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 ")

Man-Made Earthquakes Now A Reality
Fracking yields unexpected increase in energy. Earthquake energy, that is.

Love That Shear Thickening Fluid Body Armor
'The pressure suit was soft ... instantly became rigid all over when something struck it...'- Larry Niven, 1966.

Zoom Contact Lenses
'You've got DreamTime technology in contact lenses?'- Niven and Barnes, 1992.

Graphene Cytobot - Cyborg Bacterial Spores May Help Astronauts
'[It] had not yet objected to being made over into a portion of an electronic system... '- Philip K. Dick, 1964.

 

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

Automated Treadmill Adjusts To Your Pace
'The auto-treadmill's bumps and gullies matched...'

Mr. Anderton, Beware This Long-Range Iris Scanner
Try keeping your eyes shut, Mr. Anderton.

Mini Statues Of You From 3D Images
'...A three-dimensional simulacrum of himself six inches high took form.'

'Forever' Camera Powered By Its Own Images
'What I have in this camera is not a record of what you did just now but what will go on here in the next half hour...'

Robot Chef Makes Thousands Of Dinners
'I got one of those new electronic cameras... and I could construct this one to do it exactly right down to the thousandth of a second.'

Revault Wearable Private Cloud Is Too Vaporous
'A man or woman could carry AIs or complete planetary dataspheres...'

Spacex Sticks Landing! But Neglects Lateral Forces
So close!

Lumo Projector Turns Kids Rooms Into Bradbury's Veldt
'The walls began to purr and recede... and presently an African veldt appeared...'

Ground Control Space Beer
Ninkasi Brewing Co. has its own space program.

Google Wants To Give Orders To Robot Armies
Or maybe they aren't bent on world domination.

Gestures Control Spider Robot Army
'What do you think - four spiders, one per floor?'

Hologram Protest World's First
'Their bodies were in their dwelling cells, but their telucid images filled the hall.'

SoSITE: US Pilots To Command DARPA Drone Army
'With a click of his pinky he brought up a pop-up menu, then selected *Kill Everyone*'

Asterank Database Identifies Profitable Asteroids
'Now it was a huge, charted, floating ore deposit for the entire Solar System.'

Pepper Spray Drones Do Crowd Control For Indian Police
'Basketball-sized, twelve feet up... they were there to enforce the law...'

Man-Made Earthquakes Now A Reality
Fracking yields unexpected increase in energy.

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.