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The Week

U.S. scientists have shown it’s plausible to power the Earth from solar panels in space

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) was widely mocked and criticized for having suggested Jewish-run space lasers might be responsible for California’s wildfires. But it turns out the technology she flagged — orbiting panels that beam solar energy to Earth — does exist, at least in prototype form, CNN reports. Only instead of the Rothschilds, the Pentagon controls the technology, and instead of destroying California’s forests and homes, Photovoltaic Radiofrequency Antenna Modules (PRAMs) could provide emergency power during natural disasters. Scientists working for the Pentagon have successfully tested a solar panel the size of a pizza box in space, designed as a prototype for a future system to send electricity from space back to any point on Earth. https://t.co/ubPUKtpVX5 — CNN (@CNN) February 24, 2021 The Pentagon sent a prototype PRAM into orbit in May 2020 aboard its secretive X-37B unmanned drone. The 12-inch-square photovoltaic panel showed it’s capable of producing 10 watts of energy, or enough to power an iPad, to transmit back to Earth, Paul Jaffe at the U.S. Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C., told CNN. The advantages of putting solar panels in space include constant sunlight, more powerful light including blue waves filtered out by the Earth’s atmosphere, and the ability to direct power to where it’s needed most at any given time. «You can send power to Chicago and a fraction of a second later, if you needed, send it instead to London or Brasilia,» Jaffe said. If enough solar panels are grouped together, it could provide enough clean electricity to power a city, he said. That would have been extremely helpful last week, Jaffe’s colleague Chris DePuma told CNN last week. «My family lives in Texas and they’re all living without power right now in the middle of a cold front because the grid is overloaded,» DePuma said. «So if you had a system like this, you could redirect some power over there, and then my grandma would have heat in her house again.» Jaffe and DePuma are experimenting with sending the energy back down to Earth as microwaves, hitting the correct destination using a technique called «retro-directive beam control,» where the energy beams wouldn’t be transmitted until a pilot signal from the terrestrial receiver is locked in at the orbiting panels. Jaffe «also allayed any future fear that bad actors could use the technology to create a giant space laser,» CNN reports. More stories from theweek.comThe MyPillow guy might be Trump’s ultimate chumpThe ‘most encouraging’ aspect of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine may be its effectiveness in South Africa, BrazilLate night hosts laugh at Rudy Giuliani literally running from his $1.3 billion lawsuit, tie in CPAC

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