Navy's Orbiting Solar Panels To Beam Energy Down To Earth

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) is quietly working on technology that will let it capture solar power in orbit - and then project it back down to Earth, to specific locations where it is needed.


(US Navy seeks solar power)

Not only would space solar potentially save the Pentagon buckets of cash, but it could simplify military deployments. Fuel tankers would no longer have to reach remote or volatile areas, and missions could run longer without having to return to base to refuel.

So far, NRL has built and tested two different prototypes of what they call a “sandwich” module, named for a design innovation that packs all the electrical components between two square panels. The top side is a photovoltaic panel that absorbs the Sun’s rays. An electronics system in the middle converts the energy to a radio frequency, and the bottom is an antenna that transfers the power toward a target on the ground.

Ultimately, the idea is to assemble many of these modules in space by robots — something the NRL’s Space Robotics Groups is already working on — to form a one kilometer, very powerful satellite.

Science fiction fans have been treated to this idea from a variety of writers - we've been waiting for it to become reality for a long time! Isaac Asimov's 1941 short story Reason described a solar station which beamed energy around the solar system. However, I think Clifford Simak was earlier (by about one month!) with his Solar Energy Beam from his 1941 short story Masquerade.

Via Wired.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/24/2014)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Engineering ")

Wristify, Your Personal Cooling and Heating Device
'By law [a mandatory cooling unit] had to be strapped to every commuter's back...'- Philip K. Dick

Solar Roadways Could Power USA - Times 3
This would be great if it works - the roads might be better maintained as well.

Spaser-Based Circuits Could Be Printed On Clothing
'Alex rolled his wrist over to check the watch imprinted on his sleeve.'- Niven and Barnes, 1981.

Full-Size Invisibility Cloak Now Possible
'I donned it and drew its hood, and threw on its current.'- Ray Cummings, 1930.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

NASA's Highway In The Sky For Drones
Traffic is everywhere.

Palcohol Powdered Alcohol - Try Or Ban?
'I had a small can of powdered alcohol disguised as tooth powder...'

pd.id Personal Drink ID Device Like Dune 'Poison Snooper'
'The jeweled hands clutching drinks (and the unobtrusive inspections with tiny remote-cast snoopers)...'

Monsieur Bartending Robot
'He poured the liquids into his maw...'

Cities Detect Gunfire Acoustics With ShotSpotter
'Sound trackers on the roof...'

Cruise Automation's 'Highway Autopilot' For $10K
'It cut her out of the stream of vehicles and reduced the speed of her car...'

Pengheng Space Capsule Hotel Staffed Entirely By Robots
'A planet-wide chain of hotels that specialized in non-human service.'

Electric Bacteria That Live On Pure Energy
'April 5, 1977; that was the night the waveries came.'

EXACTO Smart Bullet From DARPA
Nicely visualized in what 1984 movie?

Neural Implant To Treat Memory Loss
'You've got remote storage. How regular is the update?'

MIT's Shape-Shifting Robot Materials
The T-100, an advanced prototype, is made of liquid metal. Not quite ready.

LS3 AlphaDog Robot Marine Corps Video
'He admired the fast-plodding, articulated legs, so necessary since roads had degenerated...'

Vantablack Is Blacker Than Your Black
'Well, we have a black coating now that’s ninety-nine percent absorptive...'

Remotely Operated Gardening Rover - Student's Space Agricultural Robot
'There were things growing all over the place, not just in some domed enclosures blasted some millions of miles out in to space.'

Revisiting A Cloud City On Venus
Lando Calrissian, are you still available?

'Windowless Cockpit' Like Star Trek's Patent Applied For
Mr. Sulu, take us out.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.