Looking to Satellites for Solar PowerCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: May 21, 2012 04:30PM
In 1960, the Isaac Asimov book I, Robot was first published. The book actually contains nine short stories dealing with the development of robots, before as their technology improves and with how they can be used to further humanity. One of these stories (Reason, specifically) is set on Solar Station #5, a satellite that captures the energy of the Sun and beams it back to Earth using microwaves. It appears Asimov was ahead of his time with this as researchers at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow are working on satellites to do the same thing.
All solar panels on Earth are at an immediate disadvantage to any in space, because of the atmosphere and day-night cycle. In space the light is not filtered through the atmosphere and satellites can face the Sun more often than a solar farm on Earth. Satellites with solar panels and microwave emitters or lasers, energy could be very precisely beamed to any point on Earth.
The initial satellites the researchers are looking at would only be able to power a small village, but they intend to design larger satellites that could power an entire city. To achieve this, the researchers are also working on ways to assemble the satellites in orbit. Already a satellite system has been tested that put up a large web-like structure which acted as a base for other components to be built on to.