Question: Can anything in space be used as a renewable energy source? (besides the sun)

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  1. Good question.

    Apart from solar energy, I’m not sure if you could harness the energy of something in space for use on Earth. The one possibility I can think of is called the Van Allen Radiation Belt. This is a huge stream of plasma (very energetic particles) that follow the Earth’s magnetic field. This is definitely a renewable source, as the particles come from the Sun (although indirectly). It might be possible to somehow extract some of the energy from this belt and beam it back to Earth. That’s still in the realms of science fiction though! (Similar and stronger belts exist around Jupiter.)

    In space, there is an isotope of helium found on the Moon called Helium-3 (it has only one neutron in stead of the usual two). It is in effectively unlimited supply, since once again, it comes from the Sun. Helium-3 is an ideal source of fuel for nuclear fusion, which is a “clean” form of nuclear energy. We have fusion reactors on Earth, but they are not yet efficient enough to be useful. I can see one day people mining the Moon for Helium-3 though if the situation improves!