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Harvest the Sun From Space
NY Times.com via Instapundit ^ | 7/23/2008 | O. GLENN SMITH

Posted on 07/24/2008 4:27:55 AM PDT by shove_it

AS we face $4.50 a gallon gas, we also know that alternative energy sources — coal, oil shale, ethanol, wind and ground-based solar — are either of limited potential, very expensive, require huge energy storage systems or harm the environment. There is, however, one potential future energy source that is environmentally friendly, has essentially unlimited potential and can be cost competitive with any renewable source: space solar power.

Science fiction? Actually, no — the technology already exists. A space solar power system would involve building large solar energy collectors in orbit around the Earth. These panels would collect far more energy than land-based units, which are hampered by weather, low angles of the sun in northern climes and, of course, the darkness of night.

Once collected, the solar energy would be safely beamed to Earth via wireless radio transmission, where it would be received by antennas near cities and other places where large amounts of power are used. The received energy would then be converted to electric power for distribution over the existing grid. Government scientists have projected that the cost of electric power generation from such a system could be as low as 8 to 10 cents per kilowatt-hour, which is within the range of what consumers pay now...

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; Technical
KEYWORDS: energy
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1 posted on 07/24/2008 4:27:55 AM PDT by shove_it
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To: shove_it

Got a feeling that “environmentalist” will find any number of reasons to object.


2 posted on 07/24/2008 4:30:39 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (His Negritude has made his negritude the central theme of this campaign)
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To: shove_it; Uncledave

ping


3 posted on 07/24/2008 4:30:42 AM PDT by shove_it (and have a nice day)
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets

THIS + fusion = WIN


4 posted on 07/24/2008 4:39:49 AM PDT by EarthBound (Ex Deo,gratia. Ex astris,scientia (Who the hell do I vote for now?))
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets
"Over the past 15 years, Americans have invested more than $100 billion, directly and indirectly, on the space station and supporting shuttle flights. With an energy crisis deepening, it’s time to begin to develop a huge return on that investment."

Good point!

5 posted on 07/24/2008 4:40:00 AM PDT by shove_it (and have a nice day)
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets
These would be vulnerable to satellite killers, space debris and could probably be turned into weapons.

I am not sure that I think it is a viable idea. Burning coal, oil and natural gas is just so much simpler than all these other ideas.

6 posted on 07/24/2008 4:40:09 AM PDT by reformedliberal (Capitalism is what happens when governments get out of the way.)
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To: shove_it
Senator Harrison Schmitt the Apollo 17 astronaut and a geologist has recommended returning to the moon and mining the Helium 3 that is found there. It would be the fuel for fusion reactors which could be based on the moon or in Earth geosynchronus orbit. The electricity genrated would be beamed to Earth just like the SPSs!

Ad Astra Y'all!

7 posted on 07/24/2008 4:43:24 AM PDT by Young Werther (Julius Caesar (Quae Cum Ita Sunt. Since these things are so.))
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To: shove_it
Once collected, the solar energy would be safely beamed to Earth via wireless radio transmission

Heh. To be worth building, such an expensive net of solar satellites would have to provide gigawatts of energy, which would require orbiting gigawatt radio transmitters, and they want to "safely" beam gigawatts of energy down to Earth and somehow collect all that and convert it to 60Hz. Nikola Tesla will be impressed if they can pull that off.

We already have people claiming they are being harmed by RFID and who shield themselves from power lines. Imagine living under one of these satellites. I smell enviro-lawsuit. Plus, hey, you're blocking my sun!

8 posted on 07/24/2008 4:45:42 AM PDT by Sender (Never lose your ignorance; you can never regain it!)
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To: shove_it

Google keyword “ helium-3 “ to see the worlds next power source.

He-3, abundant on the moon, an estimated one ton would power the entire U.S. for a year. The fusion technology only needs to be developed, and it is actively be studied. That is fusion, NOT fission.

Amazing that President Bush, AN OIL MAN, would authorize a permanent presence on the moon in the next few years (unless he knows something the rest of us do not ).

.....Bob


9 posted on 07/24/2008 4:47:49 AM PDT by Lokibob (Some people are like slinkys. Useless, but if you throw them down the stairs, you smile.)
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To: shove_it
safely beamed to Earth via wireless radio transmission,

What happens to the plane (and the people in it) that flies through that beam?

10 posted on 07/24/2008 4:50:04 AM PDT by Izzy Dunne (Hello, I'm a TAGLINE virus. Please help me spread by copying me into YOUR tag line.)
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To: shove_it

Buck Rogers thinks do not want.


11 posted on 07/24/2008 4:52:13 AM PDT by Vaduz (and just think how clean the cities would become again.)
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To: Lokibob
“Google keyword “ helium-3 “ to see the worlds next power source.”

I think helium-3 will be used as a power source at some time. The problem is that we have not yet developed the technology to use it to produce power.

There is no point in mining it when we do not know how to build power plants to use it yet.

12 posted on 07/24/2008 4:52:41 AM PDT by marktwain
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To: Izzy Dunne
What happens to the plane (and the people in it) that flies through that beam?


13 posted on 07/24/2008 4:55:20 AM PDT by WVKayaker (NobamaNation, just RNC Abomination... Where's Fred when we need him?)
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To: shove_it
I propose a more efficient solution: EDBOEC, energy delivery via big, orange extension cords. If we spin them up just right, centrifugal force should keep them tight and we'll know the satellites are in proper orbit.

Please, PLEASE don't unplug the big orange cords, It's not funny anymore, really it's not.

14 posted on 07/24/2008 4:56:49 AM PDT by Sender (Never lose your ignorance; you can never regain it!)
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To: Izzy Dunne
"safely beamed"

I'm hoping they'd pick up a country music station or a conservative commentator ~ somethin' like that.

15 posted on 07/24/2008 5:04:03 AM PDT by shove_it (and have a nice day)
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To: shove_it

With this new found power maybe we could create a laser beam from space that incinerates the brand new New York Times building.


16 posted on 07/24/2008 5:04:13 AM PDT by RU88 (The false messiah can not change water into wine any more than he can get unity from diversity.)
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To: Izzy Dunne

This twit does not have a clue about the energy density necessary to “beam” the required energy back to earth. Belive me, it’s a whopping amount.

What happens if the transmitting satillite accidently drifts off course?

What happens if it’s not accidental??


17 posted on 07/24/2008 5:04:58 AM PDT by catman67
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To: Sender
Once collected, the solar energy would be safely beamed to Earth via wireless radio transmission, where it would be received by antennas near cities and other places where large amounts of power are used.

We have been hearing this proposal since the 1970's.

The only reason it still shows up is that pot is stronger now.

Peple are being killed by Power Line Waves and frying their brains with cellpones, supposedly, but we are going to beam Gigawatss to cities.

Pass the bong.

18 posted on 07/24/2008 5:06:37 AM PDT by Gorzaloon
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To: marktwain

All of these pie in the sky in the sweet bye & bye are great excuses for not drilling for Pelosi etal but my SUV needs Gasoline this morning. I can only fantasize the antenna that can capture giga watts of power.
barbra ann


19 posted on 07/24/2008 5:08:25 AM PDT by barb-tex ( A prudent man (more so for a woman) foreseeth the evil and hideth him self)
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To: shove_it

....solar power has been around for a generation now...right here on earth....if it was so good and so cheap the free market would have cashed in by now....every new house in Phoenix would have a roof top unit built right in.


20 posted on 07/24/2008 5:13:11 AM PDT by STONEWALLS
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To: catman67
This twit does not have a clue about the energy density necessary to “beam” the required energy back to earth. Belive me, it’s a whopping amount.

I don't know that much about the subject, but I know that my own house uses 2000-3000 Watts at times, maybe more.

If there's a beam carrying that much power from there to here, then I dang sure don't want to walk through the beam.

So if it's going to carry power to YOUR house as well as mine, then we're gonna need a bigger beam.

Even if they paint it orange and tell pilots to avoid it, it won't be long before there are fried eagles falling and we all know how THAT will turn out.

21 posted on 07/24/2008 5:33:30 AM PDT by Izzy Dunne (Hello, I'm a TAGLINE virus. Please help me spread by copying me into YOUR tag line.)
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To: shove_it
solar energy would be safely beamed to Earth via wireless radio transmission...

Change that to read:

And then a miraculous jump in technology happens...

22 posted on 07/24/2008 5:52:41 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: shove_it
Once collected, the solar energy would be safely beamed to Earth via wireless radio transmission, where it would be received by antennas near cities and other places where large amounts of power are used.

Collect and beam to Earth via radio. ("wireless radio" is redundant) So, we can now modulate radio waves with sun energy? How does that work?

(A lot of) Government scientists = "What do you want to me to prove today?

23 posted on 07/24/2008 5:54:00 AM PDT by CPOSharky (Blaming CO2 for global warming is like blaming your thermometer for your kid's fever.)
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To: shove_it

Great Scott!

