Okay, okay…this article’s idea has been floating around for a few decades. Given, that in my imaging operations posts we’ve only talked about low earth orbiting (LEO) satellites, and imagery ones at that, there are a few issues with this that you might be acquainted with.
But the premise is right. You could set a satellite out there so that while it’s orbiting, it would always be in view of the Sun to capture all that energy that our atmosphere so readily eats up. But how do you get it down to the Earth?
The ground system for this thing would have to be comprehensive, depending on its orbit. And remember, ground systems are expensive. You want to constantly monitor this satellite, make sure everything’s okay all day long, if only because it could easily become a nice, big, energy bomb. You would have to have a way to dump all that energy in an emergency. Other satellites might be in the way of its “beaming” of energy back to the Earth. Lots of difficulties–but not insurmountable. Maybe if it were a space station (“That’s no moon!”), but there are all those Homer Simpsons of the world ready to unleash unintentional extinction on us.
What drives all this, I believe, is just the energy, and what that could do for our economies, way of life, and more. I don’t know how much oil subsidies are costing just the US of A, but I bet just trying this out would be less than those. Maybe if the USA just put a reward for beaming energy from space…
It would be worth the effort, and we’d learn a lot, if just the energy collection proves profitable (even if only just).