Space panels could soon beam electricity back to Earth

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The Pentagon has been using its secretive X-37B space plane to test a solar panel that could one day beam electricity to earth.

The Photovoltaic Radiofrequency Antenna Module — or PRAM for short — is currently the size of a pizza box, but the technology could be scaled up in order to send massive amounts of clean and renewable energy to Earth via microwaves — possibly even enough energy to power whole cities.


RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. NASA's X-37B space plane orbiting Earth, panel slides open revealing test panel
2. Inset box shows panel details, how multiple would connect to form huge panels
3. Huge panels attached to satellite that beams microwave energy to Earth
4. Microwave energy from satellite is collected by large receiver, turned into electricity
5. Electricity from receiver flows via power cables to city, lights city up
6. One small panel powers tablet, but multiple combine to power a city from space

VOICEOVER (in English):
WASHINGTON — The Independent newspaper reports that the Pentagon has been using its secretive X-37B space plane to test a solar panel that could one day beam electricity to earth.

The Photovoltaic Radiofrequency Antenna Module — or PRAM for short — is currently the size of a pizza box, but the technology could be scaled up in order to send massive amounts of clean and renewable energy to Earth via microwaves — possibly even enough energy to power whole cities.

The test panel was launched into orbit last year aboard the space plane.

It absorbs blue-light energy from sunlight that cannot pass through the Earth's atmosphere. This means it's able to harness solar energy much more effectively than terrestrial setups.

The test panel is only capable of capturing and transmitting around 10 watts of energy back to Earth — enough to power a phone or tablet.

However, if the system scales up successfully, the technology could deliver significant amounts of power to remote regions of the globe, as well as provide electricity during natural disasters and emergencies.


SOURCES: The Independent, CNN, Gizmodo, Futurism.com
https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/space-laser-satellite-solar-power-b1806680.html
https://edition.cnn.com/2021/02/23/americas/space-solar-energy-pentagon-science-scn-intl/index.html
https://earther.gizmodo.com/the-pentagon-sent-a-pizza-box-sized-solar-panel-into-sp-1846358817
https://futurism.com/the-byte/military-tests-satellite-beaming-power-space