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"Science fiction is what scientists would do if they could - if they had enough grant money, enough time, and enough brains to do the wonderful things they would like to do."
- Greg Bear

Power Planet  
  A satellite that supplies the Earth with power.  

The Power Planet, of course, is that vast man-made disk of metal set spinning about the sun to supply the Earth with power. Everybody learns in his grammar-school textbooks of its construction just beyond the Moon and of its maneuvering to its present orbit by a vast expenditure of rocket fuel.

Only forty million miles from the sun's surface, its sunward side is raised nearly to red heat by the blazing radiation. And the shadow side, naturally, is down to the utter cold of space. There is a temperature drop of nearly seven hundred degrees between the two sides, and Williamson cells turn that heat-difference into electric current, with an efficiency of 99 percent. Then the big Dugald tubes - they are twenty feet long on the Power Planet - transform it into the beam which is focused on the Earth and delivers something over a billion horsepower to the various receivers that have been erected. The space station itself is ten miles across, and it rotates at a carefully calculated speed so that the centrifugal force at its outer edge is very nearly equal to the normal gravity of Earth. So that the nearer its center one goes, of course, the less is that force, and also the less impression of weight one has.

From Power Planet, by Murray Leinster.
Published by Amazing Stories in 1931
Additional resources -

Compare to the solar energy beam from Masquerade, a 1941 story by Clifford Simak and to near-space solar energy collector from Star Maker, a 1937 novel by Olaf Stapledon.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Power Planet
  More Ideas and Technology by Murray Leinster
  Tech news articles related to Power Planet
  Tech news articles related to works by Murray Leinster

Power Planet-related news articles:
  - Space Solar Power - A Truly Limitless Source
  - Space-Based Sustainable Energy Policy

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