Harnessing Solar Energy in Space | Teen Ink

Harnessing Solar Energy in Space

December 29, 2007
By Anonymous

With many nonrenewable energy sources becoming depleted all around the world, it is no wonder that solar energy is becoming more common. Solar energy is the energy that comes from solar radiation and is used to power multiple things like small buildings, houses, and other architectural designs. Since the B.C. time periods, people have tried figuring out how to collect the sun’s energy and use it towards improving the environment. Photovoltaic cells are forms of technology that convert infrared radiation, UV radiation, and visible light from sunlight directly into electricity. Solar collectors also play a role in harnessing solar energy by collecting and storing solar energy. On average, the earth’s surface absorbs the sun’s energy at a rate of 120,000 TW (terawatts) or about 120 quadrillion Joules of energy per second.

One can only think with the earth’s surface capable of absorbing so much energy, why is there such a trouble fulfilling the energy consumption needs of Americans? First off, one should probably remember where most of this energy goes. (Here is a hint: It covers two-thirds of the planet) Second, absorbing and collecting solar energy is fairly easy to accomplish, but storing this energy for extended periods of time is a rather complicated matter. Also, think of what happens when the sun goes down and solar radiation goes away. No energy can be absorbed at this time. Solar energy can be stored overnight, but if there just happens to be one rainy day, the solar energy left for that night is slim to none.

This is why there should be solar energy collection in space. Solar farms are a series of photovoltaic cells that absorb the sun’s energy for the bigger buildings and businesses. There should be solar farms that can take in emitted solar radiation in space. The sun never goes down in outer space. It never rains in outer space either (unless meteor showers are considered rain). Solar energy could be absorbed twenty four hours a day seven days a week. If the earth, a tiny little rock planet, is capable of absorbing so much energy on its surface, think of how much of the sun’s radiation can be absorbed in the vast outer space.

With solar farms in outer space, solar energy consumption would increase. The cost of fossil fuels used for heating like coal and natural gas would go down and fossil fuels will have time to renew before they are depleted. Pollution would also go down with a decreased consumption of fossil fuels and many conditions like lung cancer and asthma outbreaks can be avoided. When the abundance of solar energy increases, the price of solar energy should decrease. If solar energy replaces other forms of energy with its abundance and is practically harmless to the environment, solar farms in space should reduce much of the earth’s environmental and economic problems and well as energy technological problems in space.

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