Sunday, November 25, 2007

Space Solar Power Prize

Space Solar Power, a national security blog that covers SPSs, discusses one of the Google Lunar X PRIZE videos that features lunar resources helping in the construction of solar power satellites. Some older (and perhaps newer; I haven't kept up) solar power satellite concepts included launching bulk material from the moon using magnetic launchers, which would then be caught and processed into huge solar panels by orbiting factories. Other, less bulky components would be launched from Earth.

The Space Solar Power site asks:

Please take a look at the video. Think about it. What type of incentives do you think are appropriate and effective stimuli to promote private sector investment in space-based solar power and its supporting infrastructure? Who might offer such prizes?

There are a lot of possible answers to these questions which I won't attempt to address.

It's interesting, though, to imagine where the Space Elevator Games might fit into a prize for demonstrating the power beaming part of the SPS infrastructure. Would a new prize for beaming lots of power, high accuracy beaming, or some such criteria (without the climber aspects, which of course already have a prize) be useful for both concepts? Could such a challenge be held at the Space Elevator Games, allowing both organizations to help each other?