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Space Solar Panel Is Collecting Energy That Could One Day Be Beamed Anywhere On Earth

by : Niamh Shackleton on :
Space Solar Panel Is Collecting Energy That Could One Day Be Beamed Anywhere On EarthUS Naval Research Laboratory

Solar panels on Earth are all well and good, but scientists have now created one that works in space.

The pizza box-sized panel was created by the Pentagon and is designed to make the best use of the light in space.

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Think space is mainly dark? Think again. The skies are a shade of blue because its light doesn’t pass through the atmosphere so retains the energy of blue waves – not because it’s pitch black up there. Because of these blue waves, the light supply in space is much more powerful than the rays that reach Earth.

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Blue light diffuses on entry into the atmosphere, which is why from Earth the sky appears blue.

Anyway, back to the solar panel: the innovative idea first made its debut in May 2020 and was attached to the Pentagon’s X-37B unmanned drone, CNN reports.

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The panel, known as a Photovoltaic Radiofrequency Antenna Module (PRAM), then converted the Sun’s light into electricity as the drone looped the Earth every 90 minutes.

In the most recent experiments with PRAM, it was found that it can create 10 watts of energy for transmission – enough to power an iPad.

US Naval Research Laboratory

However, the Pentagon isn’t stopping there. In light of this discovery (get it?), scientists hope that if PRAM was scaled up, it could distribute power to the most remote corners of the globe, completely revolutionizing how power is generated.

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Paul Jaffe, a co-developer of the project, told CNN, ‘Some visions have space solar matching or exceeding the largest power plants today – multiple gigawatts – so enough for a city.’

Watch this space… Sorry, I’ll stop now.

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Science, Energy, Now, Space

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CNN
  1. CNN

    CNN exclusive: A solar panel in space is collecting energy that could one day be beamed to anywhere on Earth