Upward Bound: Power Satellites

Upward Bound: Power Satellites

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The. Universe provides so, much power yet, we struggle to tap it and crave more, instead. Of being powerless let's, get our forth and conquer, space. So. Today we continue the Upward Bound series. And our look at how to get into space cheaper, and easier and. What we can do up there once we can place stuff in orbit more cheaply of course. If you're up in space for a while you, will need a reliable power, supply, and that, generally, means either, solo, or atomic. In. Terms of the latter Fusion, is a good option if we can ever get it walking but. Fission is not something folks want in orbit overhead, in large quantities, the. Big weakness, of ground-based solar, or that it's useless on cloudy days and, at night but. This is an area where being in space is actually, a major advantage, when. We a force that dark void of space will, be more poetic, than accurate, space. Near Earth is costly, lit brighter than the noontime Sun and, indeed you have to get out beyond the asteroid, belt before, solo stops being as effective Vail as it is on most of off the. Equivalent, of darkness, in space depends, on your distance, from the Sun or if something's in between you and the Sun placing, you in the object shadow while. In the object, in a classic low Earth orbit, is spending a lot of its time in the relatively large shadow of the planet as you, get further away less, of your orbital path is in that shadow, additionally. Various non, circular, orbits all locations, like the Lagrange points, have little to no time in shadow eliminate. Most or all the, downtime experienced. By solar panels situated. On the earth as. For wearing down over time solar. Panels, on earth have to contend with dust, rain snow. Sandstorms. Thermal, fluctuations. And other weathering, none, of which are present in the vacuum of space and, needless. To say there. Are no clouds there I though, the. Total benefit, is about seven, times more kilowatt, hours per year from, a given photovoltaic, solar, panel, perpetual. Lighting also eliminates, most the need for batteries all. Of which makes solar an excellent, choice for space, it's. Much more attractive, than on earth and, of course we are interested in getting that energy - authe weather, beamed down or otherwise. And eventually to other places in space, the. Idea has been looked at a lot for decades, but, is becoming increasingly feasible. Now that launch costs, all plummeting, for, this to be practical, though we have to overcome certain issues, and, we should start by laying those out, forced. And foremost getting. Stuff into space is expensive, doing. That cheaper is after. All what, this series is mostly about a solar. Panel in space might, be several times more effective than one on earth but, if you need to spend hundreds of times more money to get that panel up they'll while, it remains useful, for powering things up there it wouldn't really make sense to beam it down not. Where you can fall more easily deploy and maintain, conveniently. Sized arrays a panel is down here but down, here you, have to add energy storage, which, is several times more expensive than PV panels, if you want to compare apples to, apples. Second. There is the question of how you beam that energy down and this comes with a lot of problems, for, instance if you're beaming down with a visible light laser it still, has to go through all that alien clouds there. Is also an additional effect called thermal-blooming, that, causes, laser light to be absorbed by, the atmosphere over any significant, distance, at least for frequencies, that interact, with the atmosphere, you. Also lose energy at every stage of the process as. You can for sunlight, to electricity then. Into lasers then, down to earth through the atmosphere, into, a collector, veil and back, into electricity again, we'll. Be looking at these problems some solutions, and some, alternatives to, visible light today in greater detail, but that, brings up a thought issue which, is safety a big. Giant laser is also, known as a death ray, and with, any power beaming system, you, are directing a lot of energy into a potentially, small place this.

Is A serious, problem if your beam goes off target, from the collector and over, to a city be, that as a result of an accident or deliberate. Action, so, we'll be looking at ways you'd, be trying to make one safe to use it. Is also worth, remembering though, that a giant laser in space also, has some handy uses like, blowing up incoming Astro, or space junk not, to mention it's a great way to push spaceships, up to high speeds, so we, will also be discussing some, of the non terrestrial uses, of power satellites, later on though, our main focus, is getting energy, to off at this. Point we have to start considering scale, at, present. Humanity. Uses energy from all sources combined, at an average power rate of about 18 terawatts, 18. Million, megawatts. Not. Including the solo energy used by photosynthesis. And evaporation. That's, about 2400. Watts per person, day, in day out every, day, and while, we are getting a lot more efficient, with power usage, we also have a lot of people in developing regions who, don't use much yet and hopefully. Will in the future hopefully. Not too much or too soon, though because, our main method of power generation, has, concerns, about heating up the planet we. Should start with a note vo then as folks, often Roy about power satellites, key in the planet by adding more energy, which, of course they do the. Thing is it, is a doctor of Act use of energy that's heating the planet while. We use energy at an eighteen tailwater, eight earth, we see is about ten thousand, times that energy from Sun lines the, extra heat we add would be trivial on its own the. Concern is with the greenhouse gases, being released and trapping, an additional, fraction, of the solar energy not. The extra, energy we consume directly. However. Power. Satellites, are solar powered so. Without a console you could just have them block incoming light, - or cutting. Down on how much reaches, us not. That you bother since, you could easily use a meal to do the job which, is cheaper, thinner, and a lot less complex, for such a geoengineering, purpose. 1800. Watts is a huge. Amount of power and even, almost efficient, experimental. Solar panels, though still being walked on in a lab would, only get you about 600, watts per square meter in orbit to, get up to 18 tail watts you, need 30,000, square kilometres, of our best panels, or a single, panel 100. Kilometres and radius that. Wouldn't include any losses in transmit neither, fortunately. We can assume - cPanel. Is all used as the single biggest cost to deploying a power satellite, is launched, cost which, we'll discuss in, a moment solar. Panels, will continue yet Lydell cheaper, more durable, and more efficient, as time goes on but, for the moment if, we use our top-end figures, for performance, we can do a panel, with thickness as low as two millimeters. Mass, the only about two kilograms, a square meter and generating. About 600. Watts per kilogram in, space. Constantly. To, get 18 trillion watts out of 600, watts per square meter would, require 30 billion square meters or, 30 thousand, square kilometers, an approximate. Mass of 60, billion kilograms. At. Current, launch costs, that could run nearly a hundred trillion, dollars, and doesn't. Include any losses and transmission. Or other associated, equipment, however. These. Would likely have a lifetime of twenty to thirty years and, since the energy sector is several, trillion dollars a year with. Estimated, figures very widely, spread. Out over 20, or 30 years this, would already be, approaching, a competitive. Cost as. Manufacturing. Continues to improve and launch, Costra, this, could get us into the economically, feasible zone for power satellites, rather, quickly and now, would seem a good time to start prototyping to, see if this can be made viable, as launch, costs drop, however. This, is SFI. A so. We are less interested, in the next decade, than the next century and the, earlier episodes of, this series discuss, mini launch systems, that we already have the tech for that can drop launch costs, to attend or even, a hundredth of what SpaceX's, Falcon Heavy, can do as. A reminder, stuff. Like Jim Powell's star tram or Keith lost Rome's launch loop or Paul, Bush's orbital ring or not, all that high-tech they. Just have a big upfront, cost, many.

