Re: Beamer

From: Doug Jones (
Date: Thu Dec 20 2001 - 17:18:14 MST

"Robert J. Bradbury" wrote:
> However, leaving aside the oil debate for a minute, I'll simply point
> out that the current consumption of fossil fuels *AND* the beaming
> the energy to the Earth from the moon do not appear to me to be
> "recommended" solutions. Why? Because you are messing up the
> ecological balance of the planet. We know we could potentially
> have on a habitable planet with the CO2 levels in the atmosphere
> several centuries ago (at least on multi-100-thousand year timescales).
> We *don't* know if we have a planet which is habitable for the long
> term with the current CO2 atmospheric levels *or* in a situation
> where the Earth is receiving (and having to *radiate*) significantly
> more energy than it currently absorbs from the sun [which is what
> happens if you collect the energy on the moon and beam it to Earth].
> So *unless* your energy plans include sprinkling white styrofoam
> beads over much of the ocean's surface area or building cooling
> towers into the stratosphere, I think you should consider that
> a fossil fuel based energy supply and off-planet harvested energy
> are really *bad* ideas. And before you start suggesting "engineered"
> solutions (yea, I know you guys like to do this, just like me)
> you better ask yourselves *how* good your computer models are and
> what the limits are on climate predictability due to chaos effects?

Microwaves beamed in from elsewhere are less disruptive than any other
source of zero-entropy energy; heat engines on Earth's surface release
more waste heat than they produce electricity, and ground solar
dramatically lowers the albedo in the regions affected. Rectennas can
have a neutral impact on global thermal balance if they are painted

Even the total US electrical power demand is less than a terawatt, or
about equal to the sunlight on a disk 30 km across. Given that roadways
in the US are more than 2.5 million miles (and assuming an average 30
foot width), their total area is about 5 times greater than this
notional disk. Most roads are much darker than the natural surface, so
if their albedo is more than 20% lower than the original, they
contribute more heat to the planet than would beaming all electricity
down from space. Making all roadways white while beaming power down
from space would actually cool the planet- no need to scatter trash on
the oceans.

Doug Jones, Rocket Plumber
XCOR Aerospace

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