It's a clever idea.
Ben Nowack, a 26-year-old inventor and former SpaceX employee, wants to send satellites with mirrors mounted on them into orbit to allow us to generate solar energy at night, Vice reports.
"Everybody's installing so many solar panels everywhere," Nowack told the site. "It’s really a great candidate to power humanity."
"But sunlight turns off, it's called nighttime," he added. "If you solve that fundamental problem, you fix solar everywhere."
Nowack founded Tons of Mirrors, an aptly named venture trying to get orbit-based reflector satellites off the ground.
The big advantage of having the reflectors in space means that "you can shine sunlight on solar farms that already exist," Nowack told Vice. "Then I developed several more technologies which I know for a fact no one else is working on. That made the model even more economical."
His concept for a reflector in orbit takes the basic technologies NASA's James Webb Space Telescope uses, he told the site, and turns them "the other way."
But instead of relying on one massive and unwieldy mirror, Nowack proposes building a parabola-shaped reflector out of "several million parabolas."
The entrepreneur is now trying to raise $5 million by October to test out one of the company's reflectors outside the International Space Station.
It's certainly a long shot, but it's a compelling concept, at least in theory. Besides, if there's one thing we've learned from his former boss Elon Musk, it's that proving that something can be done more economically can be worth an astronomical amount of money.
"Making this cheaper than everything else, that’s the challenge," Nowack told Vice.
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