Civilian and military researchers will explore the technology amid concerns about radiation and the possibility of misfiring beams from space.
The city of Chongqing in southwest China, where more than a third of the days of the year are marred by fog, is not an ideal location for a solar power plant. But it will soon have the country’s first experimental plant to test a revolutionary technology that will allow China to send and receive a powerful energy beam from space in about a decade, say scientists involved in the project.
Collecting energy from the sun and transmitting it to Earth using a huge orbiting platform was considered science fiction, but according to the Chinese government’s plan, the country will place a 1-megawatt solar power plant in space by 2030.
And by 2049, when the People’s Republic of China celebrates its 100th anniversary, the total capacity of the station or stations will increase to 1 gigawatt, equivalent to the largest nuclear power reactor to date.