Elon Musk is sending his Tesla Roadster to Mars in SpaceX rocket

December 4, 2017 by  
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If you were a billionaire running multiple groundbreaking companies, why wouldn’t you send your personal car to space? That seems to be Elon Musk’s latest plan. In a recent tweet, Musk said when SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket launches from Cape Canaveral next month, the payload will include his own Tesla Roadster playing David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” on repeat – because why not? Musk is having way too much fun with his companies. SpaceX is slated to launch the Falcon Heavy for the first time next month, a rocket newsworthy in its own right for being “the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two,” according to SpaceX . As opposed to the Falcon 9’s nine Merlin engines, the Falcon Heavy is equipped with 27. Musk’s first tweet about the launch guaranteed excitement “one way or another.” Related: SpaceX to launch reused rocket in a historic first for NASA Falcon Heavy to launch next month from Apollo 11 pad at the Cape. Will have double thrust of next largest rocket. Guaranteed to be exciting, one way or another. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 2, 2017 Payload will be my midnight cherry Tesla Roadster playing Space Oddity. Destination is Mars orbit. Will be in deep space for a billion years or so if it doesn’t blow up on ascent. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 2, 2017 Around five minutes later on Twitter , Musk said he’s sending own midnight cherry Tesla Roadster to Mars . A red car for a red planet, Musk said – and it “will be in deep space for a billion years or so if it doesn’t blow up on ascent.” Naturally people wondered if the billionaire known for his sense of humor was joking – but Bloomberg reported earlier this morning a “person familiar with the launch plan at SpaceX” confirmed Musk’s tweet. So Musk may not be joking after all, but he’s sure having a grand time envisioning his Roadster among the stars. A Twitter user named d00d asked Musk why he wants to send his car to space, and he responded , “I love the thought of a car drifting apparently endlessly through space and perhaps being discovered by an alien race millions of years in the future.” Don’t we all. Via Bloomberg Images via Wikimedia Commons and Brian Solis on Flickr

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Elon Musk is sending his Tesla Roadster to Mars in SpaceX rocket

NASA communicates with spacecraft 13 billion miles from Earth

December 4, 2017 by  
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For the first time in 37 years, NASA has communicated with Voyager 1 – which is 13 billion miles away from Earth. The space agency made contact with the spacecraft to reorient it and activate its back-up thrusters to better send information back to Earth. Launched in 1977, Voyager 1 is the only known spacecraft cruising beyond our solar system. Prior to leaving, Voyager 1 and its sister ship Voyager 2 gathered, then transmitted to Earth, the first detailed data from Jupiter , Saturn and Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. NASA’s most recent communication with the spacecraft has made adjustments to its alignment, which should extend its usable life by two to three years as it continues its flight into new interstellar territory. Voyager 1 still communicates with scientists on Earth through the Deep Space Network, a communications system designed in the 1970s that allowed the most recent adjustments to Voyager 1’s trajectory to occur. Voyager 1 has primarily used its main thrusters, which periodically make adjustments to the spacecraft’s flight path to ensure optimum functionality. However, over the years, the main thrusters have become worn down, requiring the earthbound team to turn to Voyager 1’s back-up thrusters, which had not been used since 1980.  “The Voyager flight team dug up decades-old data and examined the software that was coded in an outdated assembler language, to make sure we could safely test the thrusters,” said Chris Jones, chief engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Related: SpaceX to launch reused rocket in a historic first for NASA Despite its long hibernation, Voyager 1’s back-up thruster system returned to duty without major incident. “The Voyager team got more excited each time with each milestone in the thruster test,” said Todd Barber, propulsion engineer at JPL. The mood was one of relief, joy and incredulity after witnessing these well-rested thrusters pick up the baton as if no time had passed at all.” The team intends to conduct the same operation with Voyager 2, which is expected to leave the solar system within the next few years. Via Science Alert Images via Kevin Gill/Flickr   (1) and NASA

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NASA communicates with spacecraft 13 billion miles from Earth

