With all the talk about Mars and U.S. interests in colonization, we shouldn’t forget about our other celestial bodies. The moon, in fact, has been the subject of many plans since the 1950s when the U.S. proposed declaring it (along with the rest of outer space) a global commons.
One plan in particular was introduced after the March 2011 disaster in Fukushima, Japan. After the tsunami-induced nuclear meltdown occurred, energy costs in Japan skyrocketed and officials were motivated to seek more sustainable, safer, and cheaper forms of energy for their nation. Thus, the concept of ringing the moon with solar panels was born.
Yeah, you read that right. Solar panels. On the moon.
Solar power has become increasingly popular in Japan since Fukushima and one construction firm, the Shimizu Corporation, has created a plan to ring the entire moon with enormous solar panels and beam the energy down to earth in order to power not only Japan, but the entire world.
The company’s site touts their idea — the Luna Ring — as “virtually inexhaustible” and states that “non-polluting solar energy is the ultimate source of green energy that brings prosperity to nature as well as our lives.”
Their website shows a brief synopsis of the technology and how it works. In fact, the moon would vaguely resemble a Pokeball and the terms involved all sound like they belong in an episode of “Sailor Moon.”
But the Shimizu Corporation doesn’t stop with their Luna Ring — they have concepts for plenty of other energy sources. These include the Ocean Spiral, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a large spiral connecting the sea floor with the earth’s service and providing energy from the earth’s core, according to the website. Try 2004 is the company’s idea for a futuristic “city in the air,” meant to work more harmoniously with the surrounding environment. In keeping with their lunar theme, the corporation has concepts for a space hotel along with lunar bases for the moment space travel becomes a legitimate vacation option.
It’s easy to make fun of such endeavors now, as this still only possible in science fiction. But the truth is that the more technology advances, the more likely that the Shimizu Corporation may simply prove ahead of their time. It’s entirely possible that we may be chastising our grandchildren about their wish to go vacation on the moon with their families — we are planning to send our first colony to Mars in the not-too-distant future!