Wednesday, October 31, 2007

We can pollute in space...

Original Picture Credit
Photoshop by me

And suddenly, the Dyson Sphere doesn't seem so impossible...

The US Military has a small proposal: a space-based solar power station.

First and foremost, the question should be asked, "Why in the hell is this being done by the US Military? Why not NASA?" Well, the shot-callers in Arlington decided that energy independence is now an issue of national security.

So we're invading the moon? Wow, I didn't even know it had weapons of mass destruction.

Seriously though, why would the DoD be interested? Here's just a few reasons from this guy:

Immediate military tactical and operational needs:

1. Dramatically reduce the energy logistics train to forward operating bases and reduce the need to secure massive energy convoys and stores in:
-Disaster relief efforts
-Nation building efforts
-Combat zones

2. Beam power directly to vehicles in all operating media for the following reasons
-Reduce weight of carrying fuel
-Increase range and loiter time
-Eliminate need for refueling and reduce the need for refueling vehicles
-Reduce the need for consuming local energy supplies
-Reduce size and signature

3. Use SSP for liquifaction of carbon-neutral fuels for current generation of liquid-fueled systems
-Continue to exploit current liquid fuel infrastructure, using carbon neutral fuels
-Gain independence from foreign liquid fuel providers

Urgent national security strategic goals:

1. Assist in achieving national energy independence from current liquid fuel providers
-Reduce level of national interest in unstable regions
-Reduce national dependence on unfriendly foreign governments
-Reduce the risk of energy competition wars in the 21st Century

2. Assist allies in achieving their national energy independence
-Develop and strengthen broad international partnerships
-Participate in international energy consortia and alliances

3. Economic: Become an energy exporter
-Increase national ability to influence or avoid geopolitical events
-Increase GNP, wealth of the nation, and increase tax revenue
-Use energy earnings to pay off national debt

4. Environmental: Dramatically reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere
-Prevent food wars which might happen if global warming continues
-Enhance soft power and green credibility around the world
-Lead the international clean energy movement by example

OK, so the product has legitimate applications and is not, in fact, an invasion of the moon. I can see it now, like two big bug eyes circling the earth, harvesting solar rays in a "lock box" where they are converted into high-power density microwave beams back to earth. Like this:

Sound a little far-fetched? Well it needs to be, because whoever develops the technology will rule the world.

Lotttttttsssssss of money. Lotttttttsssssss of power. Lotttttttsssssss of women.

Brown hot women.

They estimate that just one of these bands will produce enough energy per annum to equal that of the entire oil reserve left on the planet (granted, this is an estimate from a bunch of guys that can't even get a missile shield working).

Still, I'm optimistic...not in my lifetime, but maybe when my one year-old son is on the verge of retirement.

From the website:

NSSO Backs Space Solar Power
Oct 11, 2007
Frank Morring, Jr./Aerospace Daily & Defense Report

Collecting solar power in space and beaming it back to Earth is a relatively near-term possibility that could solve strategic and tactical security problems for the U.S. and its deployed forces, the Pentagon's National Security Space Office (NSSO) says in a report issued Oct. 10.

As a clean source of energy that would be independent of foreign supplies in the strife-torn Middle East and elsewhere, space solar power (SSP) could ease America's longstanding strategic energy vulnerability, according to the "interim assessment" released at a press conference...

And the U.S. military could meet tactical energy needs for forward-deployed forces with a demonstration system, eliminating the need for a long logistical tail to deliver fuel for terrestrial generators while reducing risk for eventual large-scale commercial development of the technology, the report says.

Read more HERE.