Is our technology ready for this huge leap? Harnessing the power of the sun from space has long been talked about. But it was seen to be very expensive and that technology is not yet there. Today, NASA believes the technology is here. NASA will be funding Artemis Innovation Management Solutions to build a satellite that will collect solar energy from space and beam solar power down to Earth. The technology concept is based on biomimetic design, which mimics how flowers collect solar energy.
The project will be led by former NASA engineer, John Mankins. He came up with the concept of the technology with his biomimetic design. Which mimics how the flower petals collect solar energy. The flower like satellite will have petal like panels will be covered with small, thin-film mirrors that curved to direct sunlight to solar cells. The energy collected will be converted into microwaves which could be beamed down to Earth, where electricity will be generated.
The satellite will be positioned far enough in space and from Earth, so that it will never be in the dark. This allows it to collect solar power and generate energy 24/7. To reduce the cost of construction and transportation of the satellite to a feasible level. The design aims to use small, lightweight mirrors and solar cells.
The NASA funding involves world-class international team determine the concept feasibility. Which may lead to the construction a prototype that will be tested on a near earth orbit, before a full-scale satellite can be launched.
If successful, the technology will allow construction of much larger platform with tens of thousands of solar elements, that can generate a constant stream of unlimited and affordable solar power down to Earth. The technology will not only provide wireless power transmission to Earth, but can also power missions in space.