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NASA Funding Satellite That Would Beam Solar Power Down to Earth

NASA is providing Artemis Innovation Management Solutions with seed money to build a satellite that could collect solar energy and beam it back down to Earth. Harvesting solar energy from space has been talked about for a long time, but has been deemed too expensive or the technology just wasn't there. Now with former NASA engineer John Mankins at the helm, it looks like this concept is finally set to take off.

The turning point for this technology is all due to the biomimetic design that Mankins came up with, which mimics how flower petals collect solar energy. The petals would be covered with small, thin-film mirrors that could be curved to direct sunlight to solar cells. The satellite would be positioned far enough away from the Earth so that it will never be in the dark. The energy collected would be converted into microwaves that could be beamed or broadcast back to Earth where electricity would be generated. The design allows for the use of small, lightweight mirrors and solar cells so that the just try! natural cialis satellite could be constructed and transported at a not-ridiculous cost.

The potential for this technology is huge. The satellite could feasibly send a constant stream of microwaves because of viagra online in canada its position -- possibly thousands of megawatts worth. That constant stream of unlimited energy would utlimately make any upfront costs totally negligible and could bring a huge leap in amount of renewable energy fed to mexico viagra no prescription the grid. Truly, this is the stuff that clean tech dreams are made of.

The NASA funding is for a proof of concept study that could lead to a prototype being built if all checks out. That prototype would then be tested in near-Earth orbit and then, fingers crossed, full scale satellites would be built and launched.


Images via John Mankins

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Comments (17)Add Comment
written by Jim, April 17, 2012
Sim City already did this!
or, Low-rated comment [Show]
written by Ipad41001, April 18, 2012
The design is next day levitra brilliant however any microwave transmission that is concentrated is a weapon, any microwave transmission that is not a weapon would have too large of a collection area.
Sure... but I'm sure it won't be free.
written by Ml Tma, April 18, 2012
Can imagine a company like Verizon charging a separate "service fee" to keep my cell phone battery "fully charged".
written by Tom34, April 18, 2012
What is global warming: To much heat from the sun captured by earth greenhouse effect.
And what is this project? Harvest more energy from the sun, and beam it to earth smilies/angry.gif
Nasa wants to coock us? smilies/tongue.gif
written by curious observer, April 18, 2012
Since we would be beaming additional energy into our atmosphere (that we would not normally have obtained from the sun), would there be concerns about climate change? Seems this would be counter-productive...
Not Cheap Enough Yet
written by Ron, April 19, 2012
Satellites have been converting solar energy into microwaves and beaming them down to earth for a long time and levitra 10mg we have been gradually improving this process. But we are quite definitely, absolutely, not near a point where it is cost effective to generate electricity from these microwave transmissions. Building better and cheaper methods of solar powering satellites is a good idea and there is visit web site levitra label a market for it, but getting solar energy from space is not currently economically viable, and it will be quite some time before there is any chance of it being viable.
Thats awesome hope it happens in a positive way
written by erik, April 19, 2012
in concept it would seem that a roaming satelite could harness a greater concentration of cheap cialis the suns energy maybe up to 10-100 times the power of a earth solar receptor also if it rotates with the sun it could absorb the suns energy 24 hours a day

seems pretty awesome to viagra doses me
written by Roger Brown, April 20, 2012
"The satellite could feasibly send a constant stream of microwaves because of its position -- possibly thousands of megawatts worth. That constant stream of unlimited energy would utlimately make any upfront costs totally negligible and could bring a huge leap in amount of renewable energy fed to the grid. Truly, this is the stuff that clean tech dreams are made of."

