Later this year the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is set to test their new microwave energy system, which is part of their Space Solar Power System (SSPS). This ground test — beaming microwave energy through the air to a rectenna microwave-to-electricity convertor — will be the first step in launching their new space-based energy system.
This audacious orbital power station system will feature geostationary satellites which unfurl 1.5-mile solar arrays and absorb energy that is then converted and beamed back to earth as concentrated microwave beams. Each satellite can produce a gigawatt of electricity and the sun never sets in space, so the power source is permanent with zero emissions. Another way of looking at it is that each satellite will be equivalent to more than two coal-based electric plants, which are the future of the Bush energy plan. This Japanese system is planned to be in operation by 2030.
What have we done lately?
I cannot comprehend why America doesn’t just laugh people like Bush out of office when they seriously propose the future of our energy policy lies in a return to 19th century coal factories. WTF? Talk about back to the future. Get a life.
While we diddle with our charcoal briquettes, nations like Japan are starting to leave us in the dust. Their robotics are more advanced and becoming publicly ubiquitous within their society. Meanwhile we try to figure out how to stop selling electric cars altogether, fire employees and cut their benefits to cut costs instead of improving products we sell, outsource our industries, and reuse the old leftover parts from the 1970s assembly lines instead of ever innovating. It is embarrassing.
Come one, America. Have some pride. Greatest nation on earth, remember? Get busy.
For more, read the JAXA SSPS pages for yourself, browse the July, 2008 Popular Science article “10 Audacious Ideas to Save the Planet,”* or check out this Pink Tentacle article, “JAXA testing space solar power system.”
* – Please note the visual trick on the PopSci illustration. They write about Japan but show the satellite beaming energy to Europe and Canada while hovering over a perfectly unobscured United States portion of North America. Nice not-so-subtle nationalism, guys. I think it would be nicer if we just worked on implementing the system ourselves.