Solar Power Satellites Closer
2007 was a year when Solar Power Satellites came closer to reality. Because of the lack of atmosphere, sunlight is about eight times more intense in orbit than on Earth's surface. SPS in geosynchronous orbit has been studied at least since Dr. Peter Glaser in 1968. This year it has been subject of a serious study by the US National Security Space Office, and a blog by Air Force Colonel "Coyote" Smith.
In September at a conference in Hyderabad, businessman Peter Reed proposed a receiving antenna on an uninhabited island in the Palau chain. At December's UN Climate Change Conference in Bali, Reed's partners described the idea further. Their plan would place an experimental satellite at 300-mile altitude, avoiding the difficulty of reaching geosynchronous orbit.
If scientists in 1907 had lectured about the future of energy it would have been about coal and oil, yet someone had already written E = mc^2. 40 years later we had atomic reactors and an atomic bomb. First we must go beyond dead ends like "dark energy." The power of free thinking will lead to technological surprises.
If tiny Black Holes can be contained in an orbiting laboratory, their energy could be tapped. Even nuclear fusion converts only 0.7% of fuel into energy. A Black Hole converts matter into radiation with 2 orders of magnitude greater efficiency, approaching total conversion. The food that a human eats in a year could provide all the electricity needs of the United States! Any sort of mass could be used for fuel, even old AOL disks and issues of National Geographic.
Solar Power satellites have not been deployed because of the immense construction costs. An SPS constellation powering the US would require 30-40 satellites, each with kilometers of solar arrays. Note how much trouble it has been constructing one space station in low Earth orbit. Black Hole energy would require just one satellite without all those solar panels! The power of thought is far greater than anything humans have imagined.