Tesla’s South Australia battery starts delivering power a day early

November 30, 2017 by  
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Elon Musk made an audacious bet earlier this year: he said his company would install a 100 megawatt (MW) battery system in 100 days to help South Australia beat blackout woes – or the project would be free. Not only did Tesla deliver on that promise , but the battery system actually started sending stored wind energy to the grid one day ahead of schedule. Tesla’s 100MW/129 megawatt-hour (MWh) Powerpack system, called the Hornsdale Power Reserve , is connected to the French company Neoen -owned Hornsdale Wind Farm, which is South Australia’s biggest renewable generator right now. The battery project can power around 30,000 homes for one hour, and was called upon a day early to help meet peak demand, dispatching around 59 MW of power. Related: New Tesla Powerpack system to offer energy savings of 40-50% The Powerpack project cost roughly around $50 million – and Tesla finished around 40 days before the deadline. It covers about one hectare of land and currently holds the title of the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery farm, but it won’t be long before it’s unseated by The Lyon Group’s $1 billion solar farm with 1.1 million batteries. South Australia announced a $550 million energy plan to help stabilize their grid shortly after Musk made his bet – including contracting for about 100 MW of energy storage. Vox pointed out while excitement for Tesla’s delivery is definitely warranted, another part of South Australia’s plan is incentivizing local natural gas and constructing a 250 MW gas-fired power plant. The state is in a sense “running a real-time competition for which can more quickly and reliably compensate for the loss of coal: renewables and storage, or natural gas,” according to Vox. South Australia’s energy plan website says the plan “will transform our energy network to provide reliable 21st century clean energy .” + Hornsdale Power Reserve Via ABC News and Vox Images via Hornsdale Power Reserve and Tesla on YouTube

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Tesla’s South Australia battery starts delivering power a day early

NREL’s solar-powered window breaks new ground with 11% efficiency

November 30, 2017 by  
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The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has revealed its prototype of a solar-powered “smart window,” which has broken new ground by achieving 11 percent efficiency, enough to potentially provide 80 percent of electricity needs in the United States. The NREL smart window is also able to lower building temperatures and generate electricity by changing the window’s appearance from clear to tinted. Not only does this decrease the amount of sunlight entering a building, thus lowering its heat intake, but also turns the windows into photovoltaic panels. Upon shifting to the darker, hazy view, the smart window then starts its energy production . “There is a fundamental tradeoff between a good window and a good solar cell,” said Lance Wheeler , a scientist at NREL. “This technology bypasses that. We have a good solar cell when there’s lots of sunshine and we have a good window when there’s not.” The smart window’s functionality depends upon advanced materials such as perovskite, a calcium titanium oxide mineral that is able to absorb sunlight and generate electricity, and single-walled carbon nanotubes, microscopic structures with incredible strength. While existing solar windows are typically not responsive to changes in sunlight, thus remaining at one set level of transparency, NREL’s prototype breaks new ground by demonstrating a dynamic ability to react to light conditions. Related: New silicon nanoparticles could finally make solar windows commercially viable The window’s ability to transform is made possible by molecules of methylamine, which move in and out of the window depending on the circumstances. When the sun heats up the window, the molecules are absorbed into it, darkening the window. When the sun is not shining directly on the window, the molecules are expelled, which makes the window transparent. In its solar panel form, the smart window has been able to achieve 11 percent efficiency in capturing solar energy and translating it into electricity. The research team at NREL believes that their smart window design could be used to charge mobile devices and on-board electronics such as fans, rain sensors and motors. While research is ongoing, the team is already focusing on how their design could be commercialized and made available to the public. Via Electrek and NREL Images via Dennis Schroeder/NREL and NREL

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NREL’s solar-powered window breaks new ground with 11% efficiency

19th-century church converted into gorgeous modern lofts in Brooklyn

November 30, 2017 by  
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This 19th-century church in Brooklyn was converted into a modern residential building that lets the original details of the historic structure shine through. The Bushwick church was gutted and turned into a series of daylit lofts available for rent through Nooklyn . Living units are spread over three stories, and they feature beautiful oak floors, antique arched windows, and gold mosaic ceilings. The Victorian Gothic church from the 1890s is located at 618 Bushwick Avenue, Brooklyn. Known as The Saint Marks, the conversion project offers 99 apartments with up to two bedrooms. The units come in different loft -inspired layouts, with large windows and high ceilings , hardwood floors and recessed lighting. Related: A massive London church is transformed into an extraordinary luxury home The developer removed the original spire due to structural instability and zoning rules. They introduced bike storage and onsite parking, central air conditioning in all units. The kitchens feature pale veneer cabinetry and stainless steel appliances. Some of the units, like the one shown in the images, have private decks as well. + Nooklyn Via Uncrate

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19th-century church converted into gorgeous modern lofts in Brooklyn

