While on the surface of the Earth, society still struggles to adopt solar energy solutions, many scientists maintain that giant, space-based solar farms could provide an environmentally-friendly answer to the world’s energy crisis.
Only last week, we reported that China was planning to build the world’s first solar power station to be positioned in Earth’s orbit. Because the sun always shines in space, an orbital solar power station is seen as an inexhaustible source of clean energy.
“Above the Earth, there’s no day and night cycle and no clouds or weather or anything else that might obstruct the sun’s ray, so a constant power source is available,” said Ali Hajimiri, professor of electrical engineering at the California Institute of Technology and co-director of the university’s Space Solar Power Project.
Collecting solar power in space and wirelessly transmitting was first described by Isaac Asimov in 1941 in his short story Reason. In 1968, American aerospace engineer Peter Glaser published the first technical article on the concept – Power From The Sun: Its Future in the journal Science.