This is the third position in a Lincoln-Douglas style debate about the promotion of lunar based solar power as a strategic policy solution to both US energy challenges to 2050 and NASA's direction,
This is the third position in a Lincoln-Douglas style debate about the promotion of lunar based solar power as a strategic policy solution to both US energy challenges to 2050 and NASA's direction, purpose and goals.
The world’s energy needs will double by 2050. Total energy from terrestrial carbon based and terrestrial solar power now is only half this number. We will not be able to generate this level of energy from all nonrenewal energy. But intriguingly, every day, the moon receives 1000 times this amount (~13,000 TW). Are we ostriches?
10 billion people in 2050 must be supplied with ~6 kWt/person in order to achieve energy and economic prosperity
Power output must be maintained indefinitely. Conventional power systems are too expensive for the Developing Nations. Six kilowatts of thermal power now costs 50% of their average per capita income.
NASA is losing interest from the public because it is only interested in scientific pursuits. NASA could change the public interest level by building a case for national energy policy changes using space-based solar power, specifically on the moon.
There are many benefits and reasons, primarily the quantity and quality of light hitting the moon and that energy costs could consume most of the world's wealth.
If NASA led this charge to solve our energy dilemma, it would leave the near bottom of the public’s ‘interest list’ to rise to near the top.
Commercial use of Space should be another primary goal. The NASA funding debate continues because NASA has no broad, multi- industry backing except from NASA contractors.
The Constellation program is self-contained and only benefits NASA personnel and its subcontractors. It doesn’t seem to spin off new businesses that thread out throughout the rest of the country.
For example, the JSC and surrounding area is facing a difficult future. But it is the only area that is affected. If NASA’s focus was on incubating more commercial space activity, it would have more country support because its influence would be national and not super-regional.
Power transmission from the Moon: Successful Earth-moon power beams are already in use by the Arecibo planetary radar, operating from Puerto Rico.
Additionally, power relay satellites could receive a power beam from the moon and retransmit multiple beams to several rectennas on Earth
Synthetic-aperture radars, such as those flown on the Space Shuttle, have demonstrated the feasibility of multibeam transmission of pulsed power directed to Earth from orbit
PG&E in California [has already decided] to tap renewable energy using solar power in space from Solaren. It plans to generate the power using solar panels in earth orbit, then convert it to RF energy to be transmitted to a receiving PG&E station in Fresno County.
I see increased spending for technology and capability enhancement but little mention of projects to improve the nation’s strategic problems that can be solved by space investments, specifically extra-terrestrial solar power?
POSITION C LUNAR SOLAR POWER DEMONSTRATION PLANT Final Speech
Government’s responsibility is to do the things that need to be done, despite whether or not an immediate monetary payoff exists. Things that, in the long-term, are better for society.
The lunar solar power program would be immensely generative to science, jobs, technology, and finance, not to mention the biosphere.
Creating the launch infrastructure to go to the moon, the industrial engineering to live and build on the moon, the energy infrastructure development on the moon, in power satellites and for power reception and distribution on earth would provide trillions in multi-country economic development.
The moon itself contains a ready list of elements to make glass, fiberglass, and ceramics, and processed chemically into its elements. Solar cells, electric wiring, some micro-circuitry components, and the reflector screens can be made out of lunar materials.
The moon is ideal for solar arrays:
There is no air or water to degrade large area thin film devices
The high cost of transportation to and from the moon is cancelled out by sending machines and small factories to the moon
Products present in the lunar surface are silicon, iron, TiO2, etc. These products can be used as raw materials for solar cell fabrication
The Earth could be getting all of the electricity it needs using solar cells – on the moon. A Lunar Solar Power (LSP) System harnessing just 1% of the solar power hitting the moon, using arrays of solar cells on the lunar surface to beam energy back to Earth, could replace fossil fuel power plants on Earth.
Focusing NASA on the R & D to establish the basic LSP systems would be a watershed event in the dialog about the permanency of NASA’s contribution to the US. This program would support most of NASA human, robotic and launch interest, desires, and goals.
The LSP system will establish a permanent two-planet economy between the earth and the moon. The system can be built on the moon from lunar materials and operated on the moon and on Earth using existing technologies. The two-planet economy would be a revolutionary boon to the world economy.
The energy beamed to Earth is clean, safe, and reliable, and its source, the sun, is virtually inexhaustible.