It sounds like a page from an old science fiction novel from years ago. An array of solar panels circling the Moon beaming back power to the entire Earth. Sound far fetched? Maybe, but it will happen. In fact, they’re working on it now!
Electric power generated by an array of solar cells placed around the 11,000 kilometre long lunar equator will be transmitted and beamed to the earth from the near side of the Moon – the side that always faces earth. This is just one idea proposed by a Japanese construction company, Shimizu that prides itself in forward thinking.
From this ‘Luna b,’ a 20 kilometre diameter antenna would beam a high energy laser accurately towards receiving stations on Earth. This belt will grow in length from a few kilometers at first to over 400 kilometres in a short time. Cables will transfer the electric power from the lunar solar cells to the transmission facilities.
A team of astronauts will support robotic surface operation on site and robots will perform various tasks on the lunar surface, including ground levelling and excavation of hard bottom strata. Lunar resources will be used to the fullest extent possible in constructing the ‘Solar Belt.’
Water can be produced by breaking down and mixing lunar soil with hydrogen that is imported from the Earth. Cementing material can also be extracted from lunar resources. These materials will be mixed with lunar soil and gravel to make concrete. Bricks, glass fibres and other structural materials can also be produced by solar-heat treatments. Just imagine – free energy on the Earth forever. It could happen!
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This article was supplied by David Reneke – writer, lecturer, science broadcaster, astronomer and editor/publisher of Astro Space News. David is affiliated with ‘Australasian Science’ magazine and operates davidreneke.com.