How large of a solar farm is needed to completely power the United States?
The simple answer is that a solar farm 100 miles long and 100 miles wide would be “more than enough to meet the country’s entire energy demand.”
The far more interesting answer, however, is that this hypothetical solar farm could be contained by a 460-mile line of chalk currently being drawn across Nevada by artist and activist Joseph DeLappe.
Project 929: Mapping the Solar, is both a long-distance bike ride and work of performance art. DeLappe hit the road on May 19 with a customized touring bicycle equipped with GoPro cameras, GPS technology, and an armature that holds the 15-inch pieces of chalk needed to mark up pavement in the desert.
His circuitous route will roughly trace the perimeter of the US government land that include the Nevada Test Site, Nellis Air Force Range, and the infamous Area 51. Project 929 refers to the 928 nuclear tests that took place on this land between 1951 and 1992.
During the estimated ten days it will take DeLappe to complete the route, he will be streaming a map with his current GPS coordinates using an avatar from Blue Mars, as well as live streaming the view from his handlebars whenever he has a decent mobile data connection.
An art professor with the University of Nevada, Reno, DeLappe calls his latest project “an ideational and political exercise towards symbolically representing the possible, physically re-imagining geographical space for energy sustainability. To map this desire — become a moving point, line of battle, contour of an idea, an edge, line of communication, measure or guide — is a driving principle.”