The moon could be a promising home for solar energyDecember 2, 2013
Japanese firm announces ambitious plan concerning the moon
When it comes to solar power, it can be difficult to find a country that is more ambitious than Japan, especially now that the Shimizu Corporation, a Japanese architecture and engineering firm, has announced new plans concerning deriving electrical power from sunlight. The firm has plans to turn the moon into a massive solar power plant using an array of photovoltaic panels that will be called “Luna Ring.” In the past, there have been plans concerning collecting solar energy in space, but none of these plans have been so ambitious as to take root on an extraterrestrial body.
Luna Ring could generate 13,000TW of electricity
The Luna Ring is estimated to be some 6,800 miles long and 12 miles wide and would be wrapped around the moon’s surface. Installing the array of solar panels would not actually be done by humans, as Shimizu plans to use robots for the job, with humans filling supervisory roles. The firm suggests that the Luna Ring would be able to generate more than 13,000 terawatts of electrical power, which would be transmitted back to earth. The U.S. alone currently generates a total of 4,100 terawatts of electrical power.
Ambitious plan may not be feasible
Shimizu has announced a bold endeavor and whether or not it will ever come to fruition is difficult to say for certain. The firm has a great deal of faith in solar energy, claiming it to be the best option for the sustainability of the planet. The costs associated with the endeavor would, of course, be astronomical and it may be difficult to find investors given the unforeseeable challenges that exist beyond earth’s atmosphere.
Politics may determine whether or not the solar energy plan could ever come to fruition
Solar energy certainly has a great deal of support behind it, but whether that support would be enough to make Shimizu’s plan a viable option is impossible to say. The endeavor would not be something for Shimizu to pursue on its own, of course. In order to develop a solar energy system on the moon, the firm would have to encourage several world governments to get involved and the initiative would likely stagnate in the political field for several years before finding any significant progress.