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Energy Resources beyond the earth

Updated on September 18, 2012

Striking a balance between green principles and conservation using renewable energy resources has scaled to such enormous heights that we are tapping for energy in space. Even with our presently limited space explorations, scientists believe that the space energy could help resolve the fast depleting natural resources. The moon is envisaged as a potential source of power. Helium-3 can be used in nuclear fusion reactions, as against nuclear fission. Nuclear fusioncombines nuclei to produce energy. Helium-3, is perfectly safe. It doesn't give off any pollution or radioactive waste and poses no danger to surrounding areas. Just 2.2 pounds of helium-3 combined with 1.5 pounds of deuterium produces 19 megawatt-years of energy. On Earth there we don’t have 25 tons of helium-3 lying around, but the moon has an abundance! The low-gravity condition of the moon significantly reduces the amount of energy required to perform the task of harvesting energy on earth.

Asteroids are another potential source of space resources. Asteroids are found mainly between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Preliminary studies indicate that a variety of minerals and metals may be found on the surfaces of asteroids. Asteroids are considered to be the most accessible objects in the solar system.

The most promising space-based source of fuel is the Space solar power (SSP), this approach removes obstacles like rain, clouds and darkness. SSP attaches solar panels to orbiting satellites or the moon, and the electricity created is converted into microwaves which in turn, are received on the earth through rectifying antennas. Japan is literally reaching for the stars. The nation’s plan, theSpace Solar Power System (SSPS), involves positioning huge, floating photovoltaic dishes which would harvest the solar energy that is at least five times stronger than on earth and beam it down to earth through lasers and microwaves. On earth, gigantic antennae, located at sea or on dam reservoirs, would collect and store the solar energy.

Lightening and thunderstorms have the possibility of harnessing the spectacular power. Alternate Energy Holdings set out to see if the energy in lightning could actually be harvested. The concept involved a tower, an array of grounding wires to shunt off most of the incoming energy and a giant capacitor. If enough energy is delivered to the capacitor, it can be stored, converted to alternating current and transferred to the power grid. A thunderstorm is like an atomic bomb’s worth of energy but its sporadic nature is difficult to convert high-voltage electrical power to the lower-voltage power that can be stored. It is also difficult to predict where thunderstorms and its lightning will strike!!

Black holes generate tremendous amounts of energy. Black holes are the force behind half the energy released since the universe began. All the matter swirling around these black holes heats up through friction with other matter. This hot, fast-moving gas emits lots of radiation, ranging from optical light to X-rays can be collected in the same way as solar panels collect power from our sun. The black hole can be used as a dumping site for our waste, which then will then actually be the matter that ends up producing energy.
Could the answer to our demand for green energy -be found in outer space? Some researchers feel that it could, though the technology is years from being a viable option.


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