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 ")

Skin Wearable Harvests Power With Triboelectric Effect
'He had tightened the chest to gain maximum pumping action...'- Frank Herbert, 1965.

Neuroscientist Works Toward Virtual Immortality ala Clarke
'Nothing will be left of Jeserac but a galaxy of electrons frozen in the heart of a crystal.'- Arthur C. Clarke, 1956.

Colloidal Quantum Dots Make Spray-On Solar Cells Possible
'Black Power... you spray it on.'- Larry Niven, 1995

Race Into The Future With Bionic Boots
'The tremendous loping strides afforded by such devices... '- Neal Stephenson, 1995.

 

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

CreoPop 3D Pen Draws In Midair
'It makes drawings in the air...'

Seattle Police Body Cams, Ala Stross, Ala Dick
'Let's hear it for the vague blur!'

Autonomous Cars Will Own Themselves
'The robot drew his cab up before Eric's modest six-room bungalow.'

World's First 3D Printed Villa
'It makes drawings in the air following drawings...'

Hyperloop Track Starts Next Year
All aboard!

Brainflight Brain-Controlled Drone
'Mr Gant, you must think in Russian. Can you do that?'

Students Control Lab Experiments Remotely Via App
'Hello, Europa... Is this your robot I'm looking at, in sector 94?'

ROBEAR Nursing Care Robot
What other robots are strong enough to carry you? Do you want them to do so?

Testing New Spacesuits In 1929 And 2015
'I'm going to pump the air from this room... so that the interior will be like airless and pressure-less space.'

Space Station Kitchens 1929 and 2015
'Plates and cups ... slowly floated down to the floor and were not broken.'

Volvo's 'Drive Me' Program Offers Autonomous Cars In 2017
'She woke just before the signal from the car which would have called her...'

Squad X Core Technologies For Infantry
'You can flip through your several types of radar displays quicker than you can change channels to avoid a commercial...'

Neptune Duo Smartwatch Wearable Wristband
'[He] pressed several buttons on the wide bracelet he wore upon his left wrist...'

FAA Drone Rules Beta Ready For Comments
Drones, big and small, you're going to like them all.

'Cortical Modem' Latest On DARPA's Wishlist
'...inside his skull... is a little cylinder, that neuronic receptor-transmitter.'

The Martians Are On Their Way!
'Dense clouds of smoke or dust, visible through a powerful telescope on earth...'

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.