Billions, Of dollars which, only looks big since we don't actually spend our relatively, small space budget on launching. Truly massive things all. Annual, ground to space launch volumes, are tiny, compared, to a single day's traffic. Through any major, airports, and seem as you don't build an International Airport next to a small village you, don't build these kind of launch systems, to you already to up your game and launch a lot more not, because, they are particularly high-tech, when. You're thinking about replacing a multitrillion-dollar, sector. On the economy, options, like those launch alternatives. Suddenly, become much more attractive, and profitable. See, those episodes for details but even, the most expensive of them are offering, launch cars smaller than the production cost of the power satellites, it's. Also worth noting that much of their operational, cost is electricity. Which, neither to say is altered, when you're launching gigawatt, size power generators, into orbit. Additionally. Most of the weight of a panel is still silicon. The second most abundant elements, on the moon surface provide, after oxygen, nor. Are solar panels incredibly. Tricky to produce especially. When mass and efficiency, isn't much of an issue and the, moon is close enough for us to do remote operations. So, any factories, they are do not need much personnel, physically, present to operate or, sophisticated. Artificial intelligence. Before. We move on I should also note that photovoltaics. Toning, photons, into, electricity the way a solar panel does is, not the only way to turn light into, electricity, we. Could for, instance just, concentrate, light on a liquid in pipes so, it heats up boils. And tones, a turbine a thermal. Power set like, the prize-winning flower center design this. Is a viable way of generating, power provide. The light is sufficiently, intense, and, sunlight, can be made incredibly. Intense thermal. Methods are how most power generation, of calls using. Atomic, or chemical, fuel source for heat instead, of sunlight if. You can't make cheap or solar panels you can always use a bunch of thin parabolic, meals and non imaging light funnels, to focus light on some substance, to heat it and drive, a fairly, standard heat engine, getting. Rid of waste heat during the cycle is Hodel when, you can only remove heat from a system in space, by radiating, nuts but, you can still use cooling, by conduction, and force, convection inside. It the, backside of all those meals can also be used for radiating, surfaces, to even. Surfaces, exposed to sunlight can, potentially, be used to radiate waste heat by use of wavelength, selective surfaces. Okay. So, we can collect it up there but, how do we get it down the. Traditionally, suggested, method is microwaves, in a beam which, Roy's folks a bit since we also use, those to heat up our food they'll, heat up a portion or city just as well we'll, get the safety issues in a bit forced. Why microwaves, and. They are not the only option but, in terms of our spectrum the atmosphere, does a very good job keeping, out virtually all gamma and x-ray, radiation and. The, overwhelming majority of ultraviolet, - so. They're not great wavelengths, to use to get our energy passed the atmosphere. Visible. Light goes through pretty well obviously. But, much is still lost even in an open sky and, clouds. Obviously all motorists, on visible light transmission, don't. Discard it just from that though power, satellites, all around the planet can, just retarget, their beams to collect those not obscured, by the clouds and only. On the cloudiest days will, we not have clear sky windows which some Palace hats could use to give an angle on the ground based collectors I should. Also note that we, always want other power, generation, methods, and, energy, storage in any power grid anyway, so. That some ground-based collector, is being blocked by clouds sometimes. Is not really, a deal breaker for visible, light no. Do you necessarily, need to be light down as a laser, a big, parabolic, dish concentrating. Light on ground-based, collectors, is an option - which, gives around thermal-blooming, that, happens when a high-power, laser and was a medium like air that's, absorbing, some of it and heating, up and scattering, the beam a lot this. By the way is a really big issue for, using ground-based, lasers, to intercept, missiles, or using, lasers for ultra-high bandwidth, data transmission. Over long distances. Since, power the point is to get power down at night using. The visible range of the spectrum in broad diffuse, beams could, cause a lot of light pollution. Though in some places this, might be advantageous. Of. All the spectrum, radio, waves are the ones that basically ignore, the atmosphere, and clouds, the most overall, and, microwaves. Which, are shorter than radio waves and wave lines which is where the name micro, comes from are quite, good at going through all atmosphere, clouds or not, you.

Might Wonder about the danger of this but, if you are accessing, this episode overall wireless, network I should, note that those use microwaves, too and the same frequency, as your microwave oven there's. Nothing very special about that frequency, by the way it's, just in a small band that the FCC, lis is free for, non broadcast, purposes, the. Equipment, operating at these frequencies, is also, pretty efficient, at converting between, electricity, and microwaves. Especially. Compared to lasers, you. Can do better than 75%, with, a magnetron, converting. Electricity into microwaves. Whereas, laser efficiency. As much as it's improved is still generally more like 50% our, best. New laser designs, can almost match that but, historically, lasers. Have been much less efficient. Microwaves. Remain metal but not by the same overwhelming, mojin, he. Was the thing though a retina. A specialized. Type of antenna for, absorbing these microwaves, and toning, them back into electricity has. An efficiency, of at least 85%. Much. Better than all best solar panels, this. Means that any side effect environmental. Heating from beamed in microwaves, will, be much less as well, now. Ask the safety consultants, the, general notion is to beam the energy in at about 100, watts per square meter non, coincidentally. What OSHA says is the maximum, safe workplace, exposure, amount to. Get 18, tail watts and keep, in mind 15%, is lost in conversion, by retinas, would, require about, 200,000. Square kilometres. Of retina. Collector, surface area sounds. Big and indeed, it is that's. About the size of Nebraska not. That you be putting them all in the same place more. To the point that, doesn't really seem much better than covering huge chunks of layer with solar panels of course, you could just increase, power density, and fence, the plate off but. You still be blowing boats away left and right and potentially, have a doomsday weapon though. Realistically, you. Could vamp the beam intensity, up and order of magnitude, without, producing too, much of either problem, boards. Would tend to avoid them as uncomfortable, or be able to swoop through before being hot this, is mostly just raw heat damage like being too near your fireplace after, all, however. The neat thing about effect enna is that you can use multiple of them to cover a wide area and, this, area is not entirely lost to you as erect enna is a mesh, more like chicken while than, an opaque glass panel, and tougher. - indeed. You could beam it light down on a city and provide wireless, power though, obviously you'd want to be careful about concentrating. It too much. Incorporating. Solar panels, into roads and parking lots obviously. Has extreme issues with durability, while, sticking a layer of chicken while oval, foam fields, or grazing land isn't, difficult nor. Is it that hard to concentrate such, beams to such sizes, and keep them on target, nor, were they torture Philae follow through the landscape as they, go but. The optical, considerations, of microwaves, means, that back tenez receiving, gigawatts, will, necessarily be, large usually. Several kilometers, across. Safety. Is easily, achieved by having the emitter and collector handshake. And the, beam just shuts off if it goes off target, I should. Probably note that an optical, version, of this using, nanotech and meta materials called, an antenna, shows, promise, of achieving a 70%, Ohio convulsion, of optical.

Light Frequencies, to electricity, the, impact of this emerging, technology on, solar panels ground. Or space-based, might, be immense and very, near in hand, again. Though this, is SFI, a in. This series, it's only been a few episodes since, we were talking about orbital, wings the, great big wings around planets, for getting into space, once we want to be moving millions of people and megatons. Of cargo back, and forth between space, and the ground on a daily, basis. And uh lavinius fall cheapo, kilogram, for kilogram, then any other options, and you can scale, it up immensely, if you want to unlike. Rockets where, that kind of throughput would, also produce enough pollution, and heat, to mess with your climate, if. You want to do a lot of travel from ground of space and, you love your planet you should put a ring on it while. The massive drop in launch, cost is certainly handy the orbital ring also brings, some benefits, from being directly connected, to the planet below you. Can run tethers, and lines down to the surface without, making them of super materials, like graphene though. You may still want to use graphene. In particular since. Recent improvements, are being made in producing, it in bulk, and it's quite a good conductor, of electricity, but. The important, point is that tethers, going from the ring to the planet need only be reasonably. Strong not, space, elevate or strong and don't, have to be rigid or run in straight lines because. Of this they can be built with some extra features in mind such. As transmitting. Powell ringing, people or cargo to and from the cities near the Ming and can do so without a lot of the hassle of something like a rocket. You, can't launch a rockets anyway, on neo a city or any, sort of spaceship meant for that kind of speed and acceleration not. Without damaging, the city or even killing people so you'd have to commute to a launchpad fall, from that city and any, of its suburbs. Alternatively. An open, event ethel can, leave from any terminal in that city as easily, as a train or subway allowing. Direct transport, of people from a city up to the ring and for. That matter they can also transport, up heat something, we might discuss more in the future but this is interesting in the context, of that monopolist, planet-wide, cities, or, their little brothers oncology's. And that it means space based power generation, is actually, better than fusion. Because a fusion, reactor is still, producing, a lot of waste heat in, the process, of making electricity. Power. Plants, generally lose over, half their energy to heat loss in making, electricity even before it hits the power grid we're even more lost to resistance, on the line, but, a solar panel in space run electricity, right down a cable to a city or for, that matter a reactor, in space doing the same he, is not producing, one extra drop of heat on earth that isn't in the grid so, no heat is being produced due to electricity, production waste though, of course all that electricity will end as heat either in the wireless or at your house it's, just not leaving half a wall back at the power plants, orbital. Rings all a major investments. And they also owned local, you have to encircle the whole planet, we. Do have another option which. Can be done strictly at one location, and that, is to build common, space towels I call. Them that because they reach the common line which, is the generally accepted line, between hall atmosphere, and space, even. With all material, science today we, can build such a lightweight structural using, carbon fiber materials, we, might even squeak by without having to resort to newell construction, techniques, to as many.

