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Wednesday, February 08, 2023

Beaming Solar Power From Space: A Really Bad Idea!


The European Space Agency is seriously considering options for beaming power from orbit to a location, presumably in Europe somewhere. Now, my first thought was that maybe you could use lasers, but of course those beams won't penetrate clouds. Furthermore, I can only imagine the slice that would put through the area under it should it ever get knocked out of position.

What are they planning, you ask? Microwaves! Yes that's right people! The very same waves you use in your kitchen to cook your food. Whereas a laser beam might need to be a few inches wide, a microwave beam...wait for it...this is gonna be good...would need to be about a kilometer wide!

We use microwave towers on Earth already for communications. Those relatively narrow beams kill 6.8 million birds per year. Those don't even have to be pointed down! How far away from everything can you even get in Europe? If there were no people anywhere around, what are the odds that there's lots of non-human life? Do we give a shit about non-human life? I mean is 6.8 million birds per year too high a price for good communications?

The great irony here is that they are doing this to save the planet! If I were a bird, I'd be thinking...wat! What aspect of the planet are we saving here and for whom? Do we know what a kilometer wide microwave beam will do to the atmosphere, let alone anything that happens between the beam site and the ground station?

Assuming that they ever even try this, I'm sure history will put it right along side firing people out of a canon into a net as a commuter transport system - possibly effective, but maybe a tad dangerous.

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