Thinking Big...

by Jonah Goldberg

I’m thinking these microwaves might be turned into laser energy and aimed at volcanoes … From a reader:

You asked:
 
“Last, about these Kazakhstan-sized solar panels, providing “virtually free” energy, which ecosystems would the reader like to see destroyed by 1,052,085 square miles of solar gadgetry?  That is ten Wyomings or four Texases  or nearly two Alaskas.”
 
A serious answer: the Moon’s equator.
 
A belt of solar panels around the Moon’s equator would always have half of its area exposed to sunlight, without attenuation from an atmosphere.  The electricity generated by that massive array of photovoltaic collectors would be converted to microwave energy to be relayed to Earth.  A belt about 20 kilometers wide would furnish enough power for all human needs at current consumption rates.
 
The materials to manufacture the solar panels are in the Moon’s crust.  What would be needed to realize this project would be the establishment of a small base on the Moon with equipment to extract needed materials from Moon rock and dust, and to use those materials to:
 
Fabricate building materials to expand the base and construct manufacturing capacity,
Supply the manufacturing plant to produce both the photovoltaic panels and the robotic systems to install and maintain them, and
Furnish oxygen and water to sustain a human population big enough to run the manufacturing facility.
 
It’s a shame that the President has decided that there’s no practical value in colonizing the Moon.  That shows a decided lack of vision and a misunderstanding of the practical potential of near-space exploration.
 
Best regards,

Update: Somebody’s already on the case.

Update II: I think someone has thought about these issues already, but still…:

nteresting idea. will be a hoot the first time a flock of birds flies into
that microwave beam from the moon, doncha think? think the dove scene
from “mars attacks!”

(there’s also the little matter of that beam heating the water vapor in the
air. and radio transmission would be a thing of the past. oh, yeah, and
pacemakers . . .)

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