After the Fukushima boondoggle back in 2011, Japan has wholeheartedly embraced solar power as its alternative energy of choice. So much so, that one Japanese construction firm is campaigning to power the whole Earth with solar energy, that they will beam down from the moon.
The Shimizu Corporation wants to, essentially, build a ring of solar panels around the moon's equator and transmitted back to the Earth via microwave. They want to get the project, dubbed LUNA RING (yes, all caps), started by 2035.
"A shift from economical use of limited resources to the unlimited use of clean energy is the ultimate dream of all mankind," Shimizu wrote on their website. "The LUNA RING, our lunar solar power generation concept, translates this dream into reality through ingenious ideas coupled with advanced space technologies."
That "advanced space technology" being robots. Shimizu wants to employ a small army of robotic construction workers to install a 400 metre wide ring of solar voltaic panels along the 11,000 km lunar equator. Not only will the ring's concrete base be constructed from local resources, Shimizu envisions that at least a portion of the panels themselves will be built using local materials as well. It certainly beats shipping them there.
Since the moon lacks an atmosphere, the LUNA RING would enjoy a non-stop bombardment of solar radiation which it would soak up, convert to current, and beam down to receiving stations located along the Pacific Rim via microwave antennas 20 km in diameter. Seems simple enough.
Of course this is all still very much in the concept phase. Given that these days Japan and China can't even agree on who owns the Senkaku Islands, can we really expect them to agree over who has development rights for the moon? Besides, America planted its flag first and, by explorer tradition, it's rightfully theirs. [Shimizu via Clean Technica]