Scientists have assessed the feasibility of space based solar power for a long time now. Solar power satellites, specifically made for this purpose, can collect the unobstructed sun light and send the power towards Earth using low density microwave. The generated power would be cheaper, and would provide an eco-friendly source of energy for Earth. Although, there has not been any progress regarding this matter for a long time, some movements regarding this has been observed recently.
After a long time, NASA is planning to put the idea into test using a giant solar microwave space flower. This space flower is actually a satellite. NASA is planning to invest on the project and want to materialize the dream because NASA believes that, this large flower shaped solar power satellite can beam back huge amount of solar power.
Giant solar microwave space flower in above picture may look a little bit weird but this space-based solar panels make a lot more sense than Earth-based solar panels do. Flower Shaped Solar Power Satellite uses SPS-ALPHA (Solar Power Satellite via Arbitrarily Large PHased Array) that use a bio-inspired, modular design. This flower shaped solar power satellite weighs 110 to 440 pound. It is an array of small individually controlled mirrors which redirects incoming sunlight down towards the disc. The disk is placed at the bottom of the satellite. The back side of that disc is covered in photovoltaic panels. The front side which is pointed towards Earth is covered in microwave transmitters. These microwave transmitters send power back down to the ground using beams of low-intensity microwaves.
For now, prototypes have been ordered up. If everything goes perfect, then it is supposed to sent into orbit for a flight test.
Source : Ubergizmo