All this week we’ve been talking about a proposal to build solar panels on the moon which, could transmit the sun’s energy to earth in the form of microwaves, and in the process provide us with a virtually unlimited source of power. Today some thoughts on what the impact of such a system might be. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.
“I think the lunar solar power system has to be very seriously considered and implemented for a whole range of reasons. The first is that the energy needs of the world are so great, thereâ€™s simply no other way to provide this low cost energy that enables industrial growth, and then at the same time, as far as I can tell, completely safe environmentally.”
David R. Criswell is the director of the Institute for Space Systems Operations at the University of Houston.
“That power, when it comes down to the Earth in the form of microwaves, is essentially non-polluting. Youâ€™re bringing industrial efficient photons down to the Earth. Use them to run your factories, light your home, run your cars. When theyâ€™ve done their job, they change back into photons, infrared, and go back into space. So youâ€™d have a completely clean, environmentally nurturing source of energy, rather than one that degrades the environment. Another thing which is longer range is that once you have integrated the moon into our economy, and it becomes a thing that we go to regularly, we find other uses for, then youâ€™ve opened up the solar system for the expansion of mankind off Earth. And youâ€™ve done it, not through getting money as we do now for your space programs, through the taxpayer, but by making it a profit center that enables this growth. So we’ve essentially taken the lid off of Earth, and people can start figuring out how to live beyond Earth.”
Although the microwaves would be targeted to restricted industrial areas, concerns have been expressed about the safety of beaming large amounts of microwave energy to Earth.
If you’d like to hear about our new Pulse of the Planet CD, please visit our website at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation.