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Editorial: AFRL should take a bow for solar work

When it comes to New Mexico’s presence on the national scientific stage, Sandia National Laboratories and Los Alamos National Laboratory tend to take center stage. Their nuclear weapons-related missions are pretty flashy, after all.

But it’s a disservice to leave the Air Force Research Laboratory off the program. The organization – headquartered at Kirtland Air Force Base and tasked with development of weapons and other technologies for air, space and cyberspace – is spearheading exciting developments that deserve attention.

As Journal reporter Scott Turner wrote Nov. 3, AFRL is working on development of a system to collect solar energy in space, convert it to radio frequency, and ship it back to earth in usable form. The technology – being developed in partnership with Virginia-based Northrop Grumman – would help power U.S. military operations.

It’s a promising project that’s just one example of how the U.S. military’s investment in research and development pays long-term dividends that could transfer into the private sector.

To leaders and scientists of AFRL: Thank you for the role you play in this important mission, both for our country and our state.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.

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