Posted On Friday, May 27, 2011 at 06:20:39 AM
Tokyo: It sounds like something out of a science fiction movie — a huge swathe of the moon covered with solar panels to beam captured energy back to Earth. But plans to turn the moon into a gigantic mirrorball manned by robots to provide all the Earth’s energy came a step closer to reality on Wednesday when they were unveiled by Japanese scientists, reports Daily Mail.
How it will work
The ambitious project would result in 13,000 terawatts of continuous solar energy being transmitted back to receiving stations on Earth, either by laser or microwave.
The firm behind the concept
Japanese construction giant Shimizu Corporation’s research division said the project would result in a 6,800 mile-long band stretching around the light side of the moon’s equator. It would measure up to 248 miles in width and feature 12 mile-wide antennae to transmit the power.
Quest for alternate energy
The quest for finding alternate energy sources has been hastened in Japan in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear power station crisis sparked by the tsunami in March this year. No intended timeline for the project — which would result in the biggest public infrastructure installation ever constructed — has been announced.
But Shimizu Corporation said on its website: “A shift from economical use of limited resources to the unlimited use of clean energy is the ultimate dream of all mankind. The Luna Ring, our lunar solar power generation concept, translates this dream into reality through ingenious ideas coupled with advanced space technologies.”
“Virtually inexhaustible, non-polluting solar energy is the ultimate source of green energy that brings prosperity to nature as well as our lives. Shimizu Corporation proposes the Luna Ring for the infinite coexistence of mankind and the Earth.”
The moon and its resources
The firm says the project would eliminate inefficiency due to bad weather and meet the world’s energy needs. The plans call for astronauts to return to the moon and begin work with the help of robots that will be required to level the highly-cratered surface.
It claims the soil on the moon can be used to make water, concrete, oxygen and ceramics necessary for the project. Construction of a railway system to convey materials for maintenance would also be a feature of the project.