A Japanese company thought way, way beyond the box with this idea: putting a ring of solar panels around the moon’s equator and beaming that energy back down to earth.
The plan, drawn up by the design firm Shimizu, would involve mining the moon for materials and building the panels en situ. Once built, the “Luna Ring,” as it’s being called, would capture solar radiation and transmit it to terrestrial receiving facilities by microwave or focused laser. The best part: the energy supply would be round-the-clock, doing away with solar energy’s intermittency problem.
If that seems like an outlandish, outrageously expensive and unrealistic endeavor, that’s because, well, it is. And, as Wired points out, the hurdles extend beyond the realm of logistics:
[T]he Shimizu Corporation might want to consider the problems that may arise out of the appropriation of extraterrestrial real estate before it starts building space robots. Outer space law is notoriously difficult to apply in practice and may scupper the plans long before anything gets built.
This idea is much more fiction than it is science, but when tackling such massive problems like finding a zero-carbon base load planetary power supply, it helps to get creative. And, as the pace of technological innovation continues to accelerate, dreams like this one may be achieved sooner than we might expect.