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Japan Aims for Lunar Solar Project

A Japanese construction company has proposed building a solar panel system around the moon’s equator to generate power and send it back to Earth.

The giant Luna Ring, proposed by Shimizu Corp., could provide eternal clean energy not only for Japan but for the entire world by drawing on an inexhaustible source of energy that is not vulnerable to bad weather conditions that affect solar power technology on Earth, according to the company.

“Electric power generated by a belt of solar cells around the lunar equator will be transmitted and beamed to the Earth from the near side of the Moon, or the side that always faces the Earth,” Shimizu said on its website.

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The moon’s equator receives constant solar energy, which can be converted into electricity through the construction of a giant belt of solar panels ringing the moon and a power-generation facility at the lunar equator, says Shimizu.

The electricity would be transmitted through cables to the lunar side facing the Earth and then converted into microwave and laser power for transmission.

Shimizu says the Luna Ring could generate a massive 13,000 terra watts of energy.

According to the company, work on the giant lunar solar belt could begin in 2035, providing the funding is there, though estimates of the project’s eventual cost have not been released.

The ambitious project foresees a solar power belt up to 400 kilometers (248 miles) wide, along the 6,800-mile lunar equator, and the use of remotely operated robots for construction.  

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The Tokyo-based construction company has wider lunar ambitions, too, though, and there has been talk of extracting water from the lunar surface using hydrogen from the Earth.

Japan has stepped up research and development in renewable energy projects following the 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima plant that saw 50 nuclear reactors shutdown.

By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com

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