AN AMAZING FACT: Back in 1981, in the blazing desert near Barstow, California, the U.S. Department of Energy finished building what is called a “solar power tower.” It looked something like an ocean lighthouse in the middle of a barren desert surrounded by a flock of mirrors. “Solar One,” as it was called, was a pilot project constructed to generate electricity using the sun’s power. The tower was surrounded by 1,818 dedicated mirrors called heliostats that tracked the sun all day long. Their purpose was to reflect the sunlight to one common focal point—redirecting the equivalent of 600 suns to a target at the top of the tower. This hot spot became superheated, creating steam from water that turned an electric generator and produced 10 megawatts of power every day. In 2007, the U.S. Department of Energy completed a solar-powered unit in Boulder City, Nevada which can produce 64 megawatts of power each day, or about 134,000,000 kilowatt hours per year.
This reminds me of an amazing event recorded by ancient Greek and Roman historians that has been much disputed by modern scholars. They claim that during the siege of Syracuse in 212 B.C., Archimedes, the famous ancient Greek inventor, constructed a sophisticated weapon. Through carefully arranging a combination of mirrors, he focused the magnified light of the sun to burn up an entire Roman fleet. Whenever an enemy warship came within the range of a bow shot, he directed the intense light at the vessel until it ignited. Because highly flammable pitch was used to seal the boats, they were quickly consumed. This incredible event in history has never been disproved, but many have put it to the test.
Recently, a team from MIT tried to recreate the famous “Archimedes Death Ray.” With a series of mirrors carefully arranged, they were successful at starting a fire on a ship 75 feet away. Perhaps we should give more credit to ancient technology. After all, someone had to be pretty ingenious to build the pyramids.
The Bible teaches us that Jesus is the Sun of Righteousness, and every Christian is to reflect that light in this dark world. The power generated can save souls!
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. Malachi 4:2