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China plans solar energy in the universe left NASA a few decades ago



John Mankins spent his professional life working on new ideas that could change the way people use technology in space, solar energy among them. But Mankins's interplanetary thinking has gone beyond the way solar energy is already used to power the satellite and the International Space Station. During his 25-year career in NASA and CalTech's jet-powered laboratories, he designed several concepts for expanding the use of solar space in space, including an interplanetary transport vehicle for solar energy and an energy-based space-based system.

This is the second idea, which has particularly attracted Mankins attention while holding top-level research positions in NASA during the 1990s and 2000s, including the $ 800 million research group research and technology research system. Mankini – now running their private airline company, Artemis Innovation Management Solutions – were tasked to find out if there was a way to deliver the planet's electricity, transmitting it from the universe. It is an idea that could fundamentally transform the idea of ​​utility companies – and give control over it, at a global level, no matter which world power arrives there first.

"If you can dramatically reduce the cost of solar space, you can take most of the energy market in the world," said Mark Hopkins, a member of the Board of Directors of the National Space Society and former CEO of RAND Corp.

Mankins approached the idea that the idea became a reality, with the support of the Bush White House and the Congress in 2000, and a positive critique of the National Academy of Science and the National Security Unit within the Ministry of Defense. But the program never flew for various reasons. So, when the news recently published that the idea – abandoned for decades by NASA – returned to life with the great push of the government, this was a cause for excitement. But NASA finally does not support the idea. It's the Chinese government.

<p tipe = "tekt" content = "China's ambitions in space are opposed to the ambitions of the United States. Its two main goals are originally human flights (achieved in 2003) and the permanent Chinese space station, which approximation of reality – At the beginning of March, it announced that a human-made space station, similar to the ISS, is now scheduled for 2022, sooner than expected. "Data-reactid =" 36 "> China's ambitions in space are opposed to the US, the first human flight in space (accomplished in 2003) and the permanent Chinese space station that is approaching reality – in early March it announced that a space station with human an ISS-like crew, now planned for 2022, sooner than expected.

As two geopolitical enemies increasingly draw attention to the technological and military race outside the Earth's atmosphere, solar-based projects based on the universe are overlooked, often criticized ideas. However, since China recently announced that in the coming decade it is expected to complete the high-voltage power transmission and wireless energy tests that will be required for the space-based solar system, the concept is likely to gain new attention.

<p tipe = "tekt" content = "All plans in the space race have potential implications for the new build of the military in a growing sense for world powers." In February, the Trump administration formalized plans for the US branch of the army known as Space Force plans for solar power plants China includes the launch of small and medium-sized solar power plants in a stratosphere for electricity generation between 2021 and 2025, followed by a solar-powered solar power plant that can produce at least one megawatt of electricity in 2030, and a commercial data-reactid = "38"> All plans in the space race have potential implications for building a new army in a growing importance for world powers. Formulated plans in February for a US military unit known as the Space Force Plans of solar power plants that China is considering include the launch of small and medium solar energy projects in the stratosphere for electricity generation between 2021 and 2025. A solar-powered solar power plant that can produce at least one megawatt of electricity in 2030 and a solar power plant in the commercial range by 2050.

"The dramatic interest of the Chinese will do much to cause interest," Mankins said. "About ten years ago, the Chinese began to seriously work on it, and about five years ago they started coming to international meetings, before they were in the dark. Now they come out of the shadows and talk about it more openly." He added: "At this moment there is absolute progress of the Chinese. This is not posturing: this is a real plan of serious organizations with respected scientists in China." They have a perfectly good technical plan, and they can do so by 2030, "Mankins described a small solar energy project that produces megawatts of electricity, but not a commercial project that is in to produce the gigawats needed to compete with utility companies. "

A space solar power plant will capture solar energy that never comes to the planet and use laser beams to send energy back to Earth to meet energy needs. China said in a recent project announcement that the great advantage of solar-based space-based energy is its ability to offer energy supplies on a constant basis and with greater intensity than terrestrial solar farms.