Of You will be aware though here, at SF IA we, are very much in favor of using, active, support systems, to build higher and stronger. Co, episode on space towels and particularly, the Atlas pillow for, how to do that, as a, brief recap we, support, the tower by using a series of fountains, of material. Propelled, through the, towel our. Common, towels are lightweight, Atlas pillows poking, above the atmosphere, with an energy collector at the top now. The atmosphere does, not have up the end as you go into space at, the common line which, is 100, kilometres up the, AO density, is about 2.2, million, times less than at the surface that's, handy for power generation as we'll see should. You have trouble building quite that high much, of the advantage, remains, from going Shortell, but taller is battle, Atlas, pillows take a lot of power to keep them supported, how, much depends on your efficiency, regenerating. The momentum, of the support material, in, theory, that could be a 100% efficient, closed-loop but. We're not there yet and these, would use a fair, amount of power you. Might ask what is the point of having a common tower that consumes some of the power it produces when. Could just beam the energy to the ground instead the, answer is the energy collective is in space. Having. The collective in space, handily. Gets around a lava transmission. Losses and, other problems we discussed, like, thermal-blooming, light, pollution hazards. To animals and the, trade-off, of concentration. For safety, you. Can skip a lot of these steps by just having big meals and pail bollock dishes that, can point at a large array of solar collectors fanned. Out on the top of that tower and flood, the panelists, with as much light as they can handle and those, meals can bounce light to the night cycle, echoes just, fine as well, as filter out any frequencies, we can't use well or which, might degrade the panels you. Stick one just north of a city so at neville shadows it and run a low resistance power, line down it and now, that city has a good power supply and a, popular, tourism, spot since. Looking now from 100 kilometres up gives a breathtaking. View of everything, for a thousand, kilometres around. It. Also has virtually no footprints, on the ground is, very safe if there's a power loss our, force ultra high efficiency, power transform, and provides, direct, access to space and a, launch system, see, this space towers, episode for, more on this. Another. Thing that having a direct connection between space, and the, ground gives us is an ability to deal with the heat produced at the convert, all in. Space, the, only way to get rid of the heat is to radiate, it away which, require, less giant, radiators, it's. Also less efficient, than using convection. And conduction which. Are cooling options only, available, on the ground if. We pipe the heat back to earth we, can much more easily dissipate. It we, can also use the heat as a source, of power in its own right or use, it as a way of D Saladin Waddell with coastal, common, towels, come. To think of it I like the idea of a steampunk solution. We, generate steam at the collector, and use the steam pressure as part, of the active support of the tower itself, we, also tap it for energy using, turbine generators, and then, pump the cord fluid back. To the collector the. Entire structure, could be a giant steam engine converting, the steam to electricity as we go. Traditionally. You do this with magnets, launching, material, up a mass driver that, slowed down and deflected, back by a receiver up top but. In theory any flow of matter walks. So. Power satellites, seem a much more attractive option and a potential, gateway to space as launch, costs, drop we've. Talked about many industries, that might feel a snowball, effect to help us get into space science. Tourism, even, filmmaking. But. Which of these can match energy. A market. Making up roughly 10% of, our global, economy and, the biggest bottleneck, on gradle possibility, for Humanity, in this modern, era get.

Power Satellite, operations, down to even just near the price per kilowatt of, other, existing, sources and it, not only could power our homes here, on earth but. Our efforts to make homes off earth, and. Certainly, the power demands too many factual, space habitats, will be much higher than that sized, for the habitats, ongoing. Domestic consumption so, even, if power generation, was the first piece of infrastructure, built additional. Power could, be beamed construction, projects, as needed, or even, as emergency, panel a ladle indeed. Temporary, beam power for space projects, such, as mining, and construction could. Be a major space, industry, in itself, and. Its applications, own just for Earth and near-earth as we'll, see next week when, we continue our discussion of generation, ships to colonize distant, stars one. Of the hardest parts about traveling, in deep space is getting, up the speeds necessary, to do it unreasonable timelines, and to, provide power to those ships fall from the Sun but, still needing to keep warm and lit, for those who dwell inside you. Can beam Pal out quite a long way and you can use it to help ships get up to speed of, course slowing down is another matter and one, we'll discuss next week in Exodus. Fleet. Electricity. Is the lifeblood of all our Science and Industry here, on earth and. We'll be for those ships too and, fundamentally. As launch, costs drop and solar panel efficiency Rises. Power, satellites, can offer us a virtually, unlimited supply. Of electricity without, the, ecological, problems, or supply, bottlenecks, of our current, energy options. We. Had to gloss over a lot of the discussion, of the basics, of electromagnetism. Induction. Current, heat engines and other core topics, that explain how power, generation, and transmission is, actually. Done and why some of those methods we looked at today are better, than others if you'd, like to learn more about those topics or just brush up on them then I'd recommend the regents physics reviews those. Courses step through basic, physics and some more advanced material in a detailed, and professional. Fashion never. Skipping, over Tom's by assuming folks already know them but also not dummy things down either, those. Are available over, that skill shell an online, learning community that focuses on assembling, classes, on technology, and has, courses, on everything, from basic sciences, to, a lot of model and software and I've, been using a lot of their classes, on video production audio. Engineering, and animations. To improve the content he'll on the channel if you, want to improve your skills unlock. New opportunities, and do, the work you love give. Skill shell a trot and a, premium membership gives, you unlimited access, to, classes, like those if. You want to join me and the millions of other students, already Lonnie on Skillshare we, have a special, offer just for my listeners get. Two months of skill shell for, free to. Sign up go to skl sh. /, isaac to again. Go to sk l da sh /, eyes or two to get two months of unlimited access to, over 20,000. Classes, for, free @ now for the special offer and start learning, today as, mentioned. Next, week we'll be returning to our topic of generation, ships to, look at ways to provide them the power they need to cover huge, interstellar, distances in, reasonable. Times and to keep their crew alive doing, those voyages through, the empty ocean of space. The week after that we'll be teaming, up again with Joe Scott of answers, with gel to look at some of the potential catastrophes. Humanity. Might have to deal with before, we can get out there and set out the galaxy and the, ways we might avoid those mitigate. The damage or recover. After Ward's for. Lords when those and other episodes come out make, sure to subscribe to the channel and if you enjoyed this episode hit, the like button and share with others, until. Next time thanks. For watching and, have, a great week.

2018-07-29 12:37

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And these power satellites just happen to double as handy assassination death-rays, able to vaporize a human target in a fraction of a second. But that's just a coincidence.

The content seems interesting, but the heavy accent makes it really hard. I stopped watching after 3 minutes.

lets just hope the Russians don't microwave Francisco and then set a ultimatum.

thermal blooming , first time i've heard the term be4 i loveit

a graphene vid?

Huge mistake around 1:00: „Solar power is useless during cloudy days”. It is not. During cloudy days solar panels still work, providing 20-30% of their peak capacity. Not impressive, but if we have enough of them, they are still useful.

Is this how we would become a K1 civilization?

I notice a lack of knowledge in this video, a lack of general knowledge that I do find important in these types of videos. Like that 90% of the growth in energy consumption is produced by renewable energy. Or that it is impossible to propel another satellites with a laser since momentum is conserved.

wtf, so this is episode 13, 144 and 30 as well?

Play the intro at 0.25x speed. You'll thank me later.

Thank you so much for these videos. I take so much away from them. I really hope the future is as bright as the possibilities you show on the weekly.

My DOGS are calmer when you are talking Isaac. You have two husky and one malamute fans.

It's not a speech impediment, it's a one of a kind accent.

I always listen to your videos when I'm sleeping, helps me fall asleep and I keep playing every video until a new one arrives! Thanks for helping me sleep better, cheers ♥️

I loved the advertizing!

International treaties against the militarization of space may prevent the practice of beaming down energy from space since such a device could easily be weaponized.

Possibly, I suspect getting a treaty amendment or waiver for them would be easier than getting the public convinced it was safe, that's why the tight-beam approach tends not be considered too viable. The diffuse beams can't really be weaponized without adding components that would be very obvious and time consuming to attach, and satellties are easy to shoot down, so countries aren't likely to be worried about those for military or terrorist reasons.

"I say good business is where you find it." -- Dick Jones, Sr. Vice President, OCP.

These aktive Support structure concepts would also be particle accelerators dwarfing the LHC, wouldn't they?

Most versions yes, you can do simpler ones that are basically just a big wire or bike chain sort of setup too

Solar power on earth is not totally useless on a cloudy day

Trump is on it Isaac. He's making Space Force! Space belongs to the US assholes. You don't like it ya soy boy Liberal Cucks!?!?!? Then maybe your punk ass country should get on it, or maybe you should yourself.Whoever conquers space first gets it bucko. Your not entitled to the space my country conquers just because your government sucks, your poor, and your stupid. Take birth controle and stop having kids you can't afford and my taxes need to pay for. I want them taxes to go to Space force!