24 posted on 07/24/2008 6:06:24 AM PDT by ExGeeEye (I'm Right Guard, here to prevent B.O.)
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To: Sender
This is just so absurdly kooky from a science/engineering stand point.
25 posted on 07/24/2008 6:10:49 AM PDT by AmericaUnited
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To: thackney

This article needs to be filed under “Aw jeez, not this sh!t again”.


26 posted on 07/24/2008 6:18:10 AM PDT by shove_it (and have a nice day)
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets
Got a feeling that “environmentalist” will find any number of reasons to object.

You can count on it.

27 posted on 07/24/2008 6:24:09 AM PDT by dearolddad (Like $6.00 + gas? Be sure to thank a democrap.)
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To: shove_it

Solar Power Satellites can find niche applications in space, maybe beaming power to a future moon base, but it’s highly unlikely they’ll ever be competitive with a simple coal or nuclear plant.

Even if we did build these, we still need a viable method to power cars.


28 posted on 07/24/2008 6:27:14 AM PDT by Brett66 (Where government advances, and it advances relentlessly , freedom is imperiled -Janice Rogers Brown)
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To: RedStateRocker; Dementon; eraser2005; Calpernia; DTogo; Maelstrom; Yehuda; babble-on; ...
Renewable Energy Ping

Please Freep Mail me if you'd like on/off

29 posted on 07/24/2008 6:27:40 AM PDT by Uncledave (Zombie Reagan '08)
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To: shove_it
The OpEd is nothing more than a rehash of this month's Scientific American article on a Japanese program that's been going on now for a decade. The little NASA bureau-slaves have slide rule envy and are whining for more as they wallow in the public’s feed trough.

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=farming-solar-energy-in-space

The US is now a firmly entrenched service-based economy. We don't need to do the skull work that something of this magnitude would require. Let the Japanese carry the water. If it works, great! I'm sure their worker-drones will happily be exploited by this new industry the same way their auto workers, shipyard workers, and consumer electronics workers have been.

Worse case, they succeed and build a transmission line across the Bering Sea so that we end up sending our energy dollars to Asia instead of the Arabs. Who really cares. Either way, our publically schooled Luddites without opposable thumbs will still be able to hunt & peck the controls on their MP3 players and Blackberries.

It's all good.

30 posted on 07/24/2008 6:41:05 AM PDT by NuclearDruid
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To: Lokibob
"....“ helium-3 “ to see the worlds next power source."

I think Bussard's IEC fusion approach a far more likely candidate.

31 posted on 07/24/2008 6:47:09 AM PDT by Wonder Warthog (The Hog of Steel-NRA)
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To: Sender
EDBOEC

Love it. Thanks.
32 posted on 07/24/2008 6:48:51 AM PDT by mmichaels1970
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To: STONEWALLS
"....solar power has been around for a generation now...right here on earth....if it was so good and so cheap the free market would have cashed in by now....every new house in Phoenix would have a roof top unit built right in."

Don't look now, but that is about to happen. Nanosolar's "line printed" CIGS cells (14-15% efficient) will drop the price to $1/watt or less. They're already selling cells to "utility size" installations, and their next production plant is aimed precisely to the "roof-top solar" house market.

33 posted on 07/24/2008 6:51:06 AM PDT by Wonder Warthog (The Hog of Steel-NRA)
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets

and the greenies thought windmills were bad for birds. wait til they start squawking about the starlings getting fried...


34 posted on 07/24/2008 6:53:09 AM PDT by castlebrew (Gun control means hitting where you intended to!)
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To: shove_it

And another nation could “shoot” our energy supply right out of existence. Better have a back up plan.


35 posted on 07/24/2008 6:57:49 AM PDT by autumnraine
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To: RU88

Did you say “sharks with friggin’ Lazer beams on there heads” ?


36 posted on 07/24/2008 7:09:55 AM PDT by fairtrader
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To: Uncledave

beam me up


37 posted on 07/24/2008 7:20:28 AM PDT by BabaOreally
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To: castlebrew

..uh, do biscuits come with those fried starlings?


38 posted on 07/24/2008 7:35:21 AM PDT by norraad ("What light!">Blues Brothers)
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To: Wonder Warthog

” their next production plant is aimed precisely to the “roof-top solar” house market”
....to me, that makes a lot more sense than beaming solar back to earth from outer space...


39 posted on 07/24/2008 8:00:26 AM PDT by STONEWALLS
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To: shove_it
Isaac Asimov wrote "The Last Question", a short sci-fi story on this very assumption over fifty years ago.

Clearly, all we need is Multivac to figure out the logistics for us.

