The Cure For Spills, Peaks, and Crazy Foreigners…

Howard Bloom argues that America needs a space vision. Like solar power…FROM OUTER SPACE!

Space Solar
Space Solar

Bloom argues that space solar power is the solution to America’s energy needs. With space solar power, this nation would put satellites in orbit around the Earth. These satellites would collect the plentiful  solar power in space that’s just sitting there unused, ready to reduce your power bill, convert it into healthy radiation, and beam that radiation back to the Earth where it can be converted into power. Space solar power would have no problem with spills, weather, eminent domain, NIMBY, waste, Indian attack, pollution, or allergies. Other than the small technology, engineering, and financial hurdles, Bloom faces one massive hurdle in convincing the American people that this is the vision for them: the term solar power.

When the average red-blooded American hears the term solar power, they think of one thing:


That’s right. Hippies. For most real Americans, solar power equals hippies. Even when you say this solar power COMES FROM OUTER SPACE!!! doesn’t help. Even when you say solar power…FROM OUTER SPACE!, most Americans don’t feel inspired. They feel fear. There’s only one thing worse than earthbound hippies:

That’s right. SPACE HIPPIES.

Most real Americans want the hippies that we already have on Earth eradicated. The last thing they want is hippies in space on top of our current hippie infestation.

However, I agree with Bloom’s basic premise. Space solar power is just the sort of big picture project that this country needs. However, I think it needs an image makeover. For millions of Americans, solar power equals hippies and space solar power equals space hippies. That’s not going to change, even if you’re Howard Bloom, the guy who put the proverbial Cougar into the proverbial Mellancamp. You need something that says America to America. You need something that says MAXIMUM POWERFROM OUTER SPACE!

The next thing you need, as Bloom points out, is compelling imagery. The power of the visual, especially for MAXIMUM POWERFROM OUTER SPACE!, can drive even the hardest hearted America to support Bloom’s vision. Unfortunately, most of the time you’ll be offered something like this:

That’s OK but this is America. Can we do better? Yes we can.

We need something that reaches out and grabs the viewer by the lapels and demands their respect. Something like this:


This is the armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet MAXIMUM POWERFROM OUTER SPACE! producing satellite that will inspire a nation. Moreover, we will win the respect and admiration of the entire world through fear of this battle station our vision, engineering prowess, and hard work. As we finish it, the world will realize that this means that we will crush the Rebellion with one swift stroke be able to bring them a source of almost inexhaustible MAXIMUM POWERFROM OUTER SPACE! The whole world will eventually witness the firepower of this fully ARMED and OPERATIONAL battle station realize the benefits of our efforts as we bring them MAXIMUM POWERFROM OUTER SPACE! Nothing will be more inspiring than the first time we transfer MAXIMUM POWERFROM OUTER SPACE! to the surface of the Earth:


No one should have any safety concerns about MAXIMUM POWERFROM OUTER SPACE!, however. Though the occasional safety accident can happen:

Industrial Accident
Industrial Accident

So far MAXIMUM POWERFROM OUTER SPACE! has a perfect safety track record. As Bloom has said, we’ve been beaming power back to Earth without incident since we put up the first solar powered satellite that beamed a radio wave back to Earth.

The most important requirement for building an orbital MAXIMUM POWERFROM OUTER SPACE! production system in Earth orbit is leadership. You need someone who has a definite air of authority, who can hit production targets, who can manage a large workforce, and, when the going gets tough, find new ways to motivate them. Someone like this:

Candidate Number One
Candidate Number One

No. That’s a bit much for an American workforce. We need a leader who has a proven record of inspiring the American people with his vision for space, someone who has the technical chops to hang with the brightest space nerds, a proven manager who can operate under almost wartime-like conditions, and who can be a real slave driver and even a real Nazi when he needs to be. Someone like this:

Our Man
Candidate Number Two

His only disqualification: he’s been dead for 23 years. That leaves only one possible candidate:

Our Real Man
Our Man

Buckle up your 1982 GMC van, America. Better drink your milk too.

12 thoughts on “The Cure For Spills, Peaks, and Crazy Foreigners…”

  1. Man, space power takes me back to my childhood. Back in the 70s, L5 colonies building solar panels in orbit from lunar materials were all the rage, at least among geeks. Half the science fiction stories of the era were based on O’Neil colonies.

    Orbit based solar panel satellites could at least in theory actually supply reliable base line power.

    *Sigh* To bad it literally cost an objects weight in gold just to get it to geosynchronous orbit much less the Lagrange points.

    The things we think off just to avoid building a couple of nuclear power plants never ceases to amaze me.

  2. First you need a space elevator. Then you can “truck” your construction materials up to orbit.

    Best of all, the power beign beamed down need not remain a benign source of electricity for the toaster or the TV or the groovy green electric car. No.

    You need to secretly build it so that when your enemies least expect it, you can focus it down into a … death ray from space. Then you can rule the world. It would totally work. And it would be cheaper than building a race of atomic supermen.

  3. Better than a space elevator. A launch loop:

    For a launch loop to be economically viable it would require customers with sufficiently large payload launch requirements. Lofstrom estimates that an initial loop costing roughly $10 billion with a one-year payback could launch 40,000 metric tons per year, and cut launch costs to $300/kg, or for $30 billion, with a larger power generation capacity, the loop would be capable of launching 6 million metric tons per year, and given a five-year payback period, the costs for accessing space with a launch loop could be as low as $3/kg.

  4. Bob Zubrin, in his book Energy Victory writes about the advantages of solar collectors in orbit. They will never be practical in a terrestrial site as they take too much room. Zubrin’s book is well worth reading and the link goes to my review of it on Amazon.

    The energy solution will be nuclear power, especially breeder reactors. Solar panels in space is for the late 2000s.

  5. Inquiring minds need to know this.

    I was channel flipping and my wife was out of the house so I could watch a “completely stupid” TV program without shame or being shamed, so I watched an episode of “A-Team.”

    OK, I get the formula, that they are not just a Special Forces “A-team” squad, but they are a “renegade A-team” on account of being “framed” for something in the setup for the show, and they go around “doing good” kind of like Ed Woodward and Robert Lansing in “The Equalizer” and various members of the Team have personal quirks and special skills and such.

    But what was the deal with the 70’s vintage cars, including that GMC van? Yeah, yeah, car chases in every episode and all of that. But every, freaking, time a car goes around a corner, it does a fish-tail slide and recovery. Like, was the handling on 70’s cars really that bad that they were “all over the road” if you pushed them? Or did they tinker with the suspension settings on the cars in the show because this “corner, slide, fish-tail, and recover” style of car-chase driving “looked cool” to the target TV audience?

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