DUDA.SBSP teaching powerpoint

Solar Power
Basics, History,
and Strategy
Space Based Solar Basics
 Solar Power refers to
energy from the sun
that humans have
harnessed in order to
power things on
 Space Based Solar
refers to efforts to use
satellites to harness
this directly from
space instead of on
the ground.
Space Solar Satellites
Why Space Solar?
 Terrestrial Solar Power (ground-based solar power) is
not always sufficient to meet the growing energy
needs of planet earth.
 Space Solar can be used whether or not people on
earth can see the sun (even in rainy weather or at
night!) and it takes up no land on earth.
 This makes space solar really important – it avoids
all the problems with terrestrial solar.
Solar Energy Breakdown
U.S. Space Solar
 The government is currently
not investing the money
necessary to build space
solar energy.
 The government and
investors know it will be a risk
to develop space solar, so
they are not very willing to
pay money because they
do not know if they will ever
get the money back.
That’s too bad because..
 Global warming, global
change in climate, is
happening rapidly.
 Many scientists believe global
warming is due to the
accumulation of greenhouse
gases in the environment.
Some of those gases, such as
carbon dioxide (Co2), are
produced by humans when
they burn fossil fuels such as
oil and coal.
The Greenhouse Effect
 Greenhouse
gases absorb
and emit
Consequences …
 Some scientists argue
that global warming
will cause natural
disasters such as
flooding, hurricanes,
tornadoes, and
Natural Disasters
Clean Energy
 Fossil fuels burn to create
pollution and greenhouse
gases. They are also nonrenewable, which means
they are not unlimited (we
will eventually run out).
 Solar power is a
renewable energy source,
and it does not produce
any greenhouse gases.
A solution?
 For this reason, some
scientists think space solar
power could solve
anthropogenic (humancaused) global warming.
But wait, there’s more …
 In the 1960’s and
1970’s, the United
States was on the
cutting edge of space
 This was very important
for the competitiveness
of the U.S.’s technology
sector on the global
Aerospace Leadership
 Without a big project like SBSP,
the U.S. loses some important
components of aerospace
 Inventions based on the
breakthroughs made while
 Smart high-tech workers that are
going to other countries now.
 Infrastructure and industry for
developing things (also more
jobs and technology.)
Consequences …
 Without aerospace
leadership, the United
States will be unable to sell
technology to other
countries, influence the
things they do with their
technology, and stay
ahead of them.
 U.S. leadership of the world
is referred to as U.S.
U.S. Hegemony
 Some scholars argue that
U.S. hegemony is good
because, without it, other
nations may try to challenge
the U.S. and start wars.
 They also argue that the
world is more stable when
one single nation controls
 Bradley A. Thayer, the
author in the SPS file, thinks
that U.S. hegemony is
necessary to prevent wars
that would end the planet.
Sounds Great!
 But there’s another
side to this story …
 Is warming really so
 Is hegemony really so
 Does this SPS stuff even
Global Warming Hoax?
 The earth does get naturally
warmer and cooler over time,
leading some scientists to
believe that this climate cycle
is normal or at the very least
not anthropogenic.
 Every heard of the “Ice Age”?
This climate would have felt
very warm back then.
Feedback Cycles
 Global warming is thought of by some scientists
as a positive feedback; that is, carbon dioxide
builds up in the atmosphere and continues to
feed at a continuous rate until it speeds up and
causes a faster kind of warming, known as
runaway warming. This is also referred to as the
point where warming goes past the tipping
 Scientists who believe in positive feedback also
believe that if we don’t stop warming soon, we
will be over the tipping point and there will be
nothing we can do.
Kind of like this . . .
Negative Feedback
 Other scientists think that warming works in a
negative feedback cycle. These scientists
believe that the more carbon that enters the
atmosphere, the less will eventually stay there
and the more the earth will cool to naturally
correct the problem.
Kind of like this…
Negative Feedbacks
 Think of it like trying to climb a really steep hill.
The more you climb, the more you run out of
energy. Eventually, if the hill is steep enough, you
might just give up and climb back down.
 In this scenario, you never reach the tipping
 In debate, if you can win that global warming is
a negative feedback cycle, you can win that
we don’t need to do anything about it.
Other Problems
 Still other scientists say it
does not matter what we
do because we are
already past the tipping
 Others still say that SPS is a
bad solution because most
of the Co2 comes from
developing countries like
China and India. These
countries are likely to
continue using fossil fuels.
Hegemony Problems . . .
 There are also some problems with the idea that
hegemony is good or that it can be fixed.
 Launcher shortages.
 Lack of talent.
 Doesn’t solve war.
Launcher Shortages
 The U.S. does not have
many launch vehicles,
which are the rockets that
propel satellites into space.
 This is especially true
because the U.S. just retired
all of its space shuttles.
 Therefore, we rely heavily
on other countries like
Russia and China to put
anything into space.
What does this mean?
 In a way, this means that the U.S. will remain
behind other countries for a very long time when
it comes to space.
 This also means that it would be difficult for us to
launch solar powered satellites.
Lack of Talent
 Another problem is that the
U.S. does not necessarily
have enough scientists who
can work at NASA.
 The U.S. is falling behind
other countries in science
and math, so it will be hard
for us to find the people to
build and design SPS.
Does Not Solve War
 People like Barbara Conry, a foreign policy
analyst at the Cato Institute, a think tank.
 First, it is difficult for any single country to fix every
problem in the world.
 Second, unlike during World War 2, most major
conflicts do not occur between states but within
And the U.S. can’t deal with that
very well …
 Many of these conflicts are guerilla wars. This
means that they do not take place between
armies but between different groups of locals.
 These locals know the land better than foreign
militaries and thus are more able to fight there.
 Large militaries often have difficulty in these
SPS May Not Work
 Although many scientists find SPS to be very
exciting technology, others are not sure that SPS
will work.
 It takes a long time to make sure the technology
is perfect. Even the technology that exists now
has not really been tried on a large scale in
 It is reasonable to assume that SPS may not be
ready for 15-30 years.
Activity …
 What do you think about SPS? Is it a good idea?
 If you think it’s a good idea, why?
 If you think it’s a bad idea, why?
 If you had to choose between SPS and other
solutions to global warming, would you choose
 Do you think hegemony is a good or bad thing?
Now Switch!
 Make at least three arguments that answer the
arguments you just made.
 These gases trap heat and radiation, causing the
earth to get much warmer.
 Greenhouse Gases
Question 2
 This greenhouse gas is released when humans
burn fossil fuels.
 Carbon dioxide.
Question 3
 This is a word that refers to the United States’
ability to be a global leader.
 Hegemony
Question 4
 These are the machines that propel objects into
 Launch vehicles.
Question 5
 Oil is one of these polluting energy sources.
 Fossil fuels.
Question 6
 This word refers to something caused by humans.
 Anthropogenic.
Question 7
 These sources of energy will never run out.
 Renewables
Question 8
 Space solar is better than ________ solar power
because it can collect energy 24 hours a day,
every day.
 Terrestrial.
Question 9
 If global warming passes this, we will never be
able to fix it.
 Tipping point.
Question 10
 U.S. students are falling behind in this.
 Science.
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