Japanese Robots to Transform Moon into Gigantic Solar Farm?

Designers at Japan’s Shimizu Corporation can’t be accused of thinking small. The Luna Ring, their concept for “the infinite coexistence of mankind and the Earth,” may sound at first like some newfangled form of birth control–but is, actually, a solar harvesting belt proposed for the moon.

The moon–that’s right, that lovely glowing orb in the night sky. If Shimizu had its way, our closest celestial neighbor would be fitted with a 6,800 mile-long belt made of solar panels, transmitting clean, green energy to Earth, via microwaves and lasers. Receiving stations here on terra firma would parcel out and distribute this endless stream of energy to all corners of the earth, ushering in a new era of (we assume) super-cheap renewable energy. And the best part? We wouldn’t actually have to build the thing ourselves, as robots–using a combination of imported elements and resources from earth with those locally available on the moon–would do the whole thing for us.

LunaRing

image via Inhabitat

While we love to see big-picture thinking on the scale of sci-fi epics, we’re with Inhabitat on this one: if we bumbling hominids don’t even seem to be able to plug a hole leaking with oil we made in the bottom of the ocean with robots, how plausible is it that we’ll be able to build something on the scale of the Great Wall of China on the moon? Plus, the beauty of the night sky would be forever marred by that big black belt around Luna’s middle. Why not start off with a smaller (and less ugly) lunar solar station?

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

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