4:17 idea, though chaotic: satellites that strip electrons from the atmosphere and then after lightning rips more electrojs out of the ground, which we can generate power from, releases the electrons back for a second inverse lightning which we can also collect power from. Though I guess at that point you can just use normal lightning which is already pretty abundant...

The old intro is back!! Yes!!

I see upward bound as a civilisation wide ideal. A purpose to a country. Lets have an o'neill cylinder for each earth country..then by race for those that want it. Then a few targeted breeding mix of human..then let them go off and see who they become genetically and as identities while hopefully watching semi immortal on earth while it gets cheaper to have your own retirement island in the sky..

Instead of a satellite adding radiation to the atmosphere why not have it shade what it adds so that shade matches added heat?

It's possible that the first high powered energy beaming will be up rather than down. Not necessarily for launch vehicles, but more reasonably for ion-drive driven interplanetary transfer vehicles, as it's one way to get a much higher power to mass ratio. For example something like the DS4G thruster has quoted power density of 50kW/kg,.. ...however this power to mass ratio is reduced by between 1 and 2 orders of magnitude if you have to carry even the best available nuclear power reactors or thin film photvoltaics.

Planet oarth is amazing

So fucking interesting!

The difference between a power satellite and a death ray is where it's aimed.

What is that accent?! It drives me crazy that I can't place it...

It really isn't one, just some bizarre byproduct of my speech impediment, seems to be sticking around even with the impediment going away though.

No love for Dyson-Harrop? Also, magnetically confined plasma beams will really useful for mass/energy transfer within in the solar system and even perhaps extrasolar.

Does anyone else watch these videos and imagine they're narrated by a college graduate Homestar Runner? Mean, I know, but I love it.

The problem with lasers in space is that it can always be used as a weapon. Not just against targets on the ground but also military satellites in orbit. Hence it will never happen unless the world is unified somehow. This unification can happen either through a nation, nations or something like the UN.

This subject I can understand better than some of your more recent topics and found this video most informative> Thank you very much for keeping it simple for us laymen out here.

station keeping for a few million m^2 of solar panels would quickly get expensive, much less billions of m^2. photon pressure would constantly be pushing it out of position

Isaac Arthur true, but that would eat heavily into your power production everytime you off angled them to produce a lateral thrust and reduce the normal forces. maybe size the panels to match the normal photon pressure forces vs the gravitational force on the panels so they sort of "float" on the light to reduce orbit maintenance

You kinda hit on the answer with the problem, you can twist big solar sails around occasionally to do the station keeping using the light pressure.

When I first learned about powersats in the 1970s, I was enraptured. Free energy for a billion years! I couldn't wait to get started! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFufOGZBwFM So frustrating that forty years later we still haven't even begun to make a beginning at making a beginning. The Orion spacecraft might just possibly be a hint at movement in the right direction. Please visit vote.org. One part of keeping us moving in the right direction is electing a Congress that knows we don't have to "reopen NASA".

By your logic a kamen tower could be converted into a solar powered arcology powered by numerous beam down satellites . By this logic it would also be possible to improve agriculture by beaming down microwaves upon plants that are genetically modified to use it in photosynthesis 24/7.

NEWS NEWS NEWS!! New 2019 defense budget contract guidelines:: Air Force is being forced to consider spaceX and BO for all future launches, and their ban on reused rockets has been lifted. If they decline to use the option that costs 1-10% as much as their other contracts they are required to report to Congress exactly why they would make such a horrible decision. Big step toward launches costing a few million, instead of billion. Yes that really is the level of efficiency we are talking about.

Isaac Arthur as in Asimov and Clarke? If so, I love it.

Asimov and the Foundation series is one of my all time favorites. 2001 is still my favorite movie.

:) It's not a pseudonym, though I was named in part for Asimov, geeky family.

I wrote a thesis about this in high school

The videogame Vanquish has its plot revolve around an O'Neil cylinder habitat that also doubles as a power satellite that can beam energy down to earth. Then Russian terrorists captured it to microwave an American city...so yeah.

Power to move ships? Ooh crazy eddie and a star that weirdly changed color for a century or so :D

20 dislikes?!? I guess ignorance is bliss. Great video as always Arthur.

Load Isaac Arthur Video. Check. Get snack. Check. Enjoy. Check,

4:44 Free Navy attack on Earth at the beginning of the Interplanetary War, colorized.

Imagine a solar cell on one side now mirror the back side. Now make a circle, then another circle around that one and continue. What you have done is condensed the surface area.

Isaac, I would like to suggest that you cover more things that are a few decades away. It gives one a good reason to feel positive about the future that one will live long enough to see. I imagine videos about the relatively near future can help practical researchers as well since your ideas are quite insightful. Keep up the good work man, it's very much appreciated! ☺️

I probably should do more near-future topics, though I do regard this one as a 20+year thing, probably longer, not too near at hand. I always feel like the near-term stuff has been covered so much its going to be boring though.

All the current energy providers of the world could fund this project and benifet from the construction of the transformer stations, while lowering the need for fissile fuels..

6-8 node sats set in orbit around to earth beaming the suns energy to one another, at any given point of the day 1 or 2 of these nodes would be exposed to the sun allowing them to direct the sun's energy to the others. Which can then be transmitted back to earth transformer stations. Near endless access to solar energy for the entire planet. This version also makes solar useful for the current grid sense the energy exposure would either be constant or flux like a sine wave as the nodes make their orbital passes over exposure regions...

Oh yes, like shining magnifying glass on ants!

The space shuttle - a horrible dead end project that set space exploration back by a generation - would seem like a bad rocket to have in your intro #JustSaying

It seems to have gotten a bad rap of late, it certainly had its flaws but the re-usability thing, even though it didn't work out well for the shuttle, was the right path. We learned a lot with it. Other paths might have been more fruitful, or maybe not.

why are you not the biggest YouTuber yet??! Your videos are just amazing.

I love your videos, recommended you to my friends and they look forward to your videos as well. (Orbital rings are my favorite) this particular episode intrigued me because I’m a calibration technician for microwave equipment. As I’m writing this you just started talking about orbital rings! Lol weird. Keep up the awesome videos!

I was thinking about the beams. My first thought was, they are so hot, so clouds wouldn't be a problem. A so hot beam will penetrate them like they weren't there... And then, I am not a meteorologist but I believe if a beam so hot hits a low pressure cloud, it will create a storm. And who knows what kind of storm it will be....

Love the co-host episodes. Makes it feel like a space Community

How did I miss this yesterday?!?! Ahhhhh if we had more teachers like Isaac Arthur I think kids would loves science a lot more.

Okay, I think that this idea/stage had to be explored as if it could happen, and good effort doing so. You took it as seriously as could be. What Asimov couldn't foresee from the standpoint of the 1940's, however, is that sustainable/passive power generation would develop to the point that this stage is irrelevant to the overall evolution. The resources (financial, physical, & creative) that would go into making these power-transfer conduits happen would be better put to other developments. To be fair, I think this has only become obvious in the last 5 years because of the looming appearance of distributed power generation by things like residential solar roofs, etc. Power satellites were a prediction generated from the idea of centralized operation. It is inherently inorganic and prone to bottlenecks and disruptions in all its ways. Basically, it's a holdover from a colonial and imperial paradigm. This is not the world we're heading into. This multi-trillion dollar industry of generating electricity has proven to also generate a lot of destruction and corruption. It is inherently destined to be replaced at large with a distributed network, and it has no way to fight that evolution. The current generations of individual-scale "renewable" technologies have already begun to spread through the social consciousness, and there are sufficient commercial and academic resources feeding that evolution to guarantee that it cannot simply be squashed by incumbency. Obviously, power-generating satellites will have their place in the future, but it won't be sending energy to earth. Earth already receives more than enough direct solar energy and secondary wind & wave etc effects to sustain itself, especially in the lower watt per person consumption future. Bucky Fuller saw that 50 years ago, and it has only gotten closer. Instead, these satellites will feed power to the moon, or mars, or (ironically) the outer solar system colonies where a large collector in space can efficiently beam power to small installations and habitats. Even fusion reactors, cool as they are, still amount to a big fussy industrial system, whereas a passive solar collection with infinitely variable scaling just... works.

