A new proposal out of Japan might just make you feel a little better about the world’s energy future. It’s simply a genius idea to harness energy from one of the biggest, natural sources: the sun.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is proposing a plan that would send a series of platforms into the Earth’s orbit to collect solar energy and send it back to the Earth.
“It would be difficult and expensive, but the payoff would be immense, and not just in economic terms,” Susumu Sasaki, a professor emeritus at JAXA writes about the proposal. “If humanity truly embraces space-based solar power, a ring of satellites in orbit could provide nearly unlimited energy, ending the biggest conflicts over Earth’s energy resources.”
This is the first sound proposal to harness solar energy through satellites since 1968, reports CBS News, when American engineer Peter Glaser noted the difficulty of the idea because transmitting power from space to Earth is not an easy feat.
But Sasaki says there could be some promise in microwave beams. Scientists would have to figure out the proper antennae size to collect these beams and the microwave frequency to send solar power through – but again, Sasaki believes this can be done.
Since Japan’s destructive tsunami in 2011 and the resulting meltdown of nuclear power plants in Fukushima, there is no better time for the country to look to alternative energy sources.
The Japanese space agency believes it can complete this ambitious project in just 16 short years, by 2030.
We can’t wait to see how this idea develops, as the implications for the world’s future would be incredible. In Susumu Sasaki’s own words:
“Throughout human history, the introduction of each new energy source – beginning with firewood, and moving on through coal, oil, gas, and nuclear power – has caused a revolution in our way of living. […] As we place more of the machinery of daily life in space, we’ll begin to create a prosperous and peaceful civilization beyond Earth’s surface.”