Can solar panels grown on the Moon really be used for powering the Earth?
Today, global warming is one of the most rapidly rising concerns of the world. With global temperature rising bit by bit each year, the glacier meltdown all over the world may be triggered very soon. This is what will further give rise to problems like energy crisis. Solar energy is one alternative form of energy that is more environmentally conscious than traditional methods of generating power that tend to involve burning fossil fuels. Check out this guide to building a solar generator for more information. So if you’ve done your part in helping the environment and have had solar panels installed, you may also want to look into solar panel cleaning services, as this can then help increase energy production. Thanks to the advancements of technology, newer research on how to mitigate these crises in the coming years is being rolled out every now and then.
Of late, a paper published in the New Space journal has grabbed interest of many scientists, researchers and even commoners. It talks about how solar panels grown on the moon can be used to power the earth in coming years. Right now you can only get home-grown panels from companies like Sandbar Solar & Electric, so this seems quite novel. Let’s walk you through the details:
1 From where Did the Idea Come?
Justin Lewis-Weber, a high school senior in California, recently published a paper in the New Space journal, stating his idea on a solution to the potential energy crisis that is likely to hit the world in another 100 years. According to his paper, putting self-replicating solar panels in space, particularly on the moon, can help power the earth. The panels would create autonomous copies of themselves. After this, they would enter the Earth’s orbit and harness sun’s energy beaming in onto the ground.
2 Sounds Crazy, Right?
We know that this idea may sound crazy and weird, but the concept of space-based power resources belongs to the early 1970s. The notion came into being after the world was hit by the oil crisis. Once the prices went back to normal, the idea was kept aside. It was set aside after oil prices went back down, but since then, two things have happened: Firstly, the world became more attentive on solving the climate change issue; and secondly, technology gave birth to out-of-the-box ideas for combating the problem of global warming. The idea is slowly becoming popular and with some huge contributions, we may even see it coming to life.
3 Solar Panels in Space: Why?
Sun is the be-all and end-all source that powers the earth. Now, you must be thinking why we need to put solar panels in the space and why we can not use the earth for placing them. Well, that is because, the sun isn’t available to power the panels 24*7. Also, lots of land would be required to set up the panels. According to Lewis-Weber, “To power entire world with solar power, we would need to cover an area that’s 92 percent the size of Nevada in solar panels, and that’s not even counting the batteries.” Putting up the panels in space solves the glitches that may occur due to unpredictable weather conditions. Also, the sunlight that will reach these solar panels would be 27% more than usual. Sounds like a deal, right?
4 How Will This Work?
The solar panels would make use of the microwaves to reflect the power back to the receivers on Earth. According to Paul Jaffe, a scientist who works at the U.S. Naval Research Lab, the system would be designed not to exceed safe power densities and he has in fact even outlined a plan to send solar panels into space. The solar panels would be in the forms of a large array that will not cast shadow over the Earth. Most of the sunlight would diffuse around it, just like it does for the satellites’ orbits. These solar arrays can also help in beaming the power down across different parts of the world. This can act as a benefit for countries that are under-developed and disaster-stricken. Overall, there are a lot of benefits that the mankind will be able to enjoy by setting up solar panels on the moon.
5 Problems That May Arise
The foremost problem that may arise is that related to the financial factors. It will certainly require a LOT of solar panels to be set-up in the space if we want them to power the earth. Consequently, the cost of such a massive project is going to be gigantic. On the paper, the cost calculated by Lewis-Weber came out to be in the range of trillions of dollars.
6 Possible Solution to the Problem
Self-replicating solar panels can be used as a solution to the cost problem. This is something that Lewis-Weber suggests in his paper. With this, the population of solar panel based satellites can grow exponentially, just like multiplying rabbits.
7 It Is Not Feasible Just Yet
Though the technology has advanced and unbelievable inventions have been rolled out, something as massive and complex as this would be an engineering challenge in itself. Creating self-replicating machines is something that we are yet to see. However, for the time being, you can easily help out by getting solar panels installed on your home. There are loads of companies that offer this service. For example, if you live in manchester, then you can easily find a company that will help you buy and install solar panels. Doesn’t matter where you live though, you should be easily able to find a company that will help you out. Particularly as solar energy is one of the ways that we can try to save this world.