One of the problems with renewable energy projects such as solar and wind power plants is their intermittence – this relates to the fact that the sun does not shine and that the wind does not blow 24 hours a day, limiting the time periods during which these projects can be the source of energy production.

Slide from the presentation Chinese scientists in South Korea showed an early idea for a solar energy project in a space that could transmit energy to Earth.

Solar energy based on the universe would not only offer a solution to interruptions, but also delivery. Today, electricity production in the region is regional, if not local, but electricity produced in the universe and near the equator could be transferred almost everywhere in the world, except for the sexes. "You could transfer electricity from Canada to Tierra del Fuego in the south of South America from satellites at the equator," Mankins said. Around a billion people live in the Americas.

Hopkins said that the current Chinese attitude is: "We want to be the main dominant force in the solar energy of the universe by 2050. It has the potential to really turn geopolitics into our favor if we are the leader, so let's take a serious look at it." In the meantime, the United States says: "Are you kidding?

A new life for a "losing proposal" t

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-tekt" Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm "type =" tekt "content =" Idea the collection of solar energy in the universe was popularized by the author of the science fiction Isaac Asimov in 1941 in a short story that envisioned space stations that can transmit energy from the sun to other planets with microwave beams. In 1968, Asimov's vision came closer to reality when an American space engineer named Peter Glaser wrote the first formal proposal for a solar system in the universe. After experimenting with the transport of solar energy in the 1970s, Glaser was able to contract with NASA to fund research. However, the project has undergone changes in federal administrations, and only in 1999 NASA's Research and Technology Solar Energy Research Program again entered into the study of this issue. "Data-reactid =" 69 "> The idea of ​​collecting solar energy in space in 1941, the popular author of science fiction, Isaac Asimov, imagined in space the space stations that could transmit energy from the sun to other planets with microwaves. He wrote the first formal proposal for a solar-powered system in space, after experimenting with the transport of solar energy in the 1970s, Glaser was able to contract with NASA to fund research until 1999. NASA is a research and technology program for a solar energy research jumped back to study this issue.

Finally, "NASA did not want to do it," Mankins said. But much has changed, especially with regard to cost equations and rapid advances in technologies such as robotics.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-tekt" Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm "type =" tekt "content =" NASA representative said that he is currently not exploring space It uses solar energy that is used on Earth and explores several advanced energy and energy technologies that enable long-term human exploration of the Moon and Mars, such as its & nbsp;Kilopover project, a small, light nuclear fission system that could supply future offices on the Moon to support astronauts, rovers and surface operations. It is expected that this project will move from next year testing on earth Data-reactid = "71"> A NASA spokesman said that he is currently not exploring solar-based space-based space for Earth, but is researching several advanced energy and energy technologies that enable long-term use of the Moon and Mars Human Exploration, such as his the Kilopover project, a small, light nuclear fission system that could supply future offices on the Moon to support astronauts, rovers and surface operations. testing on a mission in space.

Historically, the price of launching the rocket and the weight that would be required for a project of this size made the idea of ​​solar energy based on the universe insurmountable. There are scientists who still hold that view.

"The energy, mass and cost budgets involved have shown that this is a losing proposition, not just now but perhaps for centuries in the future," said Olivier L de Veck, professor of aeronautics, astronautics and engineering systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "The energy we need to start the mass needed for the SBSP [spaced-based solar power] The station is so huge that we will never make up for it. "

A concept designed by John Mankins aerospace engineer for a space solar project called SPS-ALPHA. Mankins worked for NASA before he returned to the private sector and created several solar-based space-based space agencies, from the Solarni kliper interplanetary transport vehicle to the Solar Solar System.

Mankins said the view became quickly out of date due to a dramatic reduction in missile launch costs through efforts funded by billionaires, including Tesla's founder Elon Musk, SpaceKs and founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin. In the meantime, developments in robotics and modular production – capable of producing many small modular parts to create a whole rather than a huge piece of equipment – could lead to economical ways to build these projects in orbit without the need to build multi-billion dollars factory in the universe. He cited a major revision by the federal government in 1981, which, when viewed in today's dollars, would cost up to $ 1 trillion to deliver the first kilowatt-hour of solar energy from the universe. "The whole program was killed in the US," he said.

