Foreign Policy Digital

China Is Winning the Solar Space Race

The United States should be leading on the energy of the future — but it keeps blowing its chances.

Every disaster movie starts with the president ignoring a scientist. But humanity’s survival isn’t a movie. If any U.S. president in the last five decades had had the foresight to take space-based solar power technology seriously, the incoming man-made climate disaster could already have been averted with a clean, constant, and limitless power source that costs less than burning fossil fuels—and the United States could be leading the field.

Today, if are accurate, China is at the forefront of the technology, which is basically solar power as you know it, except : It can collect energy 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. And instead of taking up millions of acres of land on the, about 22,000 miles above sea level—far above pesky things like clouds, rain, and the cycle of day and night that make peak terrestrial solar power so intermittent. China plans on putting a commercial-scale solar power station in orbit by 2050, an accomplishment that would give it bragging rights as the first nation to the sun’s energy in space and down to Earth.

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