TechSpace power plants. Scientists have a great idea

Space power plants. Scientists have a great idea

Conceptual illustration
Conceptual illustration
Images source: © Kyoto University

2:41 PM EDT, October 26, 2023

Scientists from Great Britain have studied the possibility of building power plants in space. The results of the research suggest that ultra-light solar panels can generate power in outer space.

Research conducted by scientists from the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom, which lasted six years, showed that ultra-light solar panels are capable of generating electricity in outer space. This is a discovery of key significance for the future of energy, especially in the context of plans to build space power plants.

The research team led by Professor Craig Underwood monitored the operation of ultralight solar panels mounted on the satellite. During this time, the object made 30,000 orbits around Earth, and scientists recorded power production and the reaction of cells to intense solar radiation, which is characteristic of the conditions prevailing in space.

- We are very pleased that the mission scheduled for a year is still functioning, after six years. The detailed data we have collected shows that the panels have withstood the pressure of radiation and their thin structure has not been damaged in the harsh conditions of cosmic vacuum - says Prof. Craig Underwood, author of a publication that appeared in the journal "Acta Astronautica".

Professor Underwood emphasizes that the technology of ultra-light solar panels can be used to build space solar power plants, which will deliver clean energy to Earth. In her opinion, scientists have obtained the first proof that this technology works.

Specialists from Swansea University in the United Kingdom also participated in the research, who have developed a new type of solar cells made of cadmium and tellurium. Although the efficiency of these cells has decreased over time, scientists believe that the research results suggest the possibility of commercial use of this technology.

- The successful test flight of these innovative, ultra-thin solar cells opens new possibilities for financing the further development of this technology. Large-area cells for space applications are a dynamically developing market, and such demonstrations help build the worldwide reputation of Great Britain in the field of space technologies - emphasizes Dr. Dan Lamb from the University of Swansea.

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