So this sounds like an idea straight out of a futuristic sci-fi film, but it certainly doesn’t sound impossible.
Personally, I’ve thought the moon to be a good place for us to try and use, maybe as a place to store data to ensure our world’s cultures and knowledge can be kept safely for future use. However this idea puts the moon at the forefront of a unique approach to solve the world’s energy problems.
The “Luna Ring”, from the Japanese engineering and architectural firm Shizimu, would surround the equator of the moon with a ring of solar panels which would then transmit the energy they generate back to specific receiving points around the earth.
The ring itself would be built by robots, using some materials sent from earth and raw materials from the moon itself, such as soil to fabricate things like ceramic, glass, oxygen, concrete and solar cells. It would cover the 11,000km circumference along the equator, and grow from a few kilometers in width to 400km. The side of the ring that faces the sun would generate energy, the other would beam it back to earth in the form of microwaves or lasers. The energy received would then be used in the form of electricity to grids, or stored in hydrogen cells or batteries. Looking at their brochure, it seems they’ve already looked into issues that could occur when transporting the electromagnetic waves through the earth’s atmosphere – they believe a 20GHz microwave would have 98% transmissivity through the atmosphere, as would the laser with a wavelength of 1 micrometer.
I’m very much a supporter of solar power, because it’s a good source of clean and renewable energy, and I believe that finding a safe alternative to fossil fuels is a priority. Although the Luna Ring sounds much more extravagant and potentially less practical than more conventional ideas, if it is thoroughly thought through I think it could be entirely plausible and so, for now, I support the idea. If all goes well, we could see construction of the Luna Ring begin as soon as 2035.
Let me know what you think about this concept in the comments for this post or on my facebook page
http://www.shimz.co.jp/english/theme/dream/lunaring-mv.html – Video by Shizimu Corp. detailing the project and their hopes and aims.
http://www.shimz.co.jp/english/theme/dream/pdf/lunaring_e.pdf -Brochure by Shizimu Corp.