26 October 2008

NSS PositionPaper on Space Solar Power

Exerpts From: http://www.nss.org/legislative/positions/NSS-SSP-PositionPaper.pdf
Space Solar Power: An Investment for Today – An Energy Solution for Tomorrow
October 2007
The United States and the rest of the world need to find alternative sources of energy besides fossil fuels. The National Space Society believes that one of the most important long-term solutions for meeting those energy needs is Space Solar Power (SSP), which gathers energy from sunlight in space and sends it to Earth. We believe that SSP can solve our energy and greenhouse gas emissions problems. Not just help, not just take a step in the right direction; solve. SSP can provide large quantities of energy to each and every person on Earth with very little environmental impact. The NSS recommends that SSP be considered along with ground-based solar collectors and wind turbines as a safe, renewable, and clean energy option.
Solar energy is routinely used on spacecraft today, and the solar energy available in space is literally billions of times greater than we use today. The lifetime of the sun is an estimated 4 to 5 billion years, making SSP a truly long-term energy solution. Space solar power can have an extremely small environmental footprint, perhaps competitive with ground-solar and wind, because with sufficient investments in space infrastructure, the SSP can be built from materials from space with zero terrestrial environmental impact. Only energy receivers need be built on Earth. As Earth receives only one part in 2.3 billion of the sun's output, SSP is by far the largest
potential energy source available, dwarfing all others combined. Development cost and time, of course, are considerable. This makes SSP a long-term solution rather than a short-term stop-gap, although there are some intriguing near-term possibilities.... While all viable energy options should be pursued with vigor, SSP has a number of substantial advantages over other energy sources...
All of these technologies are consistent with the laws of physics, are reasonably nearterm, and have multiple attractive approaches. However, a great deal of work is needed to develop economically competitive space solar power. The NSS encourages both the private sector and governments to devote substantial resources toward SSP research and development.
SSP deserves a place alongside ground-based solar collectors, nuclear power plants, and
wind turbines as potential solutions to energy dependence and global greenhouse-gasinduced
. If SSP is given serious consideration, NSS expects it will play a growing, and perhaps dominant, role in providing safe, clean, renewable energy for our planet for the foreseeable future and beyond.
The Vision of NSS is people living and working in thriving communities beyond the Earth, and the use of the vast resources of space for the dramatic betterment of humanity.
The Mission of NSS is to promote social, economic, technological, and political change in order to expand civilization beyond Earth, to settle space and to use the resulting resources to build a hopeful and prosperous future for humanity. Accordingly, we support steps toward this goal, including human spaceflight, commercial space development, space exploration, space applications, space resource utilization, robotic precursors, defense against asteroids, relevant science, and space settlement oriented education.

Read more about Space Solar at NSS web page: http://www.nss.org/settlement/ssp/index.htm

By the way, recently the National Space Society has constructed tremendous on-line resources for information on Space Solar and Planetary Defense can be found here:
Space Solar Library:http://www.nss.org/settlement/ssp/library/index.htm

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