Although one of the oft-cited criticisms of solar power is that the sun doesn't shine 24 hours a day, the fact of the matter is that the sun never actually stops shining. Armed with this knowledge and a strong desire to solve the planet's energy supply problems, the former manager of NASA's Exploration Systems Research and Technology Program and co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Managed Energy Technologies LLC, John C. Mankins, has conducted an experiment in wireless power transmission over a 148-kilometer (92-mile) distance. Not having access to suitable spacecraft at the moment, the experiment was conducted between a couple Hawaiian islands and the energy was transmitted via microwaves. Of course, the Japanese are pondering how to do the same thing with lasers. If you want to learn more about how space-based solar could supply the energy to power our cities and transportation systems you can tune in to the Discovery Channel at 10 tonight for an hour-long special on the concept and experiment. The National Space Society also has a great web-based fount of information on space solar power if you want to learn even more. Press release after the break.

[Source: National Space Society]


PRESS RELEASE:

Space-Based Solar Power Breakthrough to Be Announced: First-of-a-Kind Long-Distance Demonstration of Solar-Powered Wireless Power Transmission Technology


WASHINGTON, Sept 11, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- The following event announcement was released by the National Space Society: What: Space solar power could be a clean, renewable solution to America's long-term energy needs. John C. Mankins, former manager of NASA's Exploration Systems Research and Technology Program, and one of the foremost experts on space solar power, will announce on Friday a milestone demonstration of the critical technology enabling SSP: long-distance, solar-powered wireless power transmission. The project demonstrated wireless power transmission between two Hawaiian islands 148 kilometers apart, more than the distance from the surface of Earth to the boundary of space. It will be featured in an hour-long special that evening on Discovery Channel as part of DISCOVERY PROJECT EARTH, an eight-part series on the most ambitious geo-engineering ideas to tackle global climate change and the need for new and sustainable energy sources. Space-based solar power, in which large satellites would collect plentiful solar energy in orbit and beam it safely down to Earth, could one day reduce our carbon emissions to virtually zero. It is the only energy technology that is clean, renewable, constant and capable of providing power to virtually any location on Earth. Mankins will describe the demonstration project and show a realistic plan forward to develop this promising technology.

When: Friday, September 12, 2008 at 9:30am
Where: National Press Club, Lisagor Room 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor Washington, DC 20045 202-662-7500
Who: John C. Mankins, COO of Managed Energy Technologies LLC Mark Hopkins, Senior Vice President, National Space Society
Hosted by: National Space Society About National Space Society The National Space Society (NSS) is an independent, grassroots organization dedicated to the creation of a spacefaring civilization. Founded in 1974, NSS is widely acknowledged as the preeminent citizen's voice on space. NSS counts thousands of members and more than 50 chapters in the United States and around the world. The society also publishes Ad Astra magazine, an award-winning periodical chronicling the most important developments in space. For more information about NSS, visit www.nss.org.