The growing needs of earthlings for energy can be satisfied by space. For that to happen, solar power plants are supposed to be installed in the planet's orbit. The idea is reminiscent of science fiction: giant-sized solar stations smoothly move through space and transfer huge amounts of energy to the Earth. That concept was developed back in the 1920 by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky. And that theory has long inspired science fiction writers.
A century later, the scientists found a real application of the theory. The European Space Agency believes that it has great potential and a ray of energy from space is the future of the Earth. A climate change on the planet can radically change the production and consumption of energy.
In recent years, the renewable energy technologies have developed rapidly, increasing their efficiency and decreasing costs. But the main disadvantage is that they do not provide a constant supply of energy. A possible way to create it is to generate solar energy directly in space. Such a station can revolve around the Sun constantly, and solar cells above the atmosphere will receive more sunlight and produce a lot of energy.
The problem of implementing this idea is to assemble, launch and deploy bulky structures in space. According to the preliminary data, the area of one structure can be up to 10 square kilometers. It is the equivalent of 1400 soccer fields. For that, the lightest materials should be used, but the decisive costs will be technologies for launching the station into space.
One proposal is to create thousands of satellites that will orbit a large solar generator above the Earth. Three years ago, the researchers at the University of California proposed a modular power plant project. It consists of thousands of ultra-light solar panels.
They also showed off a prototype tile weighing just 280 grams per square meter, it is about the weight of a single playing card. Today, a simpler option is being considered as printing construction details on a 3D printer.
It can create a solar sail that has an excellent reflective membrane and the ability to fold and move without fuel. According to the experts, in the future, such devices, will be able to provide energy not only to the Earth, but also to the Moon.