The US is experimenting with a solar panel in space to capture sunlight

Harnessing solar energy from space is the goal of a United States mission. There the sun’s rays have no atmospheric interference. To this end, in 2020 they launched a solar panel in space powered by a drone as a prototype.

Solar panel in space
The transmission of the energy trapped in space is a concept that has been developed for several years. Picture taken by: El Ágora | Photo: JAXA
PRAM is a solar panel in space that captures sunlight

The solar panel is 30 by 30 centimeters and is called PRAM. It took 718 days for the artifact to soar more than 100 kilometers in space and capture the sun’s rays. It can receive sunlight without overheating because the room is very cold and does not lose any electricity.

The module is a high frequency photovoltaic antenna (PRAM) that is able to hold back the blue waves of sunlight without the earth’s atmosphere reducing its output. The prototype, which is the size of a pizza box, is a test for future solar powered satellites.

Goal of the experiment

The aim of the mission is to collect solar energy from space and send it as electricity to anywhere on the planet. The experiment was ordered by the Pentagon and designed by the United States Naval Research Laboratory.

Even though the PRAM is such a small module, it can generate 10 watts of power, enough to keep a small device permanently powered. Since the goal is to send thousands of panels into space, power generation can be revolutionized. According to experts, any place in the world can receive electrical energy from space. This would be the solution, especially if a disaster occurs in which the power supply is interrupted for days.

Solar panel in the room 30cm x 30cm
The PRAM used in the experiments. Picture taken by: El Ágora | Photo: IEEE

The idea of ​​the Pentagon is to send large solar panels into space for miles. The captured energy could be sent to Earth in the form of microwaves. Once trapped, they will be converted into electricity all over the planet. Before doing this, they should install special receivers in certain places to record the electricity sent from space.

Advantages and disadvantages of this new energy source

One of the advantages of this source of energy in space is that it can send electricity to Calcutta, a second later to Madrid, and moments later to Buenos Aires.

Although gravity does not exist in space and it is easier to assemble large devices there, the economic problem is very important. Bringing large pieces of hardware into space is still the biggest cost factor for a startup.

One of the assessments conducted by the Pentagon is value for money to determine the drinkability of the investment. While the PRAM is just one of the tests commissioned and approved by the Pentagon, the company has other guidelines that remain completely secret.

Click to rate this entry!
(Votes: 0 Average: 0)

Leave a Comment