40 posted on 07/24/2008 8:35:23 AM PDT by Cable225 (TACT is for those not witty enough for sarcasm!)
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To: STONEWALLS
"....to me, that makes a lot more sense than beaming solar back to earth from outer space.."

Oh, I agree. Jerry Pournelle has been touting "solar power satellites" since forever. And the approach made some sense back in the day when the only solar cells were made from crystalline semi-conductor grade silicon, so you absolutely "had" to maximize the "per cell productivity". And the best way to do THAT was to get the cell where maximum sunlight hit it 24/7---a condition found only in space.

But Nanosolar's invention is a true "paradigm-shifting", game-changine piece of technology. A single production line (not a single production PLANT, but one line in such a plant), operated at their tested maximum speed of 100 ft/sec can turn out 1GW (the equivalent of a 1000 MW nuke plant) per year. According to the Nanosolar head honcho, cell quality actually improves at the higher production rates. Note that the 100ft/min feed rate is not the maximum the equipment is capable of---newspaper offset printing is run at 2000 ft/min--but they have not yet tested at these higher rates

41 posted on 07/24/2008 9:15:01 AM PDT by Wonder Warthog (The Hog of Steel-NRA)
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To: shove_it

30 years ago, during the Arab oil embargo, this was widely discussed. Cheap oil shot it down, and Enviros cheered. Actually space industry would be the first application and no power would need to be beamed to earth.


42 posted on 07/24/2008 9:18:38 AM PDT by RightWhale (I will veto each and every beer)
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To: Izzy Dunne
What happens to the plane (and the people in it) that flies through that beam?

FFTTTTT.....nothing left but some ash.

I'm not too hot on this energy beam stuff. If the transmitting station were hit by space junk, meteor, etc, the beam could end up burning a pattern in the surface of the earth.

This could also be done intentionally.

Now if we were to use a big earth to geosynchronous orbit extension cord, then maybe it would be safer?!?!?

43 posted on 07/24/2008 9:41:59 AM PDT by SteamShovel (Global Warming, the New Patriotism)
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To: shove_it
I have a better idea. We build a BOATLOAD of fission reactors, reprocess all the spent fuel, encase the low level nuclear waste in glass, drop that into the Mariannas trench. Take all that high level waste and shoot it into a decaying solar orbit with a rocket fueled by all that oil we just saved.

Problems solved and no gigawatt masers needed.

Besides, did these idiots even consider what an ultra high powered maser would do to the atmosphere and weather patterns? Permanent high pressure zone anyone?

44 posted on 07/24/2008 9:48:10 AM PDT by Centurion2000 (A citizen using a weapon to shoot a criminal is the ultimate act of independence from government.)
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To: Lokibob
Amazing that President Bush, AN OIL MAN, would authorize a permanent presence on the moon in the next few years (unless he knows something the rest of us do not ).

He want's to take posession of The Soul Collector!! :-P

45 posted on 07/24/2008 9:57:12 AM PDT by uglybiker (I do not suffer from mental illness. I quite enjoy it, actually.)
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To: shove_it

Like post 2 says. The wing-nuts will object, if for no other reason than “This could be used as a weapon!” Sounds cool though.


46 posted on 07/24/2008 10:01:07 AM PDT by vpintheak (Like a muddied spring or a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way to the wicked. Prov. 25:26)
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To: Sender
I propose a more efficient solution: EDBOEC, energy delivery via big, orange extension cords.

Just like the space elevator.

47 posted on 07/24/2008 11:59:51 AM PDT by Vroomfondel
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets
Got a feeling that “environmentalist” will find any number of reasons to object.

Absolutely. Bear in mind that this increases the amount of energy delivered to the Earth, which means that this will cause global warming. Unless we make giant space heatsinks to balance them.

48 posted on 07/24/2008 12:01:58 PM PDT by Vroomfondel
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To: Vroomfondel

Maybe we can launch an equal amount of liberials into space. With all the hot air they generate, we could reach a balance.


49 posted on 07/24/2008 12:08:24 PM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Sender
Heh. To be worth building, such an expensive net of solar satellites would have to provide gigawatts of energy, which would require orbiting gigawatt radio transmitters, and they want to "safely" beam gigawatts of energy down to Earth and somehow collect all that and convert it to 60Hz. Nikola Tesla will be impressed if they can pull that off.

And people are worried about cell phone radiation?
This kind of scheme would really zap people near the earth receivers

The beam would end up kind of "wide" by the time it reached earth

50 posted on 07/24/2008 1:54:19 PM PDT by dennisw (That Muhammad was a charlatan. Islam is a hoax, an imperialistic ideology, disguised as religion.)
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