Pentagon Scientists Send Solar Panel To Space To Collect Energy That Could Be Used On Earth. Solar energy is fast becoming a reliable energy source as it has been widely adopted. Solar energy has been proven to be a better source for energy than fossil fuels as it is environmentally friendly and sustainable because it is renewable. Fossil fuels release a lot of gasses that pollute the atmosphere and they are not a renewable resource. Some of the disadvantages of solar energy are that the cost of purchasing a solar system is very high and that it is weather dependent. Scientists working for the Pentagon have discovered a way to solve one of the disadvantages as they plan to put up solar panels in space where getting energy from the sun will not be weather dependent. The energy from the sun will be hitting the solar panels directly and the energy will be redirected back to earth. “Building hardware for space is expensive and those costs are in the last 10 years, finally starting to come down.” Paul Jaffe, a co-developer of the project told CNN.
“Some visions have space solar matching or exceeding the largest power plants today — multiple gigawatts — so enough for a city. The unique advantage the solar power satellites have over any other source of power is this global transmissibility. You can send power to Chicago and a fraction of a second later, if needed, send it instead to London or Brasilia.” said Jaffe.
The scientists have successfully tested a solar panel the size of a pizza box in space, designed as a prototype for a future system to send electricity from space back to any point on Earth. “On Earth, we have this pesky gravity, which is helpful in that it keeps things in place, but is a problem when you start to build very large things, as they have to support their own weight,” Jaffe said.
Even through this challenge the Photovoltaic Radiofrequency Antenna Module (PRAM), was launched attached to the Pentagon’s X-37B unmanned drone, to harness light from the sun to convert to electricity. The drone is now looping Earth every 90 minutes.