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The Earth has just been hit by an energy beam sent from space

The Earth has just been hit by an energy beam sent from space

The energy beam was received by the California Institute of Technology's (Caltech) ground station in Pasadena, via an experimental system that can be used to send solar energy anywhere on Earth.

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And An energy beam sent to Earth from spaceIt has just struck our planet, paving the way for a new era of space energy transmission. The beam was received from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) ground station in Pasadena An experimental system called SSPDabbreviation for Solar space energy demonstratora wireless power transmission unit in space and from space to Earth has the ability to transmit the energy produced via solar panels located on an orbiting satellite and Send it anywhere on earth. Receiving the beam, which is still only a few milliwatts of power, has shown that transmitting energy from space is possible and could be the first step. Towards building a space solar power station Within ten years.

This power plant will benefit from greater exposure to the sun Due to the absence of clouds and atmosphereAs well as the ability to avoid darkness at night. However, the difficulty of designing and building structures large enough to perform but light enough to be launched by rocket into Earth orbit has made implementing such structures complex to date. In this context, the researchers conducting the experiment explain that the SSPD system represents the first system that has proven feasibility Wireless power transmission from space. The results of this experiment, including directing the beam toward the Earth and monitoring it by the ground station, were presented and discussed in detail in an article available in Preprint su arXiv.

A beam of solar energy travels from space to Earth

In the first demonstration of transmitting solar energy from space to Earth, the Space Solar Power Demonstrator (SSPD) Microwave Array for Low Orbit Energy Transfer Experiment (MAPLE)one of the main technologies of SSPD, which consists of an array of transmitters that can radiate energy in a specific direction.

Specifically, this network of transmitters”Uses precise timing controls to dynamically focus power Selectively to the desired position Using coherent addition of electromagnetic waves – noted the developer team led by Ali Hajimiri, a professor of electrical engineering at Caltech and co-director of the project. This allows you to do that Transferring most of the energy to where it is needed And nowhere else“.

The experimental system was launched into low Earth orbit in January 2023, and after just two months, it was already capable of transmitting about 100 milliwatts of power into space and sending the energy beam in any other direction. Test that Transferring energy to Earth It was designed so that approximately 1 milliwatt of energy would reach our planet, and was repeated three times over the course of eight months. In all three of these tests, the energy beam was Successfully detected.

Results of sending a beam of solar energy from space to Earth during tests / Credit: ArXiv

Results of sending a beam of solar energy from space to Earth during tests / Credit: ArXiv

The researchers' idea is to create a constellation of modular spacecraft that can transmit enough power to meet their needs Needs of 10,000 homes. Since the system can radiate energy in any direction, there is also the possibility that there is energy present They can be directed to specific locations on the planet, for example during an emergency. At the moment, the system is experimental but once the technology is improved.We hope that wireless power transmission will democratize access to energy, in the same way that the Internet has democratized access to information – Ali Hajimiri added –. To obtain it, no infrastructure will be needed This means that we will also be able to send it to remote areas and areas devastated by wars or natural disasters“.

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