Space power plant and a mission to Mars: China’s new plans to conquer the final frontier

Beijing (CNN)China says it is working to develop a solar energy plant in space that could one day beam enough power back to Earth to light up an entire city. But with Beijing pledging to invest 2.5 trillion yuan ($367 billion) in renewable power generation — solar, wind, hydro and nuclear — by 2020, China might just have the financial firepower. The state-owned China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation hopes to be operating a commercially viable solar space station by 2050, according to a recent report in the country’s official newspaper Science and Technology Daily. Energy could be beamed to Earth via microwaves or lasers. But Pang Zhihao, a researcher at the China Academy of Space Technology, warned that the …