Elizabeth, one thing you don't mention is how much energy the proposed array will produce. What is the efficiency of the whole system?
On another note, why use robots to assemble this. Why not the International Space Station (ISS)? It has a robotic arm and people to do the work. This would have lots of benefits. First, there is cost. The whole robotic assembly is not a part of the technology of power generation. It is a whole other program requiring diffent skills and really raises the cost and complexity of the system. I expect that a demonstrator would be built (a single satellite) and then a larger array, then the full envisioned array. That's a lot of steps. Getting rid of the robotics in the early stages would speed things along.
Ha, yes, TJ, it does seem the stuff of scifi and I am sure there will be naysayers that claim it's dangerous and it shouldn't be done. I personally think it's a great idea and, given the fact that we use solar energy naturally anyway, it would be hard to argue that this is dangerous for humans. But I guess you're right in that the transition from solar energy to radio waves that will be "beamed" down will spur panic among some!
This idea, to me, seems both very complicated and simple at the same time. Satellites already use solar energy, and where better to harvest energy from the sun than the place where the sun is located. While what Jaffe has already designed and built is promising, it also will take a significant amount of investment and technology to get it where it needs to be for this to become a reality. Still, this is fascinating stuff and could one day revolutionize renewable energy, at least that from the sun.
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From design feasibility, to development, to production, having the right information to make good decisions can ultimately keep a product from failing validation. The key is highly focused information that doesn’t come from conventional, statistics-based tests but from accelerated stress testing.
There’s a good chance that a few of the things mentioned here won't fully come to fruition in 2015 but rather much later down the line. However, as Malcolm X once said, "The future belongs to those who prepare for it today."
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