Exploring the Moon Using Beamed Light Energy

Artist concept of Light Bender. (Credits: Ronald Neale)

NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Phase I Award
Funding: up to $125,000
Study Period: 9 months

Light Bender
Charles Taylor
NASA Langley Research Center
Hampton, Va.


Light Bender is a novel concept for the generation and distribution of power on the lunar surface within the context of the Artemis mission and the “Long-Term Human Lunar Surface Presence” that will follow. The innovative concept is based on a heliostat that utilizes Cassegrain telescope optics as the primary means to capture, concentrate and focus the sun’s light.


NRL Power-beaming Demonstrated on International Space Station

NASA astronaut Jessica Meir demonstrates how the LEctenna™, a light-emitting rectifying antenna constructed by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, converts electromagnetic waves into electric current on the International Space Station. Similar technology could be used on the Earth’s surface to convert electromagnetic waves beamed from space-based solar arrays. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NRL PR) — International Space Station astronaut Jessica Meir completed the first U.S. Naval Research Laboratory power-beaming demonstration in orbit February 12, 2020, using relatively simple components suitable for STEM activities.

Meir showed how NRL’s LEctenna™, a light-emitting rectifying antenna, converted a wireless network signal, similar to home networks, into electric power. While the current generated and light emitted was a small amount, the setup proved the concept in space.


NIAC Award: Power Beaming for Long Life Venus Surface Missions

Power beaming for long life Venus surface missions (Credit: Erik Brandon)

NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program
Phase I Award: Up to $125,000 for 9 Months

Power Beaming for Long Life Venus Surface Missions
Erik Brandon
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

A new approach to support long duration Venus surface missions will be investigated, which will address the difficult challenge of surface power generation in such an extreme environment. The key mission concept centers on the use of a dual vehicle architecture—one vehicle is a high altitude platform that provides power generation in the more forgiving upper atmosphere of Venus, the other vehicle being a lander that stores and uses the generated power to execute the mission. These two spacecraft (and spacecraft functions) are tied together via an innovative power beaming system.


LaserMotive to “Ride the Light” With NASA

SEATTLE, WA–(LaserMotive PR – Oct 6, 2011) – LaserMotive, an independent R&D company specializing in laser power beaming and winner of the 2009 NASA sponsored Power Beaming Competition, today announced it is one of the companies named to work on the new NASA “Ride the Light” project, one of the space organization’s new space technology projects in the Game Changing Technology division to pursue revolutionary technology required for future missions.

“The technologies pursued in this effort have the potential to revolutionize both space launch and on orbit operations, we are happy to be working with LaserMotive and all of our partners to make power beaming a reality,” said Charles Taylor of NASA.


NASA Funds “Game Changing” Power Beaming Project, New Space Battery

NASA PR — WASHINGTON — NASA has selected two game-changing space technology projects for development.

The space agency has awarded approximately $3 million for concept studies to eight companies for the “Ride the Light” concept, which seeks to provide external power on demand for aerospace vehicles and other applications. NASA also has selected Amprius Inc. of Menlo Park, Calif., to pursue development of a prototype battery that could be used for future agency missions.

Space Access ’11: Aye Matey, ‘Tis the KC Space Pirates!

KC Space Pirates
Frank Smith

  • Work on laser power beaming
  • Some of power beaming money won by LaserMotive
  • Power Beaming competition — still has $1.1 million remaining – only 1 team (LaserMotive) can compete in terms of cable climbing
  • KC Space Pirate’s laser provider decided to sell its laser to someone else for $1 million — won’t let them borrow it
  • About $1 million short of a new laser
  • Officials are considering changing the remaining competition to avoid climbing — would involve beaming power between two points
  • Tether experiment
    • small sat (< 1 kg)
  • Ashes to Orbit
    • one ounce of ashes into polar orbit
    • open the container — ashes end up in a cloud
    • Re-enter the orbit in 1-2 weeks
    • spread the ashes over the entire Earth
    • one of the team is from India — if you can lower the price, would have millions of people wanting to scatter ashes in space — cultural element
    • hope to launch to launch one capsule per month by the end of the year
    • have a launch provider that doesn’t want to go public yet

Diamadis: X PRIZE Looking at Asteroid Deflection, Beamed Power and Martian Life

Asteroid Ida

Although I was not able to attend this year’s International Space Development Conference (ISDC) in Chicago, I have been able to follow it via Twitter.

X Prize Foundation Founder Peter Diamandis gave a presentation earlier today in which he outline the projects that his non-profit group wants to fund. Tweets from Robin Snelson and Donnie Lowther:

@DKLowther Diamandis: Beamed Power Launch X Prize; Asteroid Deflection X Prize–concept; Orbital Debris Removal X Prize concept.
@robinsnelson X Prize wants to award $20M Prizes for Asteroid Deflection & Orbital Debris Removal — thrifty!
@robinsnelson Peter Diamandis says X Prize looking at beamed power launch challenge $1M and Prize $10M
@DKLowther Diamandis: Martian Life X Challenge to develop life that can survive on Mars; believes it could done in a year if funded.
@DKLowther Diamandis: Putting the first civilian on the Moon is prime goal.
@DKLowther Peter Diamandis: nanotechnology is going to have a major impact on space technology.

LaserMotive Names President, Vice President

LaserMotive Press Release
Feb. 18, 2010

LaserMotive, an independent R&D company specializing in laser power beaming technology, has announced the appointment of company co-founder Tom Nugent as President and technology industry veteran David Bashford as Vice President of Operations.


Space Elevator Games Postponed Indefinitely By Technical Problems



The Space Elevator Power Beaming Challenge Games originally scheduled for this summer at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center have been postponed. The Spaceward Foundation conducts this prize competition as part of NASA’s Centennial Challenge Program. The challenge this year requires teams to demonstrate devices that can climb a one-kilometer vertical cable using electrical power transmitted via a laser.