Solar Power Beamed From Space Studied By Brit Boffins
The British government and the UK Space Agency are giving serious consideration to gathering solar energy in space, and then beaming it down to homes on earth. They have appointed the engineering consultancy Frazer-Nash to look into the technical and economic feasibility and it will report back next year.
Millions of British homes could be powered by a giant solar power station 24,000 miles up in space within three decades, under proposals being considered by the government.
Under the plan, a system of five huge satellites – each more than a mile wide, covered in solar panels and weighing several thousand tonnes – would deliver laser beams of energy down to Earth.
These would provide up to 15 per cent of the country’s electricity supply by 2050, enough to power 4 million households – with the first space energy expected to be delivered by 2040.
The satellites would use thousands of mirrors to concentrate the sunlight onto the solar panels, which would be converted into high frequency radio waves. These would be beamed to a receiving antenna on the Earth, converted into electricity and delivered to our homes...
“Solar space stations may sound like science fiction, but they could be a game-changing new source of energy for the UK and the rest of the world,” said Science Minister Amanda Solloway.
That sounds like my cue! Isaac Asimov, writing in Astounding Science Fiction in 1941:
"The dots to which our energy beams are directed... are cold and hard and human beings like myself live upon their surfaces - many billions of them... Our beams feed these worlds energy drawn from... the Sun."
Of course, real science fiction fans know about the power planet described by Murray Leinster in 1931, ten years earlier!
On the other hand, wet blanket and real-world technology mogul Elon Musk rudely awakens us from our solar power satellite dreams thusly: