Human-made satellites have long been able to harness the sun's energy as it washes over them outside the protection of our atmosphere. But what if we could beam all that solar power down to Earth? The science fictional idea may be a reality sooner than you think.

That's because Japanese scientists have just made a critical breakthrough in wireless energy transmission. According to Phys.Org, researchers used microwaves to deliver 1.8 kilowatts of power through the air to a receiver 170 feet away. While the distance is not huge, the achievement is being hailed as a critical step toward the development of space-based solar collectors that beam energy back to Earth's surface.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has been working on the problem of space-based solar powered collectors for years. JAXA hopes to one day fill the sky with solar farms that can soak up the sun's energy, regardless of the weather conditions, and zap it back to us in the form of microwave radiation. We're still years out from such technology existing, but if we're ever going to seriously reduce our dependency on fossil fuels, doubling down on the sun is probably one of the best options we've got. [Phys.org]

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