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Should the Moon Supply Earth With Electricity?

The global headcount is always increasing and we might crack the 8 billion mark as we speak. So the need for electricity is growing with it. Smaller nations like Costa Rica show us what can be done to transition from fossil fuels and go for renewables instead. Scaling up the combination of wind, solar or geothermal energy to satisfy the massive demand of electricity is hard, though, as recent history has shown us.

Maybe it’s time to tap into more radical and creative plans. Justin Lewis-Weber, a STEM enthusiast and recent high school grad from California, came up with an idea back in March. He’s into solar energy and tries to find ways to wrap his head around this field. In order to power the Earth as a whole we’d need to give up on a vast portion of land — an area the size of Nevada. Doesn’t sound that easy and didn’t sound feasible to Justin either.

His solution is involving another realm – The Moon. He’s suggesting that we should be using our nearby companion to create an army of self-replicating solar panels on it.
Justin’s plan involves deployed solar panels on the Moon, which of course would be orbiting Earth and enjoying full 24 hours of solar activity and productivity. The solar radiation could be converted into electricity first and microwave beams afterwards. An enormous microwave orbiting Earth beams the energy back to us, where receivers convert them into electricity again, and eventually power the world-wide grid.

“His solution is involving another realm – The Moon.”

While this might be a good idea for a high school science project, building the infrastructure on Earth and getting the equipment into space would be outrageously expensive. Lewis-Weber suggests making all the parts on the moon to begin with. The plan is landing a single or pair of robots on the lunar surface, who’s programmed to mine raw materials to construct the solar panels and also a copy of itself. This process would be repeated until the army of self-replicating lunar robots has produced enough solar panels to power the blue planet altogether.

In order to get the panels actually orbiting Earth and start the microwave beam, moon’s weak gravity and virtually nonexistent atmosphere are utilized. The energy amount needed for panels to escape the surface is much less (by far) than we think. Finally, the technology to achieve it, is just around the corner according to scientists.

Versions of of this exotic scheme have been advanced by other aerospace firms before. But Justin might have a good idea to begin with. Could this be one solution for endless electric energy for Planet Earth?

What do you think?

This story contains written and reprinted materials from Pionic. Materials may be edited for content and length.