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.
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.
Citizens for Space Based Solar Power
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!
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.
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.
- Gather up all plant and animal matter currently living on the earth and in the oceans.
- Bury it all between 7,500 and 15,000 feet underground, preferably beneath an ocean.
- Wait 300 to 400 million years.
- Drill down to it and pump it all back out of the ground.
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 ("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
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:
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
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.
Guy Pignolet from the Sunsat Energy Council gave an interesting presentation about Space Solar Power on 7 February 2008 at a recent LIFT08 Conference.
To see the presentation on the LIFT08 Conference website, click here: Space Solar Power by Guy Pignolet