Now research has been carried out on the feasibility of aging decades and is simply no longer relevant for the debate, Mankins said. "Whenever a senior scientist tells you that something can be done, they are almost certainly right. When they tell you that this can not be done, he or she may be wrong."

"We had a revolution in robotics, robots, and robots for warehouses that did not exist. Earlier, the whole thing had to be built as an enormous system, a huge thing like the shipyard of an airplane carrier in the universe for the creation of a huge facility of 10,000 tons, not 10 million small units each weighing a few pounds and can use mass production. "We no longer need an incredibly large factory in the universe and hundreds of astronauts to merge it. The whole world, except for the space program, switched to massively produced modular network devices. it was unthinkable 40 years ago, but suddenly it's physically, technically and economically feasible. "

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-tekt" Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm "tipe =" tekt "content =" Americans returning the idea to date Group from the California Institute of Technology claims to have created a prototype capable of capturing and transmitting solar energy from the universe using light tiles, sponsored $ 17.5 million for research with Northrop Grumman. Weight has always been a key issue that needs to be solved, since the costs of launching rockets were based on the weight of the cargo. Thin solar panels are light, reducing the cost of launching. Although launching costs are lowering, this may be less than the problem at hand. A thin film can also have a structural advantage in space – less weight is not a problem in a non-gravity environment. "Data-reactid =" 97 "> American scientists are dealing with the idea to this day. Technology claims to have created a prototype capable of collecting and transmitting solar energy from the universe using light tiles, a work sponsored by a research contract worth 17, $ 5 million with Northrop Grumman The thin-layer solar panels are light, reducing the cost of launching, but as the cost of launching is lowering, it can be less than the problem of creating or breaking down space – less weight is no problem in the environment without gravity.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-tekt" Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm "type =" tekt "content =" Other peoples are studying the concept. In Europe, scientists are working on additional concepts for solar energy in space JAKSA, an exploration agency for space research, explores how to overcome technological barriers, such as wireless power transmission technology and robotic assembly technology. "data-reactid =" 98 "> In India and Europe, scientists are researchers. Japanese JAXA, an exploration agency for space exploration, is exploring how to overcome technological barriers, such as microwave wireless power transfer technologies and robotic technology for assembly.

The US Army began to explore this idea

The most important US efforts being undertaken today are probably those led by the US military, which in its current fiscal year received $ 178 million for exploring solar-based solar energy.

For military solar energy, based on space, major problems with the supply of electricity at distant locations could be solved, as in Afghanistan, where the fuel supply to the base means driving a truck loaded with combustible gasoline over enemy territory. Solar energy emitted from the universe would also offer new methods for powering their operations, charging huge battery packs that soldiers wear today, as they have so many electronic devices, and could lead to increased use of more electric vehicles. "Everything the army does will push the technology, and CalTech gets too busy with thin film cells, and this job is doing well," Hopkins said.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defense said that DoD routinely conducts research to explore concepts such as solar-based space, but at the time did not have the details it could provide.

One of the reasons for the concern about the concept is the idea that these projects are really secret efforts to develop a laser based space-based spacecraft. Mankins said that these fears are based on real physics, but they are not supported by the reality of the monitoring of military equipment by world powers. Високофреквентни ласери би могли бити концентрирани да служе као оружје, али било која опрема с том сврхом би била очигледна у његовој конструкцији, а то је конструкција која се лако прати са Земље. "Ако погледате оклопна возила са митраљезима у односу на камионет Форд Ф150, разлика би била видљива са земље, чак и ако постоје неке сличности", рекао је Манкинс. "Видели бисте нешто што је изгледало као Хуббле телескоп."

Ризици соларне енергије у простору

Хјуз је рекао да одлазак у свемир и пресретање сунчеве светлости која би иначе прошла поред Земље, може да загреје температуру у нашој атмосфери, иако је додао да овај ефекат зависи од величине соларног колектора у простору.

