Orbital Solar Plants to Provide for Solar Energy Needs

According to a study by Paris-headquartered International Academy of Astronautics, gathering solar energy from orbiting solar plants and emitting it back to the earth is “technically feasible” in the next year or two.

The study group led by John Mankins, a 25-year NASA veteran and the U.S. space agency’s former head of concepts said that the research would turn economically viable within the next 30 years but didn’t disclose any specific architecture or guidebook to explain their research. According to the group, solar power derived from space would play an important role in meeting the global energy needs of the 21st century.

Madhavan Nair, former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization heads the academy whose work is determined as the first international assessment of potential paths to collecting solar energy and transmitting it back to the earth via wireless transmission.

The study known as ’space solar power’ will need funding of the government as private sector alone won’t be able to sustain the project due to the “economic uncertainties” of the development and demonstration phases and delays. The study group is expecting help from both the government and private funding amid concerns of increasing dependency on fossil fuels.

The study group did not provide for the estimated cost for the space solar power project which could become one of the lifetime energy solutions for Earth with zero terrestrial environmental impact.

Image Courtesy: NASA

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