lunar-solarRenewable energy has proven itself to be a possible answer to the world’s seemingly insatiable appetite for energy, and Shimizu Corp. of Japan has also thought along similar lines. In fact, they have an idea that might sound crazy to many people – by developing a 250-mile wide belt of solar cells all across the moon’s equator. This particular “Luna Ring” will then gather all of the solar energy harvested, where it will be beamed down to the Earth’s surface in the form of laser beams and microwaves.

Of course, we are talking about a seemingly impossible undertaking of a 6,835-mile long belt of solar panels that will have to be laid on the moon first, but there is also the other issue of putting energy collectors in place across the globe. The work on earth is already massive enough, but at least humans are there to work on it. On the moon? Will astronauts now be laying solar panels? Perhaps robots would be better suited to handle the situation, and since robots need no food or water, and are able to survive in harsh environments, this might actually do the trick in the long run, really. When installed, the solar cells will then take advantage of the axial rotation of the moon, where sun-facing cells will do the work of energy collection, before stashing it away somewhere safe until they face the earth yet again. From there, huge laser and microwave transmitters will kick start and send such power to earth.

Beaming energy from space is not a new idea, and while there may be advantages for not having an atmosphere, the efficiency of solar cells is still relatively low. That said the cost of working in space would probably outweigh any advantage of space in the short-term. Also, sending down high-energy beam isn’t without risk: what if the beam deviates from its planned trajectory? Finally, let’s not forget that the moon is a harsh environment, not only because there is no breathable air and ultra-cold temperature, but also because the lack of atmosphere makes it possible for millions of micro-meteorites to land at speeds exceeding many times the speed of sound. Something of that size would probably be hit quite often, increasing the need for repairs and maintenance.

Filed in Green. Read more about Japan and Solar.

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