90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science

US Military Pioneers New Solar Power Technologies

Here & Now Guests:

  • Keith Johnson, Wall Street Journal national security correspondent
  • Dennis Slafer, president and chief technology officer for MicroContinuum, Inc.

Scientists have been searching for years to find the holy grail of solar power– an efficient and inexpensive way to harvest energy from the sun.

As has often been the case with new technology, the U.S. military is at the forefront of exploration into new and more effective ways to use solar power.

Some U.S. Marines are pioneering new solar technology by taking portable, roll-up “mats” to remote combat outposts where there are no other power sources.

“They could  actually re-power their gear on the move,” Wall Street Journal national security correspondent Keith Johnson told Here & Now’s Robin Young, speaking about how Marines are using solar power in Afghanistan. “They were able to become a lot more mobile… more lightweight, lethal, effective.  It was a real tactical bonus, and that really surprised the Marine Corps.”

A Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company called MicroContinuum, Inc., is developing the same kind of technology for civilian use in the next few years, using plastic as thin as newspaper bags.


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

October 23 Comment

New Documentary Profiles Human Rights Watch Team

An elite group known as the E-Team travels across the globe documenting human rights violations and war crimes.

October 23 Comment

Bottom Of The Sea Is ‘A World Of Surprises’

The world's oceans cover nearly two-thirds of the Earth's surface, yet little is understood about the ocean floor.

October 22 13 Comments

Colorado Backs Away From Pot Edibles Ban

Critics say a ban would violate the state's voter-approved legalization of recreational marijuana, which took effect in January.

October 22 4 Comments

Modest Raise For Social Security Recipients

Economist Diane Swonk says the 1.7 percent cost-of-living increase falls short of the inflation older Americans actually see.