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Unstrange Phenomena

18 April 2009

Weather: Hurricane-Killing, Space-Based Power Plant

From Denny: Since I live in the hurricane zone and a lot of America is now increasingly experiencing the same, well, this article sure caught my eye from Wired.com. It seems the sci-fi of what used to be our scary future has now arrived on our doorstep. It is a little disconcerting to start tinkering with Mother Nature as you never really know how she will respond to our meddling.

Here's an excerpt:

"How's this for crazy?: A company files a patent to destroy hurricanes as they form by beaming them with energy from a space-based solar plant.

Maybe it is crazy, but that same company, Solaren, took a first step in that direction this week when it inked a deal with the northern California utility, PG&E, to provide 200 megawatts of power capacity transmitted from orbit in 2016.

Apparently, sending up billions of dollars worth of solar collectors and using microwaves to send the energy onto two square miles of receivers in the desert is a little ho-hum to Solaren's wild minds.

"The present invention relates to space-based power systems and, more particularly, to altering weather elements, such as hurricanes or forming hurricanes, using energy generated by a space-based power system," Jim Rogers and Gary Spirnak write in their 2006 patent application.

By heating up the upper and middle levels of an infant hurricane, they say they could disrupt the flows of air that power the enormous storms. Air warmed by tropical waters flows up through a hurricane and is vented through the eye into the upper atmosphere. Theoretically, you could heat up the top of the storm and lower the pressure differential between layers, resulting in a weaker storm."

For a lot more in this article just click on the title link.

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