"Ако је план да се захвати соларна енергија у свемиру, то значи да се укупна количина сунчеве енергије која иде у земљу повећава, што повећава температуру Земље", рекао је Хјуз. "Сада наравно да то зависи од тога колико енергије се уноси. То само постаје проблем када се површина соларних конектора у свемиру упореди са величином земље."

Манкинс је рекао да постоје значајни ризици за планету који се морају узети у обзир, укључујући повећање температуре и нежељене последице за различите облике живота. "Постоји разлог због којег птице воле да седе на жицама." Али није другачије што се брину о УВ зрацима, а забринутост је "непозната луталица".

Он је рекао да дужина микроталаса за ове пројекте не представља значајан здравствени ризик. Он је такође детаљно проучио аргумент о глобалном загревању и рекао да је чињеница да енергија која зрачи из свемира до земље има утицај на површинске температуре. Али када погледате колико је ефикасна испорука сунчеве енергије из свемира у односу на додатну производњу енергије из угља, природног гаса или дизела, резултирајуће емисије гасова стаклене баште су још много ниже.

Мицхаел Биерс, професор на Одсјеку за политичке науке на Универзитету Бритисх Цолумбиа Ванцоувер каже да је највећи проблем за овај концепт можда питање времена. Системи засновани на свемиру могли би бити могући за неколико деценија, али системи засновани на Земљи већ су достигли фосилна горива у смислу трошкова и ефикасности. "Соларне панеле можете поставити било гдје. Кровови су најочитија локација, ау неким јурисдикцијама све нове зграде морају имати соларне низове. Многи мали пројекти су бољи од неколико великих, јер пружају већу отпорност на кварове опреме и временски догађаји ", рекао је Биерс.

<п цласс = "цанвас-атом цанвас-тект" Мб (1.0ем) Мб (0) – см Мт (0.8ем) – см "типе =" тект "цонтент =" Хопкинс је рекао да је конкуренција цена из генерације засноване на Земљи С обзиром да цијене падају на соларну технологију на терену, оне падају на соларну енергију која би се користила иу свемиру. може искористити велику разлику у цијени на комуналном тржишту.
"дата-реацтид =" 110 "> Хопкинс је рекао да је конкуренција цена из генерације комуналних услуга на Земљи стваран проблем, али није непремостив.Као што цене падају на соларну технологију на терену, оне падају на соларну енергију која би се користила у свемиру Као и свемирска соларна енергија – јер може да преноси електричну енергију било гдје у свијету – може искористити велику разлику у цијени на тржишту комуналних услуга.

Сунчев систем базиран на свемиру може да се усредсреди на места као што су Јапан или Хаваји, где цене струје могу бити четири до пет пута цене у целом САД-у, а затим могу да пређу на јефтиније тржиште електричне енергије касније када се соларни пројекат плати. "То је војно размишљање. Новац који шаљете удаљеним војним базама може касније да плати за ту технологију. У будућности се враћа инвестиција која не захтева слање струје у Лос Ангелес данас."

Али критичари остају увјерени да је то идеја која ће остати у свијету Асимових прича.

"Концепт соларне сунчеве енергије је и остаће у домену научне фантастике дуго времена, можда заувијек. Чак и ако Кина или било која друга земља одлучи да изгради демонстратор СБСП-а, то не значи да је то добра идеја и да је то економски смислено ", рекао је Л де Век.

Директор Националног свемирског друштва Хопкинс је рекао да такво размишљање – заједно са немогућношћу америчке владе да дугорочно размишља о његовом планирању – може бити највећи ризик од свих. Он је рекао да тренутни ставови у САД о овој теми обично падају у један од два кампа.

"Људи у САД имају тенденцију да то гледају као:" Барем Кинези то раде, а ако то раде Кинези, онда ћемо вероватно то урадити у неком тренутку јер не желимо да они воде. " Други кажу: "Ако добију ово право, а ми не, ми смо у великој невољи." "Хопкинс је додао:" Једна ствар у којој су Кинези заиста добри је да размишља дугорочно, за разлику од америчког размишљања, 50 година уназад. Нема проблема да тако размишљају. Када разговарам са НАСА-ом више од 10 година, некако гледају у ваздух и окрећу очи, а ја нисам позван назад. "


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