Beaming power to satellites should be looked at. Ion thrusters could be used to keep low earth satellites in orbit much longer making satellite internet much more feasible. If you had a few microwave collectors in space and then the power is beamed via laser to individual satellites you could maintain a fleet of satellites in orbit. One option might be using a large feature like a crater on the moon. Simple carbon fiber netting instead of chicken wire might work using the moon as structure? Power from the earth is microwaved to the moon and then lasers are used to beam power to the satellites to maintain their orbit, and even change their orbits a military application.

This video is incredible. Thank you Isaac and the team!

The future is now #

Someone needs to start a go fund me for an orbital ring, and before you start laughing at me for the absurdity of the notion, I'm suggesting getting whatever we can, and then investing it with a reputable stock broker/firm for a few decades. It might take a savvy broker an entire career to make the sum big enough, but hey, it's for a freaking orbital ring. That, or we could just call up all the billionaires and explain to them why being able to literally control the entire space launch market at bargain prices, launching from anywhere might be profitable.

*SPACE FORCE* It's real!

0:08 Let's get off Earth and cuckold space!

Wouldn't the meteorological effects of a giant rectenna's heating cause some really severe weather? Even if you went for the low density, high volume option of covering farms with chicken wire, having all of the farmland in the US throwing off that much heat should make a difference, shouldn't it?

That accent though

Let me tell you this: Your sponsor-ad is one of the least annoying I saw on youtube - in fact it doesnt annoy me. And I'm incapeable of desribe it better.

If we were to harness fusion, would it still be necessary to try and harness solar, etc?

Man, Isaac, you ever feel you were born in the wrong time? I sure do. Wish I had been born 200 years from now. Aubrey DeGrey needs to make this life extension thing happen!!!

@Isaac: For the Generation Ship episode (or perhaps sometime in future, since this one is likely baked already) could you please try to address how we keep one of those things running for a few thousand years. I mean, we regularly have electrical components for computers fail after a mere decade, not to mention the hatch seals on your airlocks 'drying out' (plasticizer loss) - or vacuum welding shut if you choose to skip seals and go for close fit instead. I've loved the idea of these things since childhood (I'm 50 now), but there are some aspects of them that just seem even more daunting than 'simple' engineering megatasks like crafting millennialy stable ecosystems to support all the colonists.


Dispersed microwaves can be used to transmit power and can be converted back to electricity with a schottkey barrier diode. We did it back in college.

Awesome video and could you do a video about alien biology, how aliens have certain ability’s due to there home planet like for example like tamaranian , kryptonian and coluan

Suggestion. The Power Satellite- One Autonomuos Body. Movement- manipulation of the centrifugal Force. Two heavy tubes. Using tech close to that of a magneglide (Japans trains) to excelerate them in to a very fast centrifuge. Then use a magnet at the right position to pull them into an angle and the inertia will toss the satellite up. As for the radiation of waste heat.. One can use a thermo-electric to recapture some of the energy lost. Here comes the weird bit. If we can have a sufficiently strong power storage system.. In can just come back down and plug in until it's low enough it will not have enough to go back up on its own.

So impractical

This is retarded, would damage the atmosphere

"A big giant laser is also know as a death ray." lol

flashback to gundam 00 :o

Can you do one on Global Warming? I would love to see how that fantasy works out if it was real. I'm sure we would need a warp drive and fusion generator just like all your other scenarios just to get it off the ground. Maybe a railgun too. That would be cool. I'm kidding of course. I just find it ironic that someone so smart can be conned by something so dumb and the global change or climate warming scam. Its usually believed by left leaning people or those that don't have seasons. Its hard to believe the globe is warming a degree or 2 when it can rise and fall 100 degrees in a single day and nothing is permanent. Maybe do a video on what the metric system is in regular form of measurement for the people in the USA? I hate having to look up kilograms in pounds or kilo meters in feet. Its annoying and I can't relate to your videos as a passive dedicated viewer if I have to keep looking up your clicks and pops as means of measurements. At least you still use days and years as a measurement of time instead of moons or seasons. I never had a problem with your speech pediment and neither should you. You have a great voice and speak very elegantly.

I try to stay away from the topic, it's controversial as hell and IMO thoroughly discussed, I prefer fresher topics. We did do one kind of on it for Weather Control & Geoengineering.

Anyone else thinking about the solar energy thing from future boy conan or is it just me?

you forgot to mention low sun orbit ~mirrors~, which (with some holographic lenses tech) could concentrate/redirect light energy on orbits around earth/moon/mars. Energy flow per square meter is inverse of square radios to sun, so satellite at 0.01 AU from sun, will have 10000 more energy income per same square. getting there is not very hard too : to low periapsis gravitation maneuvers with earth, venus and mercury can be used, and to low apoapsis (lower than mercury) solar sail, or solar thermal rocket (giving we already have means to concentrate/redirect light energy) with 1200 isp.

too bad we can't get the space elevator to work that could help transmission.

BTW, Isaac, I think you should be in contact with "The real Ironman", Elon Musk. If he just see any of your videos, I am SURE he will take your call. I can only imagine what you could do, with that guy resources backing you.

:) Probably not much, some of the ideas here are original and my own, but almost entirely the ones for many centuries ahead, mostly we look at topics that have been kicked around in space colonization circles for decades that he probably already knows.

Thanks a lot for your channel Mr Isaac Arthur! I learn a lot and find your videos relaxing to listen to.....and I learn stuff!

To be honest, I used to be into all this 'boldly going...' ideology. Now I suspect humans will never leave Earth to 'live' on other worlds.... humanity may do, in the form of our machines, ones which can carry the best parts of us, but cost (resources) and engineering ease (carrying a bubble of Earthliness where'ere we go is overly complex and laughably expensive) means only our machines will ever visit the stars and other worlds. While it's a pleasing conceit to imagine humans living on Mars, machines will get better, do those jobs better and learn faster and better (and safer for us) by going in our stead. It's pretty and nice to imagine humans going to the stars... but I strongly suspect we're simply never going. Machines, machine learning-based systems can have emotions, like curiosity, and go look at the universe far better than we can. Let them?

Nobody said Earth won't be the centre of a vast region of influence, a grand future where Earth is bathed in resources collected from afar, a storehouse of knowledge gleaned from the corners of this arm of the galaxy.... all collected and brought home by machines. High-speed travel is easy... if you aren't made of flesh. Today we can make circuits to go in the nose of a shell that can withstand the acceleration that would turn a human into a banknote-thick damp patch on the back wall of a crew compartment. Circuits require only moving charge... the average human dies without water in just over a week, needs a frighteningly narrow rage of pressures, temperatures, radiation exposure and gaseous concentrations.... and we both know how hard it is to convert poop into food and pee into drinkable water and go on to do that for any length of time reliably. I don't doubt that lots of wonderful things will be done by humans. I don't doubt that technology will race on apace and do so for centuries to come. I don't doubt that people will yearn... and as much as I like horses, I don't use one to drive to work. Ultimately, humans are eminently practical and economics has the ultimate say. The future *will* certainly be glorious... but the glory attainable by flesh has limits. The laurels may rest on the heads of others, others built of sterner stuff.

You may be missing the point that machines can carry 'humanity' better than meat can. None of our vices, all of our curiosity? Surely that's a better goal than wanting a future that risks human-centred silliness like war in space, politics on other planets, mosques on Mars and brothels on Titan?

I understand the mindset I'm just never sure why folks announce it, it seems like recruiting for defeatism. If you're right, we don't really lose anything by trying, if you're wrong, we lose out on a grand future.

You had me at "a giant laser in space".

Having the rectennas in the roof of each car. That means that it will recharge all the time. An electric car with infinite range.

When I went back and finished watching all of the old episodes from before I found you..... I had the exact same crisis that one would have when of their favorite series ended. There was a week where SFIA was 4 or so hours of my day lol

One hurdle for near future space solar generation would be transmission as well. The cost of building electricity generation is expensive but is only a small cost compared to transmitting that energy to homes and industry. A microwave collector would have the same issues as any other generator in that is has to be built in remote and un-populated/developed areas and then transmitted to where it is needed. Multiple collectors would still require an interconnected transmission network that we require today to improve efficiency and reliability. Another problem is reliability, a beam would have to be maintained and somewhat constant to be an improvement and would require redundant gatherers or mirrors to ensure that. One of the main downsides to solar today is we still require traditional fossil fuel plants to pick up the deficit in generation caused by intermittent supply. One possible solution is to combine a project like this with the planed future industrial corridors that are being suggested in developing countries, especially those that have limited access to water and have large tracts of arid land like the Middle East and Central Asia. I still get a kick out of the idea, and want a ring! Transmit heat and energy? Damn you made an orbital ring look like we are fools for not having one already :D

Reminds me of Sim City 2000.

