The idea of generating power from the sun with solar panels directly in space is certainly nothing new – in fact, it’s over thirty years old, and perhaps that’s why it doesn’t really sparkle any interest when it’s suggested anymore. However, Europe’s biggest space company seems to be looking for partners to launch an actual demonstration solar power mission.
The company, EADS Astrium, have developed a satellite which can harvest solar energy with equipped solar panels, and beam it back to Earth using infrared lasers.
It’s obvious how if this technology turns out to work, it will benefit humanity greatly – we’ll no longer be dependent on the day/night cycle to provide ourselves with clean, renewable energy. Plus, the cells should be able to generate much more power when they’re that close to the Sun, as opposed to when they’re down on Earth.
Skeptics are questioning the system’s effectiveness though, especially considering the huge costs associated with producing the satellite required.
[ Via Treehugger ]