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Scientists target to tap electricity from space to earth

For space-based solar power to work, engineers have to be able to wirelessly transmit gigawatts of energy safely and reliably from space. Photo: BBC

Space chiefs are working on the possibility of wirelessly beaming electricity from space into millions of homes.

The European Space Agency (ESA) will this week likely approve a three-year study to see if having huge solar farms in space could work and be cost effective.

The eventual aim is to have giant satellites in orbit, each able to generate the same amount of electricity as a power station, BBC says.

ESA’s governing council is to consider the idea at its Paris HQ on Tuesday.

Solaris initiative would be the first to lay the ground for a practical plan to develop a space-based renewable energy generation system, although several organisations and space agencies have considered the idea over time.

Josef Aschbacher, who is ESA’s director-general, told BBC News that he believed that solar power from space could be of “enormous” help to address future energy shortages.

“We do need to convert into carbon neutral economies and therefore change the way we produce energy and especially reduce the fossil fuel part of our energy production,” he said.

“If you can do it from space, and I’m saying if we could, because we are not there yet, this would be absolutely fantastic because it would solve a lot of problems.”

The programme is one of a number of proposals being considered by research ministers at the ESA’s Council meeting in Paris, which will decide the budget for the next phase of the space agency’s plans for space exploration, environmental monitoring and communications.

Writing by Muzha Kucha; Editing by Tony Okerafor