discovery & Innovation NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
Home Computing Digital Life Discovery Space More Topics...
Build Apps 5x Faster
For Half the Cost Enterprise Cloud Computing
On Force.com
You are here: Home / Innovation / Pentagon Mulls Solar Power in Space
Pentagon Promotes Space-Based Solar Power Effort
Pentagon Promotes Space-Based Solar Power Effort
By Mark Long / Sci-Tech Today Like this on Facebook Tweet this Link thison Linkedin Link this on Google Plus
PUBLISHED:
OCTOBER
15
2007


A new report from the Pentagon's National Security Space Office (NSSO) postulates that space-based solar-power platforms could begin fulfilling planetary demand for electricity by 2050. The report noted that while significant challenges remain, the technologies for making extraterrestrial relay stations a reality "are more executable than ever before and current technological vectors promise to further improve its viability."

The study's authors are advising the U.S. government to inaugurate a coordinated national program for fostering the technology's development, with the first step consisting of a proof-of-concept demonstration in outer space.

The best way to convince the public that the concept is viable is to show people that the technology actually works, said NSSO spokesperson Lt. Colonel Paul Damphousse. "It's not a stretch to prepare equipment to put on the space station to demonstrate beaming" and to test other vital components, Damphousse noted.

A Flying Hoover Dam

The new NSSO study, which includes input from more than 170 experts worldwide, might seem like science fiction to some, but so did the article "Extra-Terrestrial Relays" published by mathematician and science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke in 1945. Today the world derives incalculable benefits from Clarke's pioneering vision of how communication platforms in geostationary orbit over the earth's equator could relay TV and radio programs to virtually every inhabitable place on the planet.

The space station would give scientists the ability to test a wide variety of devices and component technologies far more rapidly than you could anywhere else in space right now, said the president of the Space Power Association and report contributor John Mankins.

"We could use it to validate key concepts of operations: automated assembly, repair, maintenance," Mankins explained. "And it could be a staging point for larger-scale demonstrations" which are "achievable within a decade, not 50 years away."

The first large-scale system could plausibly be on the scale of the Hoover Dam, which would represent enough power to light a city, Mankins noted. But the power could also "be directed to more than one ground location where the markets are. It will be a matter of identifying the new opportunities, project by project."

Extraterrestrial Power Relays

According to the NSSO's Space-Based Study Group, a single kilometer-wide band of geosynchronous earth orbit experiences enough solar flux in one year to nearly equal the amount of energy contained within all known recoverable conventional oil reserves on Earth today.

Huge solar arrays placed into a continuously and intensely sunlit orbit around the earth would be able to generate gigawatts of electrical energy that could be electromagnetically beamed back to earth. The receiving stations down on the ground would be designed to deliver the power to the existing electrical grid, convert it into synthetic hydrocarbon fuels, or even broadcast it directly to consumers.

"In the coming century we will need to find as much energy as the world uses today in green form, not just once, but two, three, or more times over," Mankins noted. "And in technological competitiveness, we need to do ambitious things as a nation to renew our technological strength in all areas."

A U.S. funded demonstration would engage the interest of foreign governments concerned about future energy demands, the report's authors noted. Moreover, full deployment of the technology in space would help nations to avoid future military conflicts over increasingly scarce energy resources, they said.

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:

Like Us on FacebookFollow Us on Twitter
TOP STORIES NOW
MAY BE OF INTEREST
Salesforce.com is the market and technology leader in Software-as-a-Service. Its award-winning CRM solution helps 82,400 customers worldwide manage and share business information over the Internet. Experience CRM success. Click here for a FREE 30-day trial.
MORE IN INNOVATION
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Who Is the Hacker Group Lizard Squad?
Are they dangerous or just obnoxious? That’s what many are wondering about the hacker group Lizard Squad, which tweeted out a bomb threat that grounded a flight with a Sony exec aboard.
 
Are Government Spies Tipping Off Tor?
Less than a month ago, tech news headlines heralded a Tor Project breach. Now, some are saying that government spies are sharing information with Tor to help it prevent future breaches.
 
Backoff Malware Hits 1,000+ Businesses, Likely More
More than 1,000 businesses across the U.S. might have been affected by Backoff, a new kind of point-of-sale (PoS) malware, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Apple Set To Release Largest iPad Ever
Tech giant Apple seems to have adopted the mantra “go big or go home.” The company is planning to introduce its largest iPad ever: a 12.9-inch behemoth that will dwarf its largest existing models.
 
Alert: HP Recalls 5 Million Notebook AC Power Cords
HP is recalling about 5.6 million notebook computer AC power cords in the U.S. and another 446,700 in Canada because of possible overheating, which can pose a fire and burn hazard.
 
Acer's New Desktop Box Rides the Chrome OS Wave
Filling out its Chrome OS line, Acer is following the introduction of a larger Chromebook line earlier this month with a new tiny $180 desktop Chromebox and also a smaller Chromebook.
 

Mobile Technology Spotlight
Apple Set To Release Largest iPad Ever
Tech giant Apple seems to have adopted the mantra “go big or go home.” The company is planning to introduce its largest iPad ever: a 12.9-inch behemoth that will dwarf its largest existing models.
 
Verizon Hops on the Voice-Over-LTE Bandwagon
Wireless provider Verizon is gearing up for a nationwide launch of its Voice-over-LTE service over the next several weeks, promising clearer and crisper phone calls and a Skype-like video service.
 
Smartphone 'Kill Switch' Law in California; Will Other States Follow?
California’s new law -- signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday -- aimed at deterring cellphone theft could mean most mobile phones sold in the U.S. will soon include similar “kill-switch” tech.
 

Navigation
Sci-Tech Today
Home/Top News | Computing | Digital Life | Discovery | Space | Innovation | Health | Science News
Environment
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.