It Came from Outer Space


Energy, that is. With few energy resources of its own, Japan is literally reaching for the stars in its attempt to turn unlimited clean energy into reality by 2030.

The nation’s plan, known as the Space Solar Power System (SSPS), involves positioning huge, floating photovoltaic dishes to hover in the geostationary orbit just outside the Earth’s atmosphere.

These photovoltaic dishes would harvest the solar energy that, at this level, is at least five times stronger than on earth and beam it down to earth through lasers and microwaves. On earth, gigantic antennae, located in restricted areas at sea or on dam reservoirs, would collect and store the solar energy.

This controversial plan sounds like something you’d only find in a Sci-Fi novel.

But the Japanese government thinks it has huge potential. To that end, it has established the Institute for Unmanned Space Experiment Free Flyer (USEF), a consortium of companies (including Mitsubishi Electric, NEC, Fujitsu and Sharp) and scientists who will be working on finding ways of turning the SSPS into reality.

Image: Velo Steve