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China, the United States, Europe and Japan are developing space solar energy projects. According to reports, Beijing even plans to establish a labor system by 2030.

idea mr.capture solar energy by Huge solar panels in outer space And sending it to Earth using microwaves — which, among other things, science fiction writer Isaac Asimov wrote about — could become a reality.

As the Financial Times writes, China, the United States, Europe and Japan are already developing their projects. As reported by Chinese media, Beijing even plans to create a working system by 2030. In September, the UK government will indicate that it also wants to explore the potential of this technology. The results of a new study looking at how space solar energy can help the UK achieve a net zero economy by 2050 are now published.

Space solar power plants are better than corn

The report, prepared by consulting firm Frazer-Nash with the participation of European companies such as Airbus and Thales Alenia Space, states that solar power for space is not only technically feasible, but also that the cost of one megawatt-hour over its lifespan could be half what it is in the case of energy nuclear. On the other hand, if the private sector is to help cover costs, countries will also have to review the legal system regulating the use of space.

The Financial Times wrote that the 1967 Outer Space Treaty was “totally inadequate” for rapidly emerging business opportunities. Countries are now beginning to fill the void with their own laws of trade rights and obligations. “This could be a recipe for chaos,” warns Rachel O’Grady, partner at law firm Mayer Brown.

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It would be difficult for most countries to undertake such an endeavor on their own. Given that this technology could revolutionize the global climate crisis, this project makes a strong case for development in an international partnership.

course –It is cheaper to build solar farms on the ground. However, cosmic solar energy, unlike its terrestrial counterpart, can be delivered around the clock to any point on our planet. It can provide base load for generating capacity where reliable green options are limited.

Space infrastructure is getting more expensive

Until recently, it was very expensive to put such infrastructure in space. However, the Falcon missile SpaceX Elon Musk and smaller satellites changed this equation. A 2018 NASA study estimated that the typical cost of launch to orbit has fallen 20 times over the past decade.

Other technologies have also been developed. The New Zealand company is already testing wireless transmission of electricity over a distance of several kilometers. Currently the biggest challenge is the size of the satellite, which in the Fraser-Nash scenario is 1.7 km wide. Only such a scale ensures effective transmission of energy to the ground.

It may seem impossible. However, John Mankins, a former physicist at NASA, developed the concept of SPS-Alpha. According to his project, one satellite can consist of thousands of small units of solar energy, collected in space by robots, the technology of which is also rapidly developing.

However, there is no guarantee that cosmic solar energy will be economical. Even if costs increase, any innovation in areas such as energy transmission and robotics can pay off, even if solar satellites do not. Cosmic solar energy doesn’t have to remain science fiction, as commercial spaceflights have done in the past. Yes, there is a risk that promising technologies such as cosmic solar will not work. However, with proper encouragement and planning, this renewable energy source can still be in use in our lifetime.

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