Sound far-fetched? Not according to NRL electronics engineer Paul Jaffe; to him, the time has finally arrived.
To the naked eye, however, it looked like a whole lot of nothing. The only evidence that anything was happening came from a small coffee maker nearby, which was churning out 'laser lattes' using only the power generated by the system. The laser setup managed to transmit 400 watts of power—enough for several small household appliances—through hundreds of meters of air without moving any mass. The Naval Research Lab, which ran the project, hopes to use the system to send power to drones during flight. But NRL electronics engineer Paul Jaffe has his sights set on an even more ambitious problem: beaming solar power to Earth from space. For decades the idea had been reserved for The Future, but a series of technological breakthroughs and a massive new government research program suggest that faraway day may have finally arrived."