[ExI] Space Based Solar Power vs. Nuclear Fission

Kevin H kevin.l.holmes at gmail.com
Sun May 18 22:50:00 UTC 2008

On 5/18/08, hkhenson <hkhenson at rogers.com> wrote:
> It isn't *a* power station, it's a new 5 GW one every 5 days for the
> next 50 years.  And that's just to replace fossil fuels and a little
> growth the bring China and India up.

I don't quite understand how that works.  Are you saying that somehow these
power satellites bring in an exponential amount of power with respect to
time?  Or are you just talking about adding additional units?

But that brings up another question: is there really any limit to the number
of SPS's we can stick up there?  Once we have enough to meet our current
needs, why stop there?  We could be swimming in energy, enough to make
$1/gal for gas sound expensive, and we could pretty much do anything we
want.  A lot of the projects that now seem to expensive and infeasable would
suddenly seem--easy.  And the bottleneck would again be human ingenuity.

Not to mention that such a project would put both government and commercial
interests into space in a big way, making space colonialism practical:
afterall, *someone* has to maintain those satellites, and it would be
somewhat cheaper to have workers living up there.

But I doubt things will develop that far before the singularity.

Why not?  And a singularity isn't really on my radar right now; and if not
enough is done and the world does go into an energy crash and we return to
subsistance living, I'm pretty sure that destroys any chances of a
singularity happening.

> It depends on what they are making.  Besides being burned to make
> electricity, coal (and oil) are feed stocks to make all sorts of
> things like plastics.

That's the thing, fossil oil is going to become scarce no matter what, and I
wonder if we're talking about the end of plastics.  Besides, what are those
photoelectric cells made of? are they oil products?  We'll basically have to
find an alternative method for making plastic, or an alternative to plastic.

Transitioning from oil products to electricity as our primary source of
energy is going to mean a great deal of transitioning in our economies and
national infrastructures.

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