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"There was a time when one old eccentric guy with a notebook could do something important to science. Now even the resources of a major university are often not enough."
- Jerry Pournelle

Solar Station  
  A satellite that gathers solar energy in space and then beams it to Earth (or other planetary surface).  

How can you explain space and stars and planets - to a robot? Even a robot intended to administer a solar station.

"The dots to which our energy beams are directed... are cold and hard and human beings like myself live upon their surfaces - many billions of them... Our beams feed these worlds energy drawn from... the Sun.
From Reason, by Isaac Asimov.
Published by Astounding S-F in 1941
Additional resources -

Where else can you read a phrase like "Sizzling Saturn!"

In the story, it is revealed that the station is about a mile across. It uses an "Energy Converter" to gather sunlight; the station can beam energy across the solar system to different planets.

I'll have to go back to my collection of vintage Astounding Science Fiction to see whether this story was before Clifford Simak's Masquerade, which uses a similar idea - see solar energy beam. [Asimov's story appears in April - but Simak's appears in March! Of course, it might have been John w. Campbell's idea, anyway.]

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Reason
  More Ideas and Technology by Isaac Asimov
  Tech news articles related to Reason
  Tech news articles related to works by Isaac Asimov

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