It's funny. Beamed power reminds me of Sim City 2000. That actually had a bunch of things in it you didn't see back in later iterations of the game (or only in some versions.) Arcologies, and several forms of powerplant. The game had coal, oil, gas, garbage burner plants, fission... Wind turbines and solar plants. (mirror concentrator hot oil/sodium plant, not photovoltaic). And of course, at the very high end, Fusion. But, just below the top end fusion plant, you had the beamed power plant - which basically looked like a large radio dish, but was designed to pick up a beam from a solar array in orbit. The other interesting thing is the disasters you could get randomly depended on various things in your city. For instance, if you had a lot of water you'd be more likely to get a hurricane, otherwise you'd get tornados. Lots of forest meant more fires. If you had an airport, you could get plane crashes. Having military bases made the alien and monster attacks more likely. If you had a nuclear (fission) plant, you could have the worst disaster, a nuclear meltdown. (it's the worst because it leaves radioactive contamination that the game provides no method of removing, so parts of your city become permanently uninhabitable.) But, the other power plant with a unique disaster associated with it was the orbital plant. And sure enough, the disaster is the beam targeting going wrong, and thus instead of hitting the powerplant it starts cutting a path through your city... (the beam is invisible, but you see it cut through buildings, destroying stuff and starting fires.) I miss those subtle touches... XD

Those mugs are awesome, punny and nerdy. Great way to start a conversation with a bright person or scare off twits, multi-purpose goodness.

Hey Isaac, have you read the Long Earth sequence by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter? I highly recommend it. I just finished the first book in the series, and seeing that you have said you like Terry Pratchett, you should really read them when you have the time. I also recommend Stephen Baxter, he is an amazing author too.

Why dont we use mirrors on earth to reflect the sun and prevent the heating of the planet due to climate change?

Bluebonic Wow that's pretty awesome. Thanks for the info, will have to check it out.

They do (to a degree). Several of the glaciers in Italy have partial reflective coverings during the summer.

Isaac, would you consider debating Ken Ham? Bill Nye is an amateur compared to you.

I love the intro music.

Have huge clusters of power satellites focus power onto collector arrays located on the outside edge of your planetary orbital ring, then pass the power down a massive super-conductive conduit running down the side of one of the atlas pillars supporting the orbital ring. This way your not adding much heat directly to the atmosphere, but most importantly would be achieving high efficiency power transfer from orbit to ground. Also make sure to ensure that all branch power transfer conduits radiating out to your cities from the base of each atlas pillar are super-conductive. Edit: Well I thought this idea of mine was brilliant, but I posted it earlier in the video, and later on in the video Isaac brought up the same idea. I failed lol.

What's your opinion on powered satellites that collect higher-energy radiation than visible light? Like you say, the atmosphere filters out nearly all light with shorter wavelengths than the electromagnetic spectrum. But in space, ALL of that is potentially available, since the sun fairly evenly distributes its light across a wide portion of the radiation spectrum. I'm not very well versed on how solar collection works, but my intuition is that UV light and X-Ray light would net considerably more energy than visible light, correct?


Can't understand a damn thing you are trying to say. Get help.

One of the best shameless plugs ive ever seen.


Isaac is the man ! Been subscribed for about a year now and love your videos. I'm 55 and have learned more about science and the universe the last 5 years or so than I ever did in school thanks to channels like this one. Thank you

For a solar power satellite at geosynchronous orbit, is there a preferential latitude (other than the equator) which to beam the power down- say, anywhere between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn) to get maximum transmission and avoid losses due to distance, beam spreading, or depth of atmosphere traversed?

I was always freaked out by the idea of the powerful microwave beam wandering off course and making lamb roasts out of sheep. Neither have I ever liked the idea of fully opaque PV panels rendering vast land swathes unusable for conventional photosynthetic crop farming. Even though I've considered handshaking and sliver cells respectively, this video offered significant relief of my anxieties! Thanks again.

Space exploration, it if is to ever take off (yes, I know), has to be able to give us something we don't currently have. More land isn't it, because (contrary to the doomsayers) we aren't running out of land. Power isn't it, because it isn't competitive with current power generating techniques. Resources isn't it, because we have plenty right here. We have barely tapped the resources of this planet. Let's face it, Earth is a pretty comfy place. It's where we were designed to live, so if we are going to go "galivanting 'round the stars," as Jim T. Kirk once said, we need to have a compelling reason to do so. So far coming up with that reason has been our problem, not the associated tech issues. -Ken http://www.LaserGuidedLoogie.com

If there were no money.... then we could already be living on mars. Not in 2 hundred years.

I don't think it will ever make sense to beam power down. Considering the losses occurred just in the beaming process (the expense of huge transmitters) and then adding the transmission losses, localized terrestrial power production seems to make more sense. I could definitely see having arrays on orbital rings and power drops off of them. Otherwise just have large space mirrors to concentrate light on solar plants and others to block some light to keep Earth cool. With better materials and technology we can continue to improve the thermal efficiency of thorium and possibly in the future Fusion reactors. Dumping waste heat to space using an orbital ring seems feasible by sending up hot shot into the ring.

Great video. please get a speech therapist.

"Cheepar and welable"

Now almost every video I click now has some mention of it. Strange coincidences sometimes. But I must say that it's a pretty nice speech impediment when everything comes around, I understand you easily, and you sound like some 1800's slave owner from the South when saying some words. I mean it could be worse But thanks for the videos you have done and are doing. Very interesting, and much more in depth than any other channel I've seen. Kudos! EDIT: Subbed of course! Have a nice day!

Have you heard of the saying "Columbo egg"?

Hahaha! Interesting usage of the word 'traditionally' at 25:00 Isaac! I've suspected for some time that you're already living in the future.Keep sending the inspiring postcards 'back' to us 'stupid bags of mostly water' dude! :-)

Isaac, how long would the useful lifetime of a solar panel be in orbit compared to on the ground?

I saw a Popular Science article about "someday we will go to other stars in ships like this" or something to that effect. After watching this channel I can say either you raised the hell out of the bar or they just hit rock bottom and began to dig (or both). On an unrelated note, I wrote an article for a Star Wars D6 RPG fan pub about spacefaring bird people who use O'Neill cylinders and engage in starlifting. I added dramatic elements that don't make sense in the scientific sense, but it is an RPG with space wizards and such.

i just took 20 50mg trazadone i hope i die.....love your channel btw i can literaly watch your videos on repeat...well keep up the good work without me.

I like how you emphasized one of the challenges with an orbital ring is that it encircles the *whole* planet. I feel that individual national identities and physical borders will remain strong for thousands of years yet, if they ever falter at all. As long as that is true, getting literally every country to agree to a single uninterrupted structure that exists over their territory - even one that allowed national segregation with discrete governmental control given to the nations it passes over - would be utterly hopeless. Sure, space belongs to no nation, but that doesn't mean that any nation is required to allow someone to build the supports and infrastructure for a space-based structure in their sovereign territory.

Ive got to stop watching anything regarding near term space exploration and future speculation. it puts me in a spiral of severe depression. I'll NEVER see anything like this. I just turned 37, im not exactly old, but even if I live another 50 years, I'll be long long LONG dead before anything like this even begins. no one wants to do it. no government wants to invest in it. we dont even have scientists who consider this worth while. we lost our instinct for exploration, we surrendered the space race and gave up. in 1000 years we might start to go to the nearest planets in the solar system, maybe, but in my life time we wont even go back to the moon. we wont go to mars. we wont build a scratch of orbital infrastructure, we wont do a damned thing. and there is NOTHING that I can do to change it. we lost all drive, all interest, all desire. its enough to make me want to give up and die young before I get too disappointment..... anyway I'll just stick to the far-off stuff, the stuff I know I wont see, like mega-structures and the like.

Lost me at 20:45 when you said that a 1,000 kilometre tower would be "very safe" when there's a power loss. Not sure how that's the case. I also, sadly, expect that it'd be impossible to get planning permission for such a thing as it immediately becomes a massive terrorist target and the idea of a tower that size falling on your city will have any local government kill the idea dead. I'm looking forward to the "Jobs of the Future" episode. In particular the number of people that may do each new job and how that many compare to the number of people put out of work by automation.

