Mr. S.D. and Ms. C.W. both sent this story to me, and I encountered other versions of it while I was investigating the Fukishima story, and I mention the latter story in this context because it's worth mentioning. But first, the two articles:
Now, if you're like me, the idea of a nation which cannot or will not get a handle on the Fukushima disaster running giant solar power plants on the Moon and beaming the power back to Earth doesn't seem exactly comforting. What if, for example, those microwave downlinks were inadvertently focused? Think charcoal here, folks.
Which brings me to the real problem here. Readers of my book Covert Wars and Breakaway Civilizations will recall that I mentioned an unusual project cooked up - pun intended - in 1968 by the insane American military-industrial-intelligence-finance-apocalypse complex. The "project" called for a system of "microwave energy satellites" that would capture the Sun's energy and beam it back to the Earth. There was just one teensy tiny problem. The microwaves thus beamed to Earth would have to be collected by antennas at sites that would each generate five gigawatts of electricity. Each of these stations would occupy 145 square kilometers of land, and would not allow anything - human or otherwise - to live there. The sites would be constantly cooked in a huge microwave.(See my Covert Wars and Breakaway Civilizations, p. 244).
That was the 1968 plan.
Now the Japanese plan, you'll note, is considerably bigger:
"Shimizu, a Japanese architectural and engineering firm, has a solution for the climate crisis: Simply build a band of solar panels 400 kilometers (249 miles) wide (pdf) running all the way around the Moon’s 11,000-kilometer (6,835 mile) equator and beam the carbon-free energy back to Earth in the form of microwaves, which are converted into electricity at ground stations."
And the Japanese have a point: why bother with launching satellites when the Moon is already there and could provide so much energy at the cost of a few robots and solar panels?
Well, the impracticality of the idea is evident from the 1968 proposal: what regions of the Earth do we want to see perpetually baked by microwaves? Deserts probably.
But if you're like me, you're smelling something here...another, more sinister possibility. One cannot weaponize space with WMD's without an outcry... so your big shiny 250-mile wide equator spanning microwave weapon - imagine cohering it into a maser - is sold as a "power plant," when in fact its other use and potential is as a region-busting, even a continent-busting, one shot kill WMD. Let's not forget the Nazis came up with the idea of a giant orbiting space mirror weapon during the Second World War. The Japanese have updated the concept with solar panels and robots, parked it on the Moon. Add masers and "voila!"
So I suspect what we're looking at here, folks, is the first in a series of "memes" that will be pushed in coming years, and it's being aired by the Japanese because we all know what environment-friendly peaceful non-military folk they are (imagine if the proposal came from, say, Russia or China or France or the USA... the suspicion meters would be instantly into the red zone). The meme of "lunar-solar power" or "selenosolar power" will be increasingly quietly pushed. But as I've said so many times before, as our technological proficiency increases, our physics, and our technology, becomes increasingly unified, such that, at the flip of a button, a power plant can be changed into a horrendous weapon. (Indeed, it's a very old idea). A Moon-sized maser is a very nasty thing to think about indeed.
But why even dream of such a thing? I suspect, once again folks, that behind the first level, the public story, of a Moon-sized microwave broadcasting power plant, and behind the deeper story of a Moon-sized maser, there might be an even deeper story. Obviously, such a weapon would be a geopolitical balance breaker on planet Earth. One cannot envision such a thing being constructed without a real degree of international cooperation and oversight, lest Earth itself become a target. So why construct such a monstrosity? Well... cohered microwaves on that scale could just possibly, just conceivably, strike large and powerful targets at a great distance...
This story is, in other words, not just a one-off by a Japanese architectural firm (and why did they waste their time and money proposing such a thing? Japanese architectural firms don't just sit around conducting free-of-charge studies for nothing or no one... that's like the Kobe Shipyards saying "oh those Yamato battleship plans are just a study"). In a world where space collateralization and asteroid mining and property rights on the Moon are increasingly a subject of serious discussion, you can rest assured this idea will not go away.
See you on the flip side.