China wants to put a solar farm in space by 2025
Humanity uses a lot of energy, and while solar power here on Earth is doing a reasonable job of contributing to the electricity mix, scientists have long hypothesized that gathering the sun's energy from space would be a lot more effective. And now China says it's going to be the first to do exactly that, announcing plans to build an interstellar power station that will orbit the Earth at 36,000 kilometers.
According to China's state-backed Science and Technology Daily, Chinese scientists plan to build and launch small power stations into the stratosphere between 2021 and 2025, upgrading to a megawatt-level station in 2030 and a gigawatt-level facility high above the earth before 2050. Without atmospheric interference or night-time loss of sunlight, these space-based solar farms could provide an inexhaustible source of clean energy. The China Academy of Space Technology Corporation claims such a set-up could "reliably supply energy 99 per cent of the time, at six-times the intensity" of solar installations on earth.
China's proposal suggests converting solar energy into electricity in space, before beaming back to Earth using a microwave or laser and feeding into the grid via a ground receiving system.
There are, of course, numerous challenges associated with this sci-fi-sounding plan. Such a power station would weigh a considerable amount -- around 1,000 tons -- so getting the gear into orbit will be difficult. Researchers are therefore considering whether the station could be constructed in space using robots and 3D printing. The effects of microwave radiation on the atmosphere will also need to be studied.
But it's clearly not beyond the realms of possibility. There's already a lot of research out there exploring this technology -- Japan has been talking about this for a decade, while space programs are constantly growing their understanding of the technology needed to effectively beam power back to Earth. Japan hit upon a solution in 2015 using wireless transmission, while the California Institute of Technology announced last year that it had created a prototype capable of harnessing and transmitting solar energy from space using lightweight tiles.
China has really ramped up its space program in recent times, reaching the far side of the moon and growing the first plants on the lunar surface. Its timescales for this plan may be ambitious, but its quest to become a space superpower suggests this common science fiction dream is closer than ever to becoming a reality.
译文来源：三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/47076.html 译者：Jessica.Wu
Capt.Falcon17 hours ago
Wasn't this in a James Bond movie?
vladtepec19 hours ago
Returning the energy to Earth via lasers or microwaves? Either of those alternatives would also be powerful energy * weapons* capable of dominating the world.
TeddyJakEddy18 hours ago
Have they finished putting a solar farm in the Gobi desert?
Chris18 hours ago
A super-high powered laser in space could easily double as a weapon.
JHM17 hours ago
China was building walls 2,500 years ago!!
Sparky18 hours ago
Sounds like Star Wars projects... the energy being transferred to earth by Microwaves is dangerous. That can be easily weaponized.
Keith19 hours ago
But we’ll have Space Force. So THERE!
Kimberly18 hours ago
Very interesting idea. Concerns though on the safety of the equipment out in space if it loses orbit and come crashing back down to Earth. Also, the safety of beaming high amounts of electrical energy through our atmosphere back to Earth could be pretty dangerous. The biggest concern though, is of course the potential of this being weaponized. China has not given the world many reasons to trust them.
B.A.Baracus19 hours ago
I thought coal was the future lol
Moody16 hours ago
One possible use is to use the energy produced to power a laser gun!!!
Charles17 hours ago
There was a report produced by NASA back in the 70"s that outlined how this could be accomplished if we had the will to do it. The microwave transmission of energy from space is doable but there are losses to the environment.
Catherder19 hours ago
Sounds like a death-ray weapon to me!
nate17 hours ago
"Let China sleep, for when she wakes the world will shake."
-- Napoleon Bonaparte
DREW19 hours ago
yan19 hours ago
Tricky to get power back to earth especially during rainy and cloudy days
Dowg8 hours ago
Will beaming the energy back to earth cause global warming?
Gordon Gekko17 hours ago
Earth based solar is already on track to be the cheapest of all sources of electricity, and advances in energy storage are moving along. No microwave beams needed.
David18 hours ago
mcmiked18 hours ago
Some one has to lead.... it sure isn't us....
Joe Mama18 hours ago
Turns out the US isn’t the most innovative country in earth anymore, our President and his supporters are still pushing for coal and oil...
L17 hours ago
Meanwhile we are building concrete walls
Pao16 hours ago
Obscure19 hours ago
And Trump's bringing the coal jobs back. MAGA!
Dean16 hours ago
Great idea, much better than nuclear power. I hope they can develop it safely.
Angel15 hours ago
Meanwhile, Trump is bickering about a wall and wants to bring back coal. That is just brilliant, isn't?
James19 hours ago
Oh yeah well Trump is going to create coal mining jobs on the moon!
george19 hours ago
China is moving towards the future, while trump and republicans want to keep people working in mines.
Gamefreak65117 hours ago
Trump builds a wall china gets a space station cool!
We're doomed19 hours ago
Have they figured out how long of a cable the will need to get the power back to earth?
Income Tacks18 hours ago
They still haven't walked on the moon.
tim6 hours ago
China is very innovative
Third Party7 hours ago
We need the Space Force