Another potential application would be in sending power to space missions. Manned space missions to the moon or unmanned rovers exploring the further reaches of the solar system could have power beamed to them across space.
The solar project is the European branch of a study led by the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC). The University of Strathclyde research team is part of an international consortium involving American and Japanese scientists.
The NIAC study is seeking a new conceptual design for large-scale solar power satellites. The Strathclyde team is tasked with developing “innovative solutions for the structural elements and new solutions for orbit and orbit control.”
Last month, a team of science and engineering students at Strathclyde developed an innovative “space web” experiment which was carried on a rocket from the Arctic Circle to the edge of space. Known as Suaineadh – or “twisting” in Scots Gaelic, the design demonstrated that larger structures could be built on top of a light-weight spinning web, paving the way for the next stage in the solar power project.
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