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View Diary: Energy from the Moon (165 comments)

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  •  Non-problem (4.00)

    The antenna would wander a bit and fry anyone who was near the receiving station

    Not a problem, actually. Please feel free to have a read for yourself.

    I'll abstract one paragraph:

    What if the beam wanders off from the rectenna? The beam can't wander off target with a significant intensity because it needs constant feedback from the rectenna for focusing. (A phased-array system is necessary for successful focusing onto the rectenna at such distances.) If it wanders off, then it immediately defocusses and disperses to a tiny fraction of its operating intensity. It also can't be used as a weapon for this reason. Even if it were re-engineered to point anywhere with the same focussing, the transmitters would be designed to operate at a relatively benign frequency (e.g., 2.45 GHz) which would not pose a credible threat to anyone. Again, the only thing that will significantly absorb the 2.45 GHz frequency beam is a receiving antenna designed for it.

    Bush is yakking about the moon and mars so that he can reward his cronies

    There aren't any good words to say about the Bush space plan -- more technical incoherence and corporate welfare for the aerospace majors -- but don't rule out space-based resources on those grounds.

    Orbital solar power in particular holds tremendous promise in terms of being able to deliver a substantial amount of nonpolluting energy. (I agree with dmsilev downthread that it makes the most sense to collect solar power in orbit rather than on the Moon.)

    Although there have been design studies for solar power satellites going back to the 1970s, none of which have found any major infeasibilities, you won't have heard Bush say boo on the subject.

    A few reasons can be hypothesized. For one, Bush is as illiterate regarding technology as he is about every other subject of importance. For another, even if he were up on the topic, he is intertwined to an almost ludicrous extent with the barons of the fossil fuel economy. You won't have talk about alternatives to the same until they have squeezed out a few more decades worth of windfall profits from the last of the oil. (At which time it may be too late to develop and deploy effective alternatives.)

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