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Photo courtesy of NOAA.

Solar Panels: The Next Generation

 
Solar panels orbiting the Earth and beaming electricity back to the ground sounds Star Trek to me but it's close to happening. Mitsubishi Electric Corp. and IHI Corp. of Japan recently reached a $21 billion agreement to develop the technology with the hope of being "off the ground" in 30 years.

Unlike terrestrial solar power systems, the one gigawatt station will be able to generate electricity without being dependent on the weather. That's nice but it is noteworthy that launching something into space and beaming energy back to earth could be expensive. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency is planning on launching a small test satellite for the project in 2015. What do you think: Exciting or More Space-Junk?




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