3 thoughts on “Remember ARPANET?”

  1. I wonder how much power you lose over the 36000 km back to the collecting station. Death ray jokes aside, can you even focus a beam on a collector over that distance? Or do you just beam at an area and put up spot collectors, letting the rest go to waste? You don’t need to collect much for a TV signal. Your power capacity on the surface, though, is gated by exactly how much of that beam you can collect.

    At least geosynchronous is more or less out of reach of anyone who would want to throw a bucket of sand on a retrograde collision course with this thing.

  2. I suspect if such a system were extremely very inefficient, it could still provide a lot of energy because, like, the Sun is totally big and everything.

  3. It’s definitely interesting and worth further study.

    The big question is: how long does a given panel have to function to break even on the production and shipping costs (energy, not cash). We’re not interested in energy, we’re interested in energy profits. 1 kw/h in, 10kw/h out, that sort of thing. A strategic military resource doesn’t have to answer to this equation; a commercial generator does.

    The sun is totally big and everything, and there’s lots of tasty solar flux at that altitude. You can also beam power to just about any point out to the system’s horizon. These are the advantages of this collector system. The disadvantage: we pay crazy physics taxes on everything we put up there, and on every joule beamed back. I’m really interested in how this compares to mounting the solar panels on your roof and using the energy/material/pollution budget of your launch to just make more panels.

    I wonder if you could sidestep the transmission issue by mounting this thing at the end of a space elevator =D

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