China wants to destroy space junk with giant lasers

January 18, 2018 by  
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Not only do we need to worry about pollution on Earth, but also in space . A team of six scientists in China are working on a very science-fiction-sounding solution: zapping that space trash with lasers . Could a space-based laser really help clean up the tens of thousands of pieces of junk orbiting our planet? From magnetic tugs to long tethers , the ideas of how to deal with our space mess have been imaginative but haven’t given us a firm solution yet. Could lasers offer an answer? Researchers from the Air Force Engineering University and Institute of China Electronic Equipment System Engineering Company published their work in the journal Optik last year on space-based lasers to tackle space debris. Related: ESA unveils magnetic space tug to corral broken satellites drifting in space According to the paper’s abstract, the scientists utilized numerical simulation to explore the “impacts of orbital elements of space-based laser station” on Earth-orbiting trash. Per Wired , a space laser could be mounted on a satellite , and in orbit “emit short bursts of near-infrared light:” 20 bursts a second over the course of a few minutes, which could be sufficient to break down the trash into smaller, less dangerous pieces. The scientists said in the abstract their work offers a “theoretical basis for the deployment of space-based laser station and the further application of space debris removal by using space-based laser.” The idea of space lasers isn’t wholly new – a 2015 paper cited by Gizmodo said there’s recently been a renaissance for the notion. That article says a laser would work by imparting energy into hunks of garbage so they could plummet out of orbit and burn up in Earth’s atmosphere . But would the rest of the world accept one country deploying lasers in space? Physicist Victor Apollonov of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ General Physics Institute told Gizmodo such technology could be put to military uses and “due to that, it is questionable.” He said people have been discussing the concept since the early 2000s, and there should be world-scale talks as a first step towards space lasers. Via ScienceDirect , Wired , and Gizmodo Images via Wikimedia Commons and ESA

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China wants to destroy space junk with giant lasers

Laser-driven fusion energy leaves no radioactive waste – and it’s within reach

December 14, 2017 by  
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Dramatic advances in lasers could get us closer to fusion energy . An international team of 11 scientists is pursuing what was once thought to be impossible, according to the University of New South Wales (UNSW): fusion power with hydrogen-boron reactions. The researchers describe this in their recently published study as the ideal clean fusion process: the technique needs no radioactive fuel elements and doesn’t leave toxic radioactive waste. Could we be closer to better fusion energy? The world for decades has pursued igniting the heavy hydrogen isotopes deuterium (D) and tritium (T). But generated neutrons from DT fusion produce radioactive waste. The researchers in their paper suggest an alternative: fusing hydrogen with the boron isotope 11. And lasers could help make this hydrogen-boron fusion possible. Related: ‘We were blown away’ – researchers eliminate obstacle to fusion energy Instead of heating fuel to the Sun’s temperature with “massive, high-strength magnets to control superhot plasmas inside a doughnut-shaped toroidal chamber,” according to UNSW, scientists can reach hydrogen-boron fusion with rapid bursts from two powerful lasers. This process requires temperatures and densities 200 times hotter than the Sun’s core – but advances in laser technology may have reached the point where the two-laser approach actually could be viable. Study lead author Heinrich Hora of UNSW, who in the 1970s predicted it might be possible to fuse hydrogen and boron without needing thermal equilibrium, said in a statement, “I think this puts our approach ahead of all other fusion energy technologies.” HB11 Energy , a spin-off company in Australia, holds the patents. Managing director Warren McKenzie said in a statement, “From an engineering perspective, our approach will be a much simpler project because the fuels and waste are safe, the reactor won’t need a heat exchanger and steam turbine generator, and the lasers we need can be bought off the shelf…If the next few years of research don’t uncover any major engineering hurdles, we could have a prototype reactor within a decade.” The journal Laser and Particle Beams published the research online this week. Scientists at institutions in Israel, Spain, Germany, the United States, China, and Greece contributed. + HB11 Energy Via the University of New South Wales Images via Pixabay and HB11 Energy

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Laser-driven fusion energy leaves no radioactive waste – and it’s within reach

Hawaii Considers Plan to Protect Endangered Birds with Lasers

July 8, 2014 by  
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Well here’s a surprising way to save birds. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service , the Hawai?i Division of Forestry and Wildlife and the Kaua?i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) have announced that they are mulling over a plan to place lasers on top of transmission poles throughout Hawaii in order to stop birds from colliding with them. It is hoped that the use of high-concentrated light will stop the islands’ endangered birds from hitting electrical lines . Read the rest of Hawaii Considers Plan to Protect Endangered Birds with Lasers Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Hawai?i Division of Forestry and Wildlife , hawaiian petrel , Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative , KIUC , laser defence , laser fence , lasers , US Fish and Wildlife Service

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Why Wi-Fi is Faster on the Moon than at Your Local Coffee Shop

May 29, 2014 by  
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Scientists from MIT and NASA recently demonstrated the new Wi-Fi connectivity on the moon, and it’s faster than the service that most of us get here on Earth ! Given that there hasn’t been a human on the lunar surface since 1972, the question remains: why? Read the rest of Why Wi-Fi is Faster on the Moon than at Your Local Coffee Shop Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: hi-speed internet , internet , internet connectivity , lasers , MIT , nasa , satellites , the moon , wi-fi , Wi-Fi on the moon

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Revolutionary “Superman” Memory Crystals Can Store Data Virtually Forever

July 10, 2013 by  
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Quartz Crystal photo from Shutterstock While most of us are just getting used to the idea of 3D printing , scientists are already working on technological marvels that operate two dimensions deeper. Researchers at the University of Southampton recently announced that they were able to record and retrieve five dimensional digital data using a quartz crystal. The  ‘Superman’ memory crystal is a futuristic storage technique with unprecedented features – including a 360 terabyte per disc data capacity, thermal stability up to 1000°C and a practically unlimited lifetime. Read the rest of Revolutionary “Superman” Memory Crystals Can Store Data Virtually Forever Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 5D , civilization , crystals , data , data storage , fifth dimension , glass , lasers , memory , nanotechnology , quartz , Superman        

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Shooting Laser Beams in the Sky Could Produce Rain Clouds

May 3, 2010 by  
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Researchers at Switzerland’s University of Geneva have come up with an interesting way of making it rain– shooting lasers high up into the sky . Though the strategy seems like science fiction, the team hopes that the lasers will be able to increase rainfall in areas that need it. Read the rest of Shooting Laser Beams in the Sky Could Produce Rain Clouds http://www.inhabitat.com/wp-admin/ohttp://www.inhabitat.com/wp-admin/options-general.php?page=better_feedptions-general.php?page=better_feed Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: cloud-seeding , Jerome Kasparian , lasers , lasers and rain , lasers form rain clouds , LIDAR , making rain clouds , university of geneva

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