Lunar Solar Power – Energy for the World
JM: According to the World Energy Council, the earth has enough resources to meet its current energy needs for about three or four more centuries. But as the developing nations of the world try to raise their standards of living, the available energy supply will diminish rapidly. One possible solution? Getting solar power from the moon. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.
DC: “If you try to bring the entire world population up to a standard of living that we’ve got in western Europe now, we do not have conventional resources, that would be coal, the oil, the natural gas, the raw uranium, that is adequate to meet that need for more than just a little bit more than this century.”
JM: David R. Criswell is the director of the Institute for Space Systems Operations at the University of Houston. He says that even if we could somehow make use of all available conventional energy resources, most developing nations couldn’t afford to pay for them.
DC: “Renewable energy – and the primary source of competitive renewable energy is the wind – is too expensive. Solar is far more expensive. And all of the other sources are essentially too small to meet the potential market needs.”
JM: Criswell thinks that solar energy may yet be the answer, but he says that the most cost effective way to gather it would be to set up solar arrays on the moon and transmit the energy to earth via microwaves.
DC: “The sun is essentially infinite as an energy resource. The question is, how do you make machines that are cheap enough, that live long enough, that they can deliver that solar energy to Earth, and that’s where the moon comes in. It should be able to deliver at least a hundred times more power than a prosperous world needs. And if you design your systems properly, you should be able to bring them into existence by about 2050. So about 2050, the entire world could be energy prosperous.”
JM: To hear about our new CD, please visit pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.