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"If I had to get a new Ph.D. now, I'd get it in polymer engineering - the manipulation of matter."
- Bart Kosko

Near-Space Solar Energy Collectors  
  Generating power from solar radiation closer to the source.  

The Symbiotics... armed with their highly developed physical sciences and with sub-atomic power, they were able to construct, out in space, artificial planets for permanent habitation... The planet's external surface, which was wholly transparent, encased the atmosphere. Immediately beneath it hung the photosynthesis stations and the machinery for generating power from solar radiation. Part of this outer shell was occupied by astronomical observatories, machinery for controlling the planet's orbit, and great 'docks' for interplanetary liners.
From Star Maker, by Olaf Stapledon.
Published by Methuen in 1937
Additional resources -

Read more about the artificial planets envisioned by Stapledon.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Star Maker
  More Ideas and Technology by Olaf Stapledon
  Tech news articles related to Star Maker
  Tech news articles related to works by Olaf Stapledon

Near-Space Solar Energy Collectors-related news articles:
  - Space-Based Solar Power May Yet Happen
  - Navy's Orbiting Solar Panels To Beam Energy Down To Earth

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Elon Musk, Google To Extend Internet Into Earth Orbit, Then Mars
HAVOC Over Venus ala Bespin
Should SETI Talk To Molecular Cloud Barnard 68?
Stellar Navigation Based On Network Analysis

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