Several years ago when Senator Cronyn was first running, two of us put together a white paper which I briefed him on concerning space power satellites. I'm afraid I was throwing pearls before swine.

you always forget the magnetohydrodynamic generator

Space exploration will decline in the future. Capitalists are greedy. Communists are rational.

deckuofm let's hope it continues

Pardon my ignorance, but I still don't understand how microwaves being beamed down to a rectenna over a farm wouldn't cook things below the chicken wire.

I have to be honest This channel is one of very few things that gives me optimistic feelings at this point My imagination goes crazy with any of the topics covered Thank you Isaac Arthur for your work! Wish I'd use the inspiration better, but I do support you on Patreon!

Thank you once again. Another fascinating video.

love you daddy Issac

LOL the hardhat guy at 6:42 and 27:07

Great episode! I've been saying for years that the only way we are ever really going to establish a permanent foothold in space is to develop a return on the investment of getting there (beyond just research). Power satellites has always struck me as the most obvious and immediate avenue for that return.

I’m studying abroad in Japan, and I cant watch TV, so this has actually been my main source of entertainment...The relaxing tone of voice, the solid facts, the educated opinions...seriously thank you. You’ve been my primary source of relaxation for the past 10 months here, and even before that...Every meal I eat, I’m accompanied by these videos

You're the man, Issac. Keep it coming sir.

Well done, I appreciate this effort at real and imminent engineering technology solutions for real and emerging challenges we face. Easily one of your best videos. You keep your focus on target and provide some good options and possibly even inspiration for those inclined to invest with resources and action. This video demonstrates how effective you can be as an excellent communicator of complicated topics for a wide audience, I take particular note of the lack of "off with the fairies" style, thought bubble production. Long may it continue. When industry comes knocking at your door, will you answer the call?

It looks like it declines for now.

Great work, ive always found space and physics to be very mind blowing, fact can be stranger than fiction.

That smooth transition, yo

Couldn't help but think of the microwave power plant disaster in Simcity 2000.

Isaac, you should be working for Tesla

A clarification about the comment on graphene starting to now be able to be made in bulk: I was looking over some of the info on what MIT had done and doing some calculations. While they would be producing graphene in bulk by spare footage, since it is so thin (1/3 of a nanometer for each layer) even rolling it into rings you could use to make a long chain for a tether (using a SINGLE ring with a 10cm average diameter made of graphene that is 1cm thick for my calculations) would take 35 years PER RING for the fast, low quality graphene method (20 times that for the high quality method they mentioned ... which is just the same method moving slower). This is because it would be composed of more than 300 million layers. That would be one HECK of a strong ring, though.

hey guys I just uploaded a video that proposes a system of space travel, if it proves to be possible, it could be the way to travel in space... check it out!

Isn't it the easiest to just use fusion.

If you've got it, maybe, though keep in mind most fusion designs spew out a lot of heat while producing electricity, adds to your maximum power more than beaming it in. If heat is your bottleneck, getting 300 Watts of juice for every 1000 W of heat generated is less ideal than getting 900 W off 1000 by beaming it in to rectenna convertors. Even if you've got fusion, you might stick your plants up in space and beam it down. Just depends on costs and priorities, the bottlenecks.

Greetings Ken. We want to get off the planet to greatly expand our culture, and as an insurance policy for the continued existence of that culture. The means to do that is colonizing using rotating habitats, which have better than earth biological conditions. Most science-fiction ignores their existence, and puts colonies on planetary surfaces. ;)

is there a moores law equivalent for PV tech?

Could you do a hypothetical video about what our galaxy would be like if we did have a hyperdrive? Would it be similar to Star Wars? Really like your videos keep up the great work!

Off topic, Arthur, its possible that primordial black holes could be the dark matter? The evaporation of those supposed black holes would be enough to justify the total of dark energy?

When there's a fusion reactor 93 million miles from Earth, why not get the energy below and above, the atmosphere. Look back to Gerald K. O'Neil's book, The High Frontier. The designs have changed but, the concept still holds.

Does humanity really need more than solar and advanced storage for a post industrial earth?

I enjoy this channel, it makes me think about interstellar travel, and many other things that if we could, possibly unite as one and expand into Interstellar space and make an interstellar civilization. Thanks for the awesome videos.

Bet you those current 55 dislikes are either people who don't undersrand or don't like his voice.

Desert areas covered with "chicken wire" would be good for raising things under it in the shade.

Total US cost spent on the Iraq war 2.4 trillion, not including Afghanistan. Could of built at least half a planetary ring mega structure with that, or a vacuum train network under the united states allowing coast to coast travel in 30 mins, or a base on the moon and mars easily, or again easily fully commercial fusion power.

My apologies, this is going to be a long one. There are several goals that need to build on each other for future power systems. continuous power availability even at night; high efficiency; expandibility; reduce global warming; support space flight. I conceive of several (many) space elevators linked together by a ring of solar collectors. The elevator connectors distribute power to the ground directly and bring both components and raw materials to the ring. The ring power generated would flow around the ring and feed down the connectors to the surface. A power distribution system on the ground would distribute power to areas not under the ring. The ring starts very small with solar cells brought from the surface, but as the ring becomes larger and wider the panels are manufactured on the ring itself using the power of the ring. Automated robots or remote tele-operator robots manufacture and attach new panels of solar cells to expand the power generating capabilities of the ring. There will be times of peak load and time of lower consumption. During these times of low consumption, the ring would manufacture more solar panels to increase the generating capacity of the ring. The ring needs to be complete before the power becomes continuous. 1 Meter wide. A science teacher once told me: "There are opinions and there are numbers." I hope I got the numbers correct. Numbers (rounded for convenience): 17 Tera-watts is the total energy consumption of the planet. 600 Watts per square meter = generated by each panel. 6,300,000 Meters = radius of earth 36,000,000 Meters = geo-stationary orbital distance 40,000,000 Meters = cylinder radius from center of ring. (rounded down) 394,384,000 = Square Meters At geo-stationary orbital distance the surface area of a cylinder 1 Meter wide (one Panel). 33% = (assumption) The effective percentage of area of the cylinder in sunlight. 130,146,720 = effective square meters in sunlight 78,088,032,000 Watts = Power generation of 1 meter wide ring. .078 Tera-watts = Power Generation of ring 1 meter in width. 217 Meters = Width of ring needed to generate 17 Tera-watts of power The shadow cast on the earth by the ring would help reduce global warming. Some panels may be mirrors to reflect sunlight away from earth. The ring would mount powerful laser beams to propel space craft and to protect itself from impactors.

"If you love your plant, put a ring on it." I like that.

Love what you do so much Isaac. Thank you so much. and I’ll definitely check out skillshare!

indeed there is

Do Rectennas make wireless charging an option or can they not be built that small?

I read somewhere that spaceX wants to bring launch costs down to $80/kg with the BFR and even if that's out by a factor of 10 it still means we're about to enter the age of space industrialization where things like this become realistic propositions. Ironically it's happening at the same time as elons other company disrupted the automobile industry so that within 15 years most of the new cars on the road will be electric, it would be perfect if those cars were powered by space satellites built thanks to SpaceX, maybe even built by a collaboration between Tesla, solar city, and space X!


The intensity can be cut down by vantablack

I keep an eye on tech and love your show like atmosphere it helps my brain thrive


Vanta black it absorbs 99.996%of most electromagnetic waves it is made of carbon nanotechnology

Thanks Arthur I don’t have the time to look and study all these topics but think I have a good understanding with the information i get

Hi Issac, can you talk about metatronics? Computing with light as opposed to electrons and how this might affect technology, especially space flight.

your comment on heat is not acurate. the planet will always have an atmosphere that contraps heat no matter what it consist of. Incomming solar energy contraps much by organic/chemical processes - on top of deforrestation we also have the plastic particles in the oceans working as underwater solar energy contraptors, creating even more greenhouse steam for our heatproduction to be contrapt by

infrared don't penetrate anything so all the infrared on the planet surface is made on the surface - (the energy we make is very infrared indeed) Incomming solar energy contraps much by organic/chemical processes, plasticparticles in water turns light to infrared to greenhouse steam megastructures for oceancleanup?

