A random thought occurred to me:

Can we harness the energy from cosmic rays or particles or deadly radiation that's found (in space) just like we do for solar energy?

  • $\begingroup$ I think the answer is pretty yes, theoretically - but when you compare the energy density of that to the blowtorch that is solar radiation in space, it's probably not worth the trouble. $\endgroup$ Oct 21 '19 at 15:46

It's not practical.

Energy density of cosmic rays: 1.8 eV/cm3, about 10-13 J/m3.

Energy density of the Sun on Earth: 103 J/m3, or 16 orders of magnitude more.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If the energy density of cosmic rays would be sufficient for energy harvesting, manned space flight would be impossible and semiconductor electronics would be destroyed. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Oct 21 '19 at 17:35
  • $\begingroup$ In the manner of a fresnel lens or parabolic mirror solar concentrator, you might use a giant magnetic field to concentrate cosmic rays (like a Bussard Ramjet collected hydrogen, in Larry Niven's stories). But the power you'd harvest would still be a tiny fraction of the power you'd spend to maintain the field. $\endgroup$ Oct 21 '19 at 19:45

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