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May 28, 2011

FASTER, PLEASE: Japanese Plan: All of Earth’s energy ‘to be supplied by lunar ring of solar panels.’ “The ambitious project would result in 13,000 terawatts of continuous solar energy being transmitted back to receiving stations on Earth, either by laser or microwave.”

Related: Water in the Moon.

UPDATE: Steven Den Beste writes:

A steerable 13-terawatt beam, whether laser or microwave, is a weapon of conquest. And it would have to be steerable in order to track receiving stations on Earth as the Earth rotated. What happens if someone focuses the beam on NYC instead of a receiving station? It wouldn’t take many minutes to kill everyone.

Well, on the old O’Neill/JPL solar power satellite studies, the beam density was very low — low enough that birds could fly over the receiver without being harmed. But that plan involved satellites in geosynchronous orbit. I don’t know if it applies to lunar power-beaming. And I’m not actually sure that lunar power stations beaming power to earth work out better than orbital power stations built of lunar materials shot out by mass driver.

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