I can't really be asked to find the video where you said this, but before you said that finding materiel for fission fuel in the asteroid belt would be difficult because natural processes on the earth make it so there are veins that we can mine, but Thorium is common enough in average soil that if the reactors are pretty cheap you could literally just sort it out of soil. because in 1 meters squared of average soil there is 2 x 1cm squared of Thorium. And with that much fuel if you are using it in a molten salt breeder reactor that amount of fuel can supply someone with the same power as the average US citizen uses, and it would be a lot more common in an asteroid rather than being 2 parts in a million it would be more like 2 part per 10k. Because much like all the heavy elements most of them sunk into the core, while yes we would never use common soil on Earth because we have natural consecrations of like 14%, but it's still economical enough that we could do it. So it's definitely doable in asteroids, you were thinking about burner reactors only, which only use upto 5% of the fuel and only the rare U-235 at that. I think considering we have already demonstrated Thorium can work in 2 test unlike fusion it shouldn't be skipped over.

#AskNasa is this real ?

Never stop this Issac. You hear me? Have you talked about nuclear-electric spaceplanes?

@4:31 - Did anyone else imagine a sketch/scene of evolved ants using "magnifying glass" satellites to beam down power, and as one drifts off target, it cooks several ants as they flee? =)

Im wondering what your sources are for the power consumption of 18 TW, when the 2012 data shows electricity production was about 20 PWh world wide. unless you meant to say 18,000 TWh. or is there something im missing https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_energy_consumption also the ware on space based solar is higher than ground based, as the solar radiation from the sun is much stronger with higher energies, resulting in the radiation destroying the integrity of the solar panel. in space the loss, tends towards 3-5% per year, most ground based is between 1-2% loss per year.

it is sad, America spends $700 bn a year on the military.

this is an amazing channel, im hooked. we would not use steam rankin cycle though in such sats. would more likely use supercritical CO2 as thats a more efficient and smaller package.

I'm currently reading Ben Bova's 'Powersat'. It occured to me that you could use big high altitude aerostats @ 30km up with receivers on the top surfaces to cut down on the atmosphere absorption. Tether would serve as a power line. Started googling it and it turns out somebody had this idea (to the point of filing the patent) but without the advanced materials it is not viable. In couple of decades though it could be a stop-gap between ground based rectenna fields and the atlas pillars the video is describing...

Great episode. I have long believed that the moon must be our stepping stone to the solar system and it must also be profitable. I think that building solar power satellites with lunar materials is the best way to make space pay off quickly.

Amazing content, quality, and delivery, as usual.

30 minutes of complete gibberish - It is possible but then you have to consider the cost but I would say that can be overcome considering possible advances but that isn't consequential when you consider the legal problems but those can be overcome if you don't think of the negative possibilities but those wont matter considering the alternatives which are better than the consequences. WHAT?

I bet someone will start stealing the energy collection mesh over farmland and then smelt it down and sell it for scrap metal value.

Fantastic episode!! Would you consider a follow-up video about all the various options for beaming power upwards? For example, DARPA just declassified a project to that effect.

There are many simple ways to store energy here on earth, we do not need all these futuristic seems we can do it right now with simple technology that we have now.

I'll just keep bringing it up. $10,000 per pound. so space actually costs MORE THAN WAR!!!

and u wonder why we're NOT contacted by higher life forms????!! idiots.

only capitalism thinks it's normal to exploit space and it's resources as if They are ours. insanity.

only capitalism says don't live in peace and within your natural environment and available resources.

It takes a panel 100km wide to power mankind? That can happen. London is 50km wide and there is plenty of room in the open depending on the country.

Power storage ideas are an entire subject in and of themselves. The new generation of batteries such as metal lithium, zinc bromine gel and salt. Hydro-pneumatic devices which compress air using water in order to get around the heat transfer problems. Simply pumping water to a higher level during the day and converting with water turbines during the night is possible. It only remains to be seen which technique wins the efficiency, cost and convenience battle. Perhaps all will have their niche.

> says atmosphere at 100mi is 1 millionth in density v sea level > deadpan delivers that the view from 100mi would be breathtaking *he's a comedian*

Does anyone know the name of the old dude living in Santa Maria, CA who did a Kickstarter 5+ years ago to self-publish a book on low-earth-orbit solar power generation?

Start simple. Put mirrors in a 40,000 mile orbit, aimed to distributed, ground based, PV, or solar concentrator, arrays. The ideal location is deserts, but extra solar radiation is likely to create high pressure (cloud free) zones. As you mention, it reduces the ground based solar collection, by a factor of 6, and eliminates the need for storage (which we don't have yet). We have all the tech we need today! The mirrors are very simple, but very large. Proof of concept only requires 3 or 4 mirrors at a 10,000 mile orbit. The problem is the mirrors behave like solar sails. If the mirror rises when orbit is with the solar pressure, and they would drop in orbit when orbit is against. If the mirrors get to high, or too low, turn the 90 degrees to the sun during half the orbit for a few cycles. The same process is used to move mirror from low orbit to high orbit (for 0 cost). We upgrade the ground side as we improve efficiency. This could still be used as a weapon by aiming multiple mirrors at one point. That could be mitigated with self destruct systems requiring multiple member countries to activate. Sky glow could be an issue, but eliminating fossil fuels will reduce the particulate count. As to the scale, 18 terawatts a day, at 20% is 20W per square foot (200W per square meter), we would need a solar panel 37 miles on a side, a (combined) array of 50 miles (85km) on a side. Doubling that would allow switching the mirrors away from cloud covered solar farms.

Some day our ancestors will look into the night sky and see not cold lonely space but many thousands or millions of outposts of life. Parents will not only show children where the constellations are but also where their distant relations live. We will have an answer and know we are not alone. Gods speed earthlife beings.

One critical issue with large arrays in Space for power is micrometers & comet dust that can destroy them. Probably the only practical option is very large mirrors with filters to produce near coherent light since a meter impact in Mylar isn't going to create electrical shorts. Perhaps there is a meta material possible that would convert optical light into microwaves (ie direct visible to microwave conversion with any electrical conversion - no middle man). Mylar is cheap and light and thus its possible to lauch square km of mylar in a single heavy lift rocket.                                        That said there is an issue with microwaves interfering with radio transmissions. Probably the best option is a low earth orbital ring with tethers to transport electricity down to the surface. I think an orbital ring might be easy to construct that a space elevator since the circumference of low earth orbit isn't significantly longer a single tether to Geosync. orbit. Especially when you can use multiple tethers linked together and their orbital speed would hold them in place during construction. Another propulsion method is to use very large filtered mirrors to produce near coherent light and use that instead of laser to propel probes and space craft. Mylar is cheap and light, and an optical filter to reduce the light into a narrow wavelength would not be complicated. The only issue is collimating the light over long distances, but considering current optical tech, it should not be to difficult.

You're very bright. You attack a topic from all angles. Very informative. We love it.

You forgot the most important application that could be done right now: massive shades in Lagrangian L1 reducing the solar influx by 3-4%, enough to cancel any kind of "global warming" effect or fluctuation in the Sun's radiation (the main trigger in what we call "global warming" and ice ages). At the same time, when and if a Maunder Minimum will take place, the solar shades / mirrors could reflect back more energy, heating the Earth or part of it. Also, Philip Lubin could use those mirrors to generate some energy and power his giant 10 GW array of 1928 nm lasers in order to deflect any asteroid heading to earth. Or use it as a giant space weapon against totalitarians. The cost for all of this is just a fraction of what we spend now on "CO2 reduction" and "green certificates". All the industries would benefit from a lower cost of energy, if that is produced from coal with sequestration and in remote places, and at the same time, the energy bill would not include any kind of wind&solar subsidies (that will go to this massive laser space project). Win / Win for all and a massive incentive for a Moon Base, where all of that manufacturing for the 1500 km mesh array will take place. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwYJZqBB0ms https://1.bp.blogspot.com/_JtKzQh0R9Tg/ShoeWDFE8PI/AAAAAAAAAoI/8NiaXweN9dY/s1600/how-to-move-the-sun3.jpg

How will these systems react to solar flares?

Can't you use a specific frequency of energy when beaming to earth that is complimentary to a station on the ground, that if it were to stray off course could be harmless or far less damaging? Maybe the loss or tradeoff in power would be worth the safety.

1M subscribers

The same way all our satellites do

Only communism says we should kill everyone for the greater good

Look Arthur, no single company, no government, not a group of nations can handle that costs to save our planet and bring humanity to the levels that you show on your channel. And that is why we need a socialist planned economy. We have to destroy the whole concept of value (money). The whole concept of expensive/cheap, questions of costs, "whats worth it", these are categories of abstract value, categories of capitalism. Get rid of that, and the only boundaries the mankind will have in it's progress is creativity and the limits of nature. Then we can really start of. What do you think?

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