Wrote My Congressmen

After receiving an open letter from Delta Airlines this evening, I sent the following letter to my congressional representatives, via the stopoilspeculationnow.com website.

Dear Senator Chambliss, Senator Isakson and Representative Gingrey:

As one of your constituents from Marietta, Georgia, I am using the messaging function on stopoilspeculationnow.com to contact you but I won’t bore you with just another copy of their starter letter. I am very concerned and passionate about our energy future, and below I will offer a much longer term, potentially game-changing solution for your consideration.

High prices and dependency on foriegn sources for energy are threatening our economy and security and I strongly urge Congress to act immediately to take positive steps towards a secure, clean energy future for all Americans.

I do believe we need to increase domestic supply, exploration, alternative energy sources and conservation, but expanded use of domestic sources of fossil fuels must be seen as only a bridge to our energy future, not a solution. We also must protect legal commodities speculation and eliminate the possibility of any illegal or harmful practices.

For the long term future solution, I am a self-appointed advocate for the immediate and large scale development of space-based solar power. Large solar panels would be put into orbit, where they would receive intense sunlight 24/7/365. This energy would be broadcast to receiving antennas (rectennas) on earth in the form of electromagnetic radiation at frequencies that would not be hampered by clouds or dust in the atmosphere. This energy would be converted to conventional electricity and connected directly to the existing power grid for distribution.

This will be a complex and expensive engineering project with many beneficial offshoots in terrestrial alternative energy and space exploration technologies. I have much more information and many links on a website titled Citizens for Space Based Solar Power (c-sbsp.org).

While this idea has existed since the 1960’s, it is very disappointing that space-based solar power isn’t at least a part of the worldwide conversation on moving our energy outlook towards a sustainable future.

Rob Mahan
Citizens for Space Based Solar Power

Allianz Knowledge Website – Comment Posted

07/08/2008 Update: My comment was indeed published on the Allianz Knowledge website, below the article titled “Solar Energy Profile: Straight from the Source“.


This afternoon, I posted the following comment on the Allianz Knowledge website, in a section on Energy and CO2 at the end of an article titled “Solar Energy Profile: Straight from the Source“. A quote from the main website stated “Allianz Knowledge focuses on Climate Change, Microfinance, and Demographic Change. These topics are vital to our business – and to our world.” I found the website to have a great deal of information regarding the energy situation we face.

I will let you know if I hear back from the website’s editors and if they decide to publish some or all of my comment.

My Comment:

Our Sun is ultimately the source of all forms of energy we consume. Solar power is nearly a direct form, while fossil fuels took as long as 400 million years to collect and convert the Sun’s energy that they store.

I am a self-appointed advocate for the immediate and large scale development of space-based solar power. Large solar panels would be put into orbit, where they would receive intense sunlight 24/7/365. This energy would be beamed to receiving antennas (rectennas) on earth in the form of electromagnetic radiation at frequencies that would not be hampered by clouds or dust in the atmosphere. This energy would be converted to conventional electricity and connected directly to the existing power grid for distribution.

This will be a complex and expensive engineering project with many beneficial offshoots in terrestrial alternative energy and space exploration technologies. I have much more information and many links on a website titled Citizens for Space Based Solar Power (c-sbsp.org).

While this idea has existed since the 1960’s, it is very disappointing that space-based solar power isn’t at least a part of the worldwide conversation on moving our energy outlook towards a sustainable future.

Best regards,

Rob Mahan
Citizens for Space Based Solar Power

Letter to Senator Obama

This evening I submitted the following letter to Senator Obama through the Other Thoughts and Questions page on his campaign website. I will continue to contact both campaigns on the topic of space-based solar power for the duration of the election season.

I would once again encourage each of you to contact our presidential candidates and everyone else that you can think of and present them with space-based solar power. Before we can hope to see it included in anyone’s plan for a clean energy future, we must break through and make it a part of our national conversation.

