A group of Japanese scientists have succeeded in transmitting energy wirelessly in space, a new step toward developing new means for the mankind to use solar energy.
Researchers at The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have managed to deliver 1.8 kilowatts of power through microwaves to 55 meters away, said a JAXA spokesman.
"This was the first time anyone has managed to send a high output of nearly two kilowatts of electric power via microwaves to a small target, using a delicate directivity control device,” he said.
The agency has been active in developing new methods of using solar energy in space, a source which has many advantages over solar power use on earth.
Dream coming true
The solar energy in space has long been used by satellites, but transmitting that power to the earth where people can benefit from it has been a dream.
The new method developed by Japanese scientists offers at least the possibility for such a breakthrough in the future, which means man could be able to tap the vast source of energy one day.
According to the idea, the satellites which are stationed nearly 36,000 kilometers away from earth collect the sun power and transmits it to earth through their special antenna, said the JAXA spokesman, adding that it would take decades until a first instance of such technology could practically work.
“Maybe in the 2040s or later," he said.
As an idea, generating power in space through solar panels first emerged among US researchers in the 1960s. Japan started its SSPS program in 2009 with a financing offered by the country’s industry ministry.
Japan has always grappled with challenges in meeting its rising energy demands. The resource-poor country, which has been importing huge amount of fossil fuel to meet its energy needs, is desperately looking for new sources of energy as its use of nuclear power became restricted after the Fukushima disaster in 2011.