What if there were mirrors in space?

2023-10-24 2023-10-24T19:12:18Z
ندى ماهر عبدربه
ندى ماهر عبدربه
صانع مُحتوى

Weather of Arabia - The idea of having mirrors in space is one of those wonderful ideas that deserve attention. What if we could use huge mirrors in space to direct sunlight towards Earth? Could this technology be the key to the future of solar energy and sustainable development? Let's dive into this inspiring concept, and explore how mirrors in space could be a game-changer in the world of energy.

The idea of using mirrors in space to direct sunlight back to Earth may seem like it's within reach, but it's actually one of the ambitious technologies that researchers and innovators around the world are working on.

From the potential benefits, to the challenges of implementation and environmental impact, we will journey together into the world of mirrors in space to explore more about this concept that may change the future of energy and the environment.

The future of solar energy around the clock

The biggest challenge facing solar energy production is that it relies on its production only during the day, and this is a major reason that prevents many individuals and industries from investing in solar panels. Because of its instability as an energy source however, 26-year-old innovator and entrepreneur Ben Nowak claims to have developed a method that enables solar energy to also be produced at night.

Nowak, who previously worked at SpaceX and is now CEO of Tons of Mirrors , founded the company with a vision to replace fossil fuels by making solar energy more available and economical than ever before; He planned to install large mirrors and a collimator on the International Space Station (ISS), and these mirrors would be able to redirect sunlight to solar panels on Earth during the night.

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Is the idea of redirecting sunlight from space new?

There will be a device to direct sunlight on the International Space Station in the form of an orbital solar reflector, a device that reflects sunlight back to Earth as it orbits in space. Ben Nowak is not the first to propose this concept, as the idea of an orbital solar reflector was first presented in a hearing before... The US Senate in 1977 , and over the following years, a number of scientists from around the world tried to prove this technology, but none of them succeeded.

Currently, researchers at the University of Glasgow are developing space-based satellite solar inverter technology, which will enable large solar farms to have sufficient supplies of sunlight even during times when energy demand is at its highest. Recently, China announced plans To launch three satellites into space, which will be equipped with mirrors and are said to be able to produce enough light to replace the country's street lamps by the end of this year.

Nowak's initial idea was to surround the Earth with a long, endless vacuum tube containing sunlight directed using mirrors in space; Since this approach was not economically feasible and the large resources required, he made several modifications to his original idea, for example, the vacuum tube was replaced with a collimator , a device capable of directing a large wave of particles or light into a narrow beam.

Nowak also pointed out that the same mirrors that are used in the James Webb Space Telescope could be used to obtain light from a very distant star, the difference lies in the direction in which they are pointed. However, an opposite solar reflector would require a huge mirror one and a half kilometers long to maintain its perfect shape, and this could be a challenge. So, instead of building one large mirror, Nowak designed a structure that included many parabolic mirrors and parallel tiles, a design he believed was efficient, economical, and could be scaled well.

The journey towards sustainable energy

Currently, Nowak is raising the necessary funding to install his own project on the International Space Station. In addition, he has plans to launch satellites equipped with this same technology in the future. Regarding this, Nowak said:

“Once we get to that stage, we will be able to estimate manufacturing costs, setup costs, fixed expenses, and operating costs. We will then be able to get a more accurate idea of how they compare to fossil fuel plants. Making this approach cheaper than other alternatives is the big challenge.” "that we face."

However, space solar reflector technology suffers from many challenges. For example, unregulated amounts of redirected light can cause harm to the environment, ecosystem, animals and insects. In addition, these reflectors require a large amount of space in space, and if the project has to be moved To a new location in space, the cost would be huge.

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Sources:

interestingengineering

vice

This article was written originally in Arabic and is translated using a 3rd party automated service. ArabiaWeather is not responsible for any grammatical errors whatsoever.
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