Museum of Science and Industry


Those of us who spent our formative years as virtual mayors of towns such as “Keith-Ville” and “Awesome-Town” in the game SimCity know that solar energy beamed down from space is an efficient way to generate massive amounts of clean power. I’m guessing someone over at NASA may have had their own virtual village, because the agency has agreed to fund a project to see if an array of small mirrors in orbit can focus the sun’s energy on solar collection panels and then beam it down to Earth.

A basic issue with Earth-based solar farms is that when the sun isn’t shining, all that expensive equipment goes unused. By launching equipment into space, the Solar Power Satellite via Arbitrarily Large Phased Array (SPS-ALPHA) aims to overcome that hurdle by being in high Earth orbit. It would then transmit its energy to base stations here on Earth with microwaves.

One just needs to hope that the various alien and Godzilla-like disasters of SimCity remain virtual.

Image: NASA

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    Daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
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Museum of Science+Industry
5700 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60637
1 (773) 684-1414
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