Science Fiction : Science Fact

Science Fiction: Moon Collector, Broadcast
Power, Space Elevators

In November 2003, David Criswell, director
of the Institute for Space Systems Operations at the University of Houston,
testified before the Senate Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on science,
technology and space to pitch a Lunar Solar Power system. LSP would use
colossal solar arrays on the surface of the moon that would beam microwave
energy down to Earth.

Criswell’s concept is massive in scale: It would involve building 20,000
to 30,000 reception stations on Earth to accept the power beams and convert
them into electricity that could be distributed to the population (The
solar panels would be constructed on the moon with raw materials in the
soil in "basically a glass-making process," he said).

fom Wired

Science Fact: Space Broadband, 88%
Global Coverage, Plasma Propusion, Solar Sails

LONDON — Telecom giant Inmarsat
is weeks away from launching the second in a series of two super-satellites
— designed to be among the most powerful commercial communications
spacecraft in orbit — that will beam broadband data and voice services
to almost any location on the planet.

Instead of cruising for a Starbucks, BGAN subscribers can
hit the road with a portable terminal as small as their laptop computer
and surf the web — or connect with the office LAN — at broadband
speeds of up to 492 Kbps.

"The network will cover 88 percent of the globe’s landmass," said Chris
vice president of corporate communications for Inmarsat in London.

The satellite is equipped with a plasma propulsion
subsystem and chemical thrusters for in-orbit adjustments and station

The satellite will harvest power from the sun by deploying massive
solar panels that almost span the width of a football field. The panels
will also act as solar sails, using the pressure of particles from
the sun to provide additional propulsion in orbit.

also from Wired

Anything the human mind can envision, it can create.  The
challenge is expanding what we can envision.

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