Japanese firm describes proposed 'power belt' for the moon

Nov. 29, 2013 at 4:30 PM
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TOKYO, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- A Japanese company has unveiled its concept of a lunar solar power generation installation that could send 13,000 continuous terawatts of power back to Earth.

Dubbed the "Lunar Ring," the concept from architectural and engineering firm the Shimizu Corporation envisions a robot-built array of solar cells in a mile-wide belt along the entire 6,784 lunar equator, wired.co.uk reported Friday.

"Machines and equipment from the Earth will be assembled in space and landed on the lunar surface for installation," the company said.

Power cables would transfer electricity from the lunar solar cells to transmission facilities, where high-energy-density lasers would beam it to offshore receiving facilities on Earth.

''A shift from economical use of limited resources to the unlimited use of clean energy is the ultimate dream of mankind,'' Shimizu said in a release describing the proposal.

''The luna ring ... translates this dream into reality through ingenious ideas coupled with advanced space technologies," it said.

The company declined to give an estimate of costs but said with adequate funding construction work by robots controlled from Earth could get under way as early as 2035.

A significant hurdle would be laying claim to the required lunar real estate.

"Outer space law is notoriously difficult to apply in practice and may scupper the plans long before anything gets built," wired.co.uk noted.

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