24 March 2012

Inflatable Death Star? Space Mirrors Beaming Down from Above

Next Big Future
Inflatable Reflector Development at L’Gaarde. Inflatable antenna design matures in the form of this new 7 meter rigidifiable inflatable antenna structure. The torus and struts on this spectacular configuration rigidify shortly after deployment. The resulting reflector is thermally stable, stiff, and well damped, with a low error for high gain space applications. The entire reflector assembly stows in the small round structure visible above the simulated hexagonal spacecraft. It inflates and rigidifies to the configuration seen. _NBF
Brian Wang discusses proposals for orbiting large arrays of orbiting mirrors in a polar sun synchronous orbit, 1000 km above Earth. The idea as stated in the document embedded below, is to extend the time of insolation for particular land areas, which could convert the extra sunlight into electricity or heat.
Such a scheme could also be used to extend the growing season for crops, or to provide glacier-free living space in the event of an unforeseen ice age ;-).

As mentioned here previously, such solar-beaming arrays could also be used to damage crops, or to concentrate light and heat in damaging and deadly ways. Think of them as inflatable death stars, on the cheap. What evil galactic emperor could possibly complain about the cost of these bargain basement death stars?

All the more reason why space should be open to all, rather than limited to just a few powerful national governments. The greater variety of nationalities and peoples in space, the less chance that any would be space dictator could get away with such death star shenanigans.

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