America may not be sending people to the moon anytime soon, but recently NASA has been interested in how we can use the moon to advance the scientific and space frontiers. From growing plants to using the moon as a way to destroy threatening asteroids to establishing a national park there, scientists seem to be realizing that there’s more to be done on Earth’s favorite space rock than simply sticking a flag in it. The latest idea for the moon, proposed by Japan’s Shimizu Corporation, involves turning it into a major hub for solar power by putting something called a Luna Ring around it. Would that make us married to the moon?
The moon is an advantageous venue for harvesting solar power, given that it’s constantly sunbathing. Solar-powered instruments, such as some used by Apollo astronauts and China’s recently launched Yutu moon rover have successfully harnessed the endless sunlight available to the moon. So why not increase the scale? Shimizu Corporation’s proposal involves wrapping a 250-mile-wide ring of solar panels around the moon’s equator and then beaming the solar power back to mother Earth.