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Senate Hearing on "Lunar Exploration"

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Testimony of Dr. David R. Criswell at Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space Hearings: "Lunar Exploration"

Thursday, November 6, 2003, 2:30 PM – SR-253

Dr. David R. Criswell, Director, Institute for Space Systems Operations, University of Houston and University of Houston-Clear Lake

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee:

I am honored to have this opportunity to introduce a program for the economic and environmental security for Earth, and especially for the United States of America, by meeting Earth's real electrical power needs.

By 2050, approximately 10 billion people will live on Earth demanding ~5 times the power now available. By then, solar power from the Moon could provide everyone clean, affordable, and sustainable electric power. No terrestrial options can provide the needed minimum of 2 kWe/person or at least 20 terawatts globally.

Solar power bases will be built on the Moon that collect a small fraction of the Moon's dependable solar power and convert it into power beams that will dependably deliver lunar solar power to receivers on Earth. On Earth each power beam will be transformed into electricity and distributed, on-demand, through local electric power grids. Each terrestrial receiver can accept power directly from the Moon or indirectly, via relay satellites, when the receiver cannot view the Moon. The intensity of each power beam is restricted to 20%, or less, of the intensity of noontime sunlight. Each power beam can be safely received, for example, in an industrially zoned area.

The Lunar Solar Power (LSP) System does not require basic new technological developments. Adequate knowledge of the Moon and the essential technologies have been available since the late 1970s to design, build, and operate the LSP System. Automated machines and people would be sent to the Moon to build the lunar power bases. The machines would build the power components from the common lunar dust and rocks, thereby avoiding the high cost of transporting materials from the Earth to the Moon. The LSP System is distributed and open. Thus, it can readily accommodate new manufacturing and operating technologies as they become available.

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