To fans of science fiction, the idea of having solar power stations in space sending down energy to Earth is far from new.
News is, however, the fact that Japan have drawn up plans for exactly such a power station.
The idea, which is still just an idea, goes as follows:
Take an island, fill it witl billions of tiny rectifying antennas able of converting microwave energy into DC electricity. Run a cable from the island, where no-one is going to want to live, because of the radiation, to the mainland. Now take a handfull (or two) of solar collectors, shoot them into space and have them set up in a geosynchronous orbit and beam down microwaves onto the island from 36 000 km above Earth.
Sounds great, and as long as the whole thing worked according to plan. If the solar collectors missed their target, or someone decided to tinker with the whole setup, things could be very, very different.
Imagine a giant microwave oven, and then stuff the population of Tokyo into it…..