Ex-NASA engineer wants to build giant energy beam

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

space beam
The SPS-ALPHA will convert sunlight into energy and send it towards Earth in a giant microwave!

Did you know that the Sun is the source of all life on Earth? According to Solar Energy International, sunlight delivers more energy in one second than humans have used since the beginning of time! It’d be quite an energy source to tap into, wouldn’t you say? Former NASA engineer John Mankins and current president of Artemis Innovation definitely agrees, and he plans to build a device that’ll concentrate light into one gigantic death beam!

I’m just kidding, he’s not going to hurt anyone, but he’s really planning to launch a satellite into space and convert sunlight into energy. The device is called the Solar Power Satellite via Arbitrarily Large Phased Array (SPS-ALPHA). It’s a large gadget that’ll have a ton of “smart” mirrors shaped onto a cone, which will be able to capture sunlight. The mirrors are specially designed to convert the light into microwaves, just like the appliance on your kitchen countertop!

From there, the microwaves will be sent to Earth in one large beam, which could be used as a source of power in remote places. “SPS-ALPHA is a biologically inspired architecture, analogous to a hive of bees, or a colony of ants,” said Mankins. “A very large number of modules will be assembled to form a single enormous satellite.”

Even though the SPS-ALPHA sounds very futuristic, it’s entirely possible to construct. Most of the technology it needs exists today, plus, it’ll only cost about $50 million to make two prototypes in 2 or 3 years. Assuming there are no tough obstacles to overcome, Mankins will be ready to launch a full scale model in just 10 short years! If the SPS-ALPHA is built, I hope Mankins will keep it guarded from the hands of villains, because I just know they’ll turn it into a weapon!

Images courtesy of NASA.