Senator Obama,

I have read your plan for a clean energy future and I agree that is what our national goal must be, in very general terms. I also agree with the need for major national investment in commercial-scale renewable energy technologies and extensive research and development. I am very concerned, however, on several key aspects of your plan. A key part of your plan appears to hinge on biofuels, which depend on a huge amount of input energy, fertilizers and pesticides to produce significant quantities and often carry the unintended negative consequences to our food sources that we are now starting to see worldwide. Your plan’s emphasis on global warming remediation is also of great concern to me. I personally believe that the warming trend that is being detected is only minorly anthropogenic and the huge investments you are proposing will have only a minor effect on the trend many years in the future. Lastly, your plan’s emphasis on mandated efficiency improvements will cost the taxpayers dearly and mostly serve to facilitate an ever increasing total energy consumption. Significantly missing from your energy plan are efforts to exploit untapped domestic fossil fuel caches, which I believe we are going to need as an “energy bridge” to that clean energy future. It is going to take a huge amount of energy in the next 20 to 50 years to develop the new energy technologies and infrastructures that are required to carry our civilization forward.

I would offer a clean, sustainable and scalable solution with great potential known as space-based solar power. Large arrays of solar panels would be put in geosynchronous orbit to collect intense solar energy 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This energy would be transported to the surface of the planet in the form of low intensity microwave beams, where it would be collected by rectifying antennas (rectennas), converted to electricity and channeled directly into the existing power distribution grid. Once in place, the input energy required is practically nothing compared to the steady stream of clean, renewable and scalable energy output. My website, Citizens for Space Based Solar Power (c-sbsp.org), has a good amount of information on this technology and links to many other great resources and groups.

The National Security Space Office published an updated report on the feasibility of this technology in October of 2007. While space-based solar power will be a complex and costly engineering project, no major technical or scientific breakthroughs are needed. The huge increase in oil prices since then makes the business case for exploring space-based solar power that much more attractive.

I invite you to learn more about space-based solar power and strongly consider making it a key aspect of your proposal for a clean energy future.

Respectfully,

Rob Mahan
Marietta, Georgia

Letter to Glenn Beck – Energy Moon Shot

This evening, I listened to Glenn Beck outlining both presidential candiates’ plans for our energy future which include highlights such as restoring U.S. leadership on climate change and a gas tax holiday. Hey, I’m always up for a holiday but I had to agree with Beck’s assessment of both candidate’s energy plans and his call for a moon shot. He said:

Here`s “The Point” tonight. Could we please get a candidate who will cut through all the bull crap, and give us a moon shot before it`s too late? Somebody in Washington needs to do something. And what I`d like them to do is get the hell out of way …”

I submitted the following note to Glenn Beck through his website’s Contact page. Help me let all these folks with a national voice know about space based solar power and ask them for their help in getting the technology and its potential in front of the American people.

Glenn,

Space-based solar power could very well be the moonshot you mentioned tonight. We have the technology to collect solar energy with solar power satellites, beam it to rectifying antennas (rectennas) on earth in the form of low power microwaves and connect it directly to the existing electric power grid for distribution. It is a complex and expensive engineering project but it would provide unlimited, clean energy. It could eventually be scaled up to provide a major portion of the world’s energy needs. But we need to get started and you can help get the word out to the politicians and the public. There is a lot more information and links to resources on Citizens for Space Based Solar Power (http://c-sbsp.org). Please help get the word out about this potentially game-changing technology.

Rob Mahan
Citizens for Space Based Solar Power
Marietta, GA

Letter to Senator McCain

This evening I submitted the following letter to Senator McCain through the Contact Us page on his campaign website. I will be writing Senator Obama a similar letter in the next few days. This is not the first and will not be the last time I have contacted both campaigns on the topic of space-based solar power.

I would encourage each of you to contact our presidential candidates and everyone else that you can think of and present them with space-based solar power. As in sales, you may hear “no” many times but it only takes one “yes” to close the deal. If you are the one to get that “yes”, what a legacy you will leave behind for future generations!

Senator McCain,

It gives me great concern that Energy is not listed as a separate topic under Issues on your campaign website. Americans would not have a constantly growing economy, national security or even an adequate food supply without a huge and ceaseless supply of energy from fossil fuels. We have relied heavily on both domestic and foreign oil to grow and run our economy, power our military and our tractors for far too long. I am very concerned that the current crude oil and gasoline prices are only a harbinger of what is to come. If worldwide oil production has not already peaked, it will peak and begin a rapid decline sometime in the next few decades. Our way of life and security will suffer greatly and for a very long time without a ready and sustainable replacement.

I believe this is an outside context problem that most Americans don’t even have a way to discuss, let alone solve without leadership. Please give some straight thinking and then some straight talk to how critical our current energy situation really is and what we must marshall ourselves to do about it.

