Could Solar Panels in Space Solve all Our Energy Needs?



We need more solutions for our energy needs, and one idea is straight out of science fiction: Solar panels, in space.

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28 comments

  1. So um, well solars great in all, but Um, we do kinda have this thing called Nuclear energy. Yes there’s a risk, but we’ve been working for decades to minimize these risk, and understand everything going on with nuclear energy.

  2. Why not have them orbit closer to the sun? You would be able to harness exponentially more energy.

    Just for some solar power density numbers:
    Earth: 1,367 w/m^2
    Venus: 2,636 w/m^2
    Mercury: 12,303 w/m^2

    We could easily go closer than mercury since the parker solar probe is 3.8 million miles from the sun.

    If we had a solar panel 3.8 million miles from the sun it would be getting 818,779 w/m^2 of energy.

  3. Just send the concentrated light to a solar collector plant on earth. Those are also large mirror arrays that point to a tower in the middle, typically to heat molten salt. Much more efficient (that other EM conversion again step is very wasteful). Much less expensive. This is practical today, and there are many other potential benefits.

  4. You failed to mention that the materials could be mined from the moon.
    Don E Wilhelh's book "To A Rocky Moon" mentions minerial resources like Titanium, Aluminum, Iron, ect..in lunar soil.
    It would take mining and smelting equipment to make the solar panels, mirrors ect…Robots and humans to maintain them.
    Less gravity on Luna as well
    This will be very expensive at first and it may be wise to form an international consortium of countries towards this goal.
    If you read the book "The Ministry For The Future" necessity will focus our minds and resources if we want our kids to have a future on a habitable planet.

  5. To be fair, getting enough power has never really been a big problem for humans.
    The problem is how to store that power and more importantly, transport it to where we need.
    Same problem with filling the desert with solar panels.

  6. Gerard K. O'Neil wrote a book back in the day. Plus, the best frequencies to send your power back to the surface are already allotted, for cell phones. Meh.

  7. Am I stupid or is the Sahara much easier to catch sunlight than space. Yes less efficient because of the atmosphere, but so much cheaper to deploy. Then you transmit the power using very high voltage lines throughout the world.

  8. Couldn't they just have the two things communicate and have the satellite readjust to stay in line with the receiver and then (for the infrared) if it isn't receiving enough energy have the satellite try other locations or something

  9. I thought one of the challenges was that the receiver in any of these proposals would have to be far from population centers so a lot of the energy would be lost transmitting across land on Earth going to places where people are actually using electricity, I believe this is the same problem with giant solar arrays in remote deserts.

  10. One side of the moon is always lighted by the sun, microwave energy could also transmit energy. Microwaves could be weaponized as well.

  11. Put them our deserts, yes the USA has deserts 🌵. Remember it takes time and studies to perfect it. Look at current phones, couldn’t even text in the beginning. Have some faith in science and technology

  12. How about we lower our energy needs by controlling population growth to something that is easily sustainable for our planet?

  13. Having an entire array of them makes it sound like the opposite of a Dyson sphere. We'd still be collecting all the solar energy, but we'd be putting the sphere around us instead of the sun.

  14. no problem. We need space elevators too so its easy to run an extension cord and send the power through wires.

  15. Maybe we could have a detached orbital tether that collects solar energy outside of the atmosphere, and basically charges up a battery at the base that can be discharged to a collection station on the ground with less losses

  16. Whether Microwave or Lasers, all pointed at the earth , sure sounds like the opening of a disaster movie to me!

  17. "Nowhere is freer than space"

    Not true and in fact I heard in the news that we might have just witnessed the two first collisions of the dreaded space junk collision catastrophe

  18. Asimov is one of my favorite authors, if you have not read any of his books, do yourself a favor and look them up.
    his work is basically the inspiration for every robot movie ever

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