This kind of language is extremely silly. A set of mirrors and PV cells would produce a finite amount of energy over their life time. If you this energy into the cost (which in spite of relative 'light' components could be immense since they have to be lifted out of a deep gravity well) you get a cost per kWh just like any other technology. Maybe the i recommend buy viagra from china author is getting excited about avoiding the intermittency issues of earth based renewable energy, but any time someone talks about 'unlimited' energy you know that they are living in a fantasy world.
Will contribute to global warming
written by nathan, April 20, 2012
These devices represent a NET increase in the amount of energy being released in the earth's atmosphere. If enough of levitra by mail these devices were in operation, the effect could be very significant. The only way to counterbalance the effect would be to remove the equivalent number humans from the planet necessary to counterbalance the effect. I am guessing you would need to process several thousand humans a day to keep things manageable.
Want to know more
written by Magnus, April 20, 2012
I always thought this was one of those crazy ideas for the far future, but i'd be open to persuasion if the inventor could give us some further details:
Has it been costed out? What's the cost per installed megawatt at today's launching costs?
How are they going to steer the beam safely to the ground reciever and avoid cooking anyone?
How does the ground station work, and how efficient will the lowest price for viagra conversion procees be?
How will the ground station remain in line-of-sight as the world rotates? If it's geostationary won't there be dead-time? Will it need multiple ground stations?
If all this has been worked out then the proposal will be much more noteworthy.
A Few Details
written by Ron, April 21, 2012
Just how orbital solar power would work has been worked out in pretty fine detail. In most proposals the satelite would be in geosynchronos orbit and would bream microwaves of an intensity that aren't dangerous enough to be used as a weapon to a receiver on earth. The efficiency of beaming microwaves and converting them back to electricity should be over 80%. There would be brief periods when the satellite would be in the earth's shadow, but it would be possible for another satellite to take up the slack. The drawback is cost. Even though solar cells in space might produce seven times as much energy as ones in a cloudy location on earth, we currently can't even build a satellite solar power system that can compete with ground based solar and other generating capacity, let alone build it and launch it into high orbit. Orbital solar power needs lower satellite construction costs, lower launch costs, and/or the the use of raw materials in space to be cost effective.

But there is a market for improved solar power systems for satellites, so people will continue working on improvements in this area.
written by Harriet , April 25, 2012
I don't like the sound of microwave beams, either! Another article from Physorg, Space-Based-Solar Power Coming to California, introduces a company working on beaming radio waves to earth via a solar collecting satellite.

"In Solaren's proposal, solar power satellites would be positioned in stationary orbit about 22,000 miles above the equator. The satellites - whose arrays of mirrors could be several miles across - would collect the sun's rays on discount levitra photoelectric cells and convert them into radio waves. ... Because the radio beam is spread out over a wide area, it would not be dangerous to people, airplanes, or wildlife."
It goes on to say:
"Japan's space agency, JAXA, has recently begun testing a space-based solar array that beams energy to Earth in the form of microwaves. If the tests are successful, the agency plans to recommended site cialis 50mg launch an array of mexico viagra satellites that would transmit power to a 1.8-mile-wide receiving station, which would generate enough electricity to power about half a million homes." I imagine they're desperate to come up with an alternative to nuclear. I hope it doesn't create another disaster for them!
written by Gareth Field, April 25, 2012
It's not for EARTH, it's for SPACE! A central power station for satellites!!!!!
Design to cost
written by Keith Henson, April 26, 2012
If you go through the design of a power satellite, such as was done here: you get numbers around a dollar a kWh. Clearly a non starter.

Another approach is to set the cost of power at some number such as two cents (about half the price of power from burning coal) and see what has to buying cialis without prescription be adjusted for the project to hit the goal. The main thing is discount cialis india the cost of lifting millions of tons of parts to geosynchronous orbit. That has to come down to around $100/kg for power satellites to meet the price target. (Or the mass per kW has to be very low.)

That seems to be possible, but not with chemical rockets, the performance isn't good enough and viagra no perscription uk the payload fraction is too small. But air breathing flight till you run out of air and laser heated hydrogen beyond that looks like it will achieve the target price.

The low transport cost will grow out of using the early power satellites to power propulsion lasers.
Reading stuff like this makes me breathe a huge sigh of relief
written by Robert, June 11, 2012
I know it's just in the early stages but this looks so ridiculously promising. This makes my day just a bit better after learning republicans are trying to repeal mercury limit laws. I really hope energy corporations could see the potential behind projects like these and start investing.
Mirrors and a little smoke
written by Bob, June 14, 2012
The devil is always in the details, details they haven't looked at yet. Launch costs are huge, and I didn't see any mention of wow)) levitra buylevitra onlin assembly costs. It's also easy to draw a nice beam of energy that connects the satellite to the receiver but no real antenna works that way. All have sidelobes. Further, there's no such thing as a receiving antenna that is 100% efficient, so along with the energy the antenna receives there's the question of dealing with the energy it doesn't, i.e. the energy that is just heating up the receiving site. There's issues of spacecraft stability to good choice low price viagra prevent the beam from wandering off the receiver and cooking the local critters (or humans). One BIG detail is that is one awfully big target for space junk. A target that can't be moved. So you hit one mirror with some piece of junk, and the junk becomes thousands of little pieces still moving at close to orbital speeds and what's in front of all those pieces? The rest of the mirrors. Basically it becomes a giant, hypervelocity scattergun. NASA should spend its seed money elsewhere.

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