I would offer a clean, sustainable and scalable solution with great potential know as space-based solar power. My website, Citizens for Space Based Solar Power (c-sbsp.org), has a good amount of information on this technology and links to many other great resources and groups.

The National Security Space Office published an updated report on the feasibility of this technology in October of 2007. While space-based solar power will be a complex and costly engineering project, no major technical or scientific breakthroughs are needed. The huge increase in oil prices since then makes the business case for exploring space-based solar power that much more attractive.

Thank you for your service to our nation and for your attention to this matter of critical importance to our future.

Respectfully,

Rob Mahan
Marietta, Georgia

Solution to Fossil Fuel Depletion Problem

Creative Commons Copyright 2007 - Jason Skinner

I don’t know why no one has thought of this simple, five step solution to the looming fossil fuel depletion problem facing the world. It’s simple, sustainable and I’m going to share it with the entire world right here, right now … for free.

  1. Gather up all plant and animal matter currently living on the earth and in the oceans.
  2. Bury it all between 7,500 and 15,000 feet underground, preferably beneath an ocean.
  3. Wait 300 to 400 million years.
  4. Drill down to it and pump it all back out of the ground.
  5. Repeat.

Follow these five simple steps and we will have a never-ending series of 150 year supplies of cheap, abundant fossil fuel.

(Implementing space-based solar power would actually be cheaper, quicker, environmentally friendlier and every bit as sustainable … if we do it before the current 150 year supply of now-not-so-cheap fossil fuel runs out.)

Ad Astra Special Report – Space-Based Solar Power

Ad Astra ("to the stars"), the award winning magazine of the National Space Society (NSS), has recently published a special report covering space-based solar power (SBSP). This richly illustrated special report explains the technologies behind SBSP in an easy to understand way. Included is a fascinating conversation with Dr. Pete Glaser, now 84 and considered the father of the space-based solar power concept.

A large portion of the special report details the efforts of the Space-Based Solar Power Study Group who, in conjunction with the National Space Security Office (NSSO), published Space-Based Solar Power As an Opportunity for Strategic Security – Phase 0 Architecture Feasibility Study in October of 2007.

This special report includes the following five articles which discuss the potential for space-based solar power, with looks at its history, its current strategic importance and ways forward to make it a reality.

  • ENERGY FROM ORBIT – John C. Mankins
  • AN ENERGY PIONEER LOOKS BACK – William Ledbetter
  • STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE – Space-Based Solar Power Study Group
  • A NEW COALITION – Arthur Smith
  • ON THE MOON – Al Globus

Related Links

Sir Arthur C. Clarke : 90 Orbits Around the Sun

I shed a tear as I read the obituary of Sir Arthur C. Clarke yesterday. He regaled us with science fiction stories based on fantastic ideas of our future, both on and off the planet. He provided scientific commentary to us during the exciting days of Apollo moon missions, alongside Walter Cronkite. And he has given us many scientific ideas which have become realities like communication satellites, geosynchronous orbits and the space station. Sir Arthur also recently lent his support to the Google Lunar X-Prize competition.

When personal computers would barely fit in your living room let alone on your desk and the Internet was known only to a handful of DARPA researchers as ARPANET, I read a passage in 2001:A Space Odyssey that has stuck with me for over 30 years. It wasn’t even part of the story. It was a short note at the end of the book that said “The entire manuscript for this book was sent from Sri Lanka to my publisher in New York City on a single 5-1/4 inch floppy disk.” At that moment, I realized that if I one day become a writer, I could live and work from anywhere in the world. Little did I know what was to come … but I’ll bet Sir Arthur did.

Sir Arthur C. Clarke left us with three wishes:

“I would like to see some evidence of extra-terrestrial life.”
“I would like to see us kick our addiction to oil and adopt clean energy sources.”
“I dearly wish to see lasting peace established in Sri Lanka.”

He ends his 90th Birthday Reflections video with this quote from Rudyard Kipling:

The Appeal

If I have given you delight
By aught that I have done,
Let me lie quiet in that night
Which shall be yours anon:

And for that little, little span
The dead are borne in mind
Seek not to question other than
The books I leave behind.

Rudyard Kipling, 1939

1975 NASA JPL Goldstone Demonstration of Wireless Power Transmission

The June 5, 1975 NASA JPL Goldstone Demonstration of high power long distance wireless power transmission successfully transmitted 34kw of electrical power a distance of 1.5km at an efficiency of greater than 82%. At the time, it was the world record for high power long distance wireless power transmission.