people shouldn't be taking their ideas for power from science fiction books. that's just fucking retarded.
If you are refering to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_High_F ... s_in_Space
by Gerard K. O'Neill as fiction you are badly mistaken.
Gerard Kitchen O'Neill (February 6, 1927 â€“ April 27, 1992) was an American physicist and space activist. As a faculty member of Princeton University, he invented a device called the particle storage ring for high-energy physics experiments. Later, he invented a magnetic launcher called the mass driver. In the 1970s, he developed a plan to build human settlements in outer space, including a space habitat design known as the O'Neill cylinder. He founded the Space Studies Institute, an organization devoted to funding research into space manufacturing and colonization.
O'Neill began researching high-energy particle physics at Princeton in 1954 after he received his doctorate from Cornell University. Two years later, he published his theory for a particle storage ring. This invention allowed particle physics experiments at much higher energies than had previously been possible. In 1965 at Stanford University, he performed the first colliding beam physics experiment.
While teaching physics at Princeton, O'Neill became interested in the possibility that humans could live in outer space. He researched and proposed a futuristic idea for human settlement in space, the O'Neill cylinder, in "The Colonization of Space", his first paper on the subject. He held a conference on space manufacturing at Princeton in 1975. Many who became post-Apollo-era space activists attended. O'Neill built his first mass driver prototype with professor Henry Kolm in 1976. He considered mass drivers critical for extracting the mineral resources of the Moon and asteroids. His award-winning book The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space inspired a generation of space exploration advocates.
He applied to the Astronaut Corps after NASA opened it up to civilian scientists in 1966. Later, when asked why he wanted to go on the Moon missions, he said, "to be alive now and not take part in it seemed terribly myopic". He was put through NASA's rigorous mental and physical examinations.
NASA studies (1975â€“1977)
O'Neill held a much larger conference the following May titled Princeton University Conference on Space Manufacturing. At this conference more than two dozen speakers presented papers, including Keith and Carolyn Henson from Tucson, Arizona.
After the conference Carolyn Henson arranged a meeting between O'Neill and Arizona Congressman Morris Udall. Udall wrote a letter of support, which he asked the Hensons to publicize, for O'Neill's work. The Hensons included his letter in the first issue of the L-5 Society newsletter, sent to everyone on O'Neill's mailing list and those who had signed up at the conference.
In June 1975, O'Neill led a ten-week study of permanent space habitats at NASA Ames. During the study he was called away to testify on July 23 to the House Subcommittee on Space Science and Applications. On January 19, 1976, he also appeared before the Senate Subcommittee on Aerospace Technology and National Needs. In a presentation titled Solar Power from Satellites, he laid out his case for an Apollo-style program for building power plants in space. He returned to Ames in June 1976 and 1977 to lead studies on space manufacturing. In these studies, NASA developed detailed plans to establish bases on the Moon where space-suited workers would mine the mineral resources needed to build space colonies and solar power satellites.
Private funding (1977â€“1978)
Although NASA was supporting his work with grants of up to $500,000 per year, O'Neill became frustrated by the bureaucracy and politics inherent in government funded research. He thought that small privately funded groups could develop space technology faster than government agencies. In 1977, O'Neill and his wife Tasha founded the Space Studies Institute, a non-profit organization, at Princeton University. SSI received initial funding of almost $100,000 from private donors, and in early 1978 began to support basic research into technologies needed for space manufacturing and settlement.
The man didn't write that book for leisure reading. He wrote it as part of a serious effort to educate and spur businesses to develop industry in space.
You can say his plans didn't work out as fast as he wanted or you can say you don't think they are viable at all but don't harp on it as just fictional.
You know Arthur C. Clarke was a science fiction writer but he also did the math and described the concept for a geosynchronous orbit.
most important scientific contribution may be his idea that geostationary satellites would be ideal telecommunications relays. He described this concept in a paper titled Extra-Terrestrial Relays â€” Can Rocket Stations Give Worldwide Radio Coverage?, published in Wireless World in October 1945. The geostationary orbit is now sometimes known as the Clarke Orbit or the Clarke Belt in his honour.
I mean you'd have to be ignorant to not know that we use satellites on a daily basis that were placed just as described by a science fiction writer.
And solar power stations have nothing to do with US politicians. If they ever happen on any scale other than testing it'll be private industry that does it.