Revolutionary Tesla Semi Truck arrives with a whopping 500 mile driving range

November 17, 2017 by  
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It’s here: the semi truck that we’ve all been waiting for.  Tesla just unveiled its new electric 500-mile-range Semi Truck, which could revolutionize the transportation world. Semi trailer trucks move goods all over the country, and without them we’d never get our stuff as fast as we do now, but they come with one big disadvantage – emissions. Today’s trucks are powered by dirty diesel engines that emit a large portion of the harmful pollutants in our air, but that could soon change. Not only does the Tesla Semi have a driving range of 500 miles, but it can also reach 60 mph in five seconds without a trailer, which is a fraction of the time that it takes for a comparable diesel truck . With an 80,000 pound load, Tesla estimates that the truck will reach 60 mph in 20 seconds, which normally takes a diesel truck about a minute. The Tesla Semi requires no shifting or clutching for smooth acceleration and deceleration, and its regenerative braking recovers 98% of kinetic energy to the battery, giving it a basically infinite brake life. Even with a 500 mile driving range, drivers will need to find a place to recharge their Tesla Semi, so Tesla has announced new Megachargers that will add about 400 miles in 30 minutes. Inside the Tesla Semi’s cabin is designed specifically around the driver, with full standing room inside, and a centered driver position for better visibility. The driver also has two touchscreen displays positioned symmetrically on both sides that provide access to navigation, blind spot monitoring and electronic data logging. The Tesla Semi can also travel in a convoy, where one or several Semi trucks will be able to autonomously follow a lead Semi, making it even easier for the driver to travel long distances. Related: Cummins beats Tesla with a fully-electric semi truck The truck is also much safer than traditional semi trucks. According to Elon Musk, jackknifing is impossible thanks to independent motors on each will that can adjust torque as needed, and the roll risk is greatly reduced. It can even function of two of the motors fail for some reason. They are also more reliable, because Tesla guarantees them for a million miles, and the brake pads don’t need replacing. There is also no transmission to worry about. Best of all, according to Musk, is his favorite feature: thermonuclear explosion-proof glass. Tesla changed the auto industry when it debuted the Model S, but can it do the same thing with its Semi Truck? When the Model S debuted, Tesla didn’t really have any big rivals, but the Tesla Semi Truck already has a growing list of competitors, including Bosch, Cummins , and Daimler. There are even a few start ups that are trying to get into the segment. At the event, Musk also revealed that Tesla is releasing an updated Roadster. It will be the fastest production car ever made and will have a top speed of 250 miles per hour with a range of 620 miles. You can reserve the Tesla Semi for $5,000 and production is expected to start in 2019. Images @Tesla + Tesla

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Revolutionary Tesla Semi Truck arrives with a whopping 500 mile driving range

Nantucket to be powered by a 48 MWh Tesla Powerpack system

November 9, 2017 by  
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Over 10,000 people live on the island of Nantucket, Massachusetts . To deal with electricity demand and replace old diesel generators, National Grid is turning to Tesla . They plan to install a 48 megawatt-hour (MWh) battery energy storage system (BESS) provided by Elon Musk’s company. Two submarine cables currently power the small island, with two six megawatt (MW) diesel generators as backups should a cable fail. But National Grid said the diesel generators are old and have to be replaced. They’re solving the problem with the BESS and a new diesel generator. Electrek said a 48 MWh system will require more than 200 of Tesla’s Powerpacks , so it will be one of the largest energy storage projects Tesla has tackled so far. Related: New Tesla Powerpack system to offer energy savings of 40-50% With the demand for electricity, and considering the growth forecast, National Grid said Nantucket’s backup systems had to be expanded, and they had originally expected a third submarine cable would be necessary in around 12 years. But thanks to the BESS, they think they can delay the third cable for 15 to 20 years past the 12-year forecast. President of National Grid’s FERC Regulated Businesses and New Energy Solutions Rudy Wynter described the BESS as an effective and efficient solution. The town of Nantucket’s energy coordinator Lauren Sinatra said in a statement, “We are confident that the proposed project, combined with targeted energy-savings programs and other planned electric infrastructure upgrades, will play a transformational role in meeting Nantucket’s near- and long-term energy needs.” Tesla has been busy moving the clean power revolution forward. They’ve made progress on the biggest battery installation in the world : the 100 MW/129 MWh battery system in Australia. They’ve also been among the companies responding to Puerto Rico’s electricity crisis following Hurricane Maria, with Powerwalls and solar power at a children’s hospital . Via National Grid and Electrek Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia Commons

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Nantucket to be powered by a 48 MWh Tesla Powerpack system

Siemens debuts first electrified eHighway in the US

November 9, 2017 by  
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Siemens just launched a one-mile long demonstration site for its electrified eHighway system, the first of its kind in the United States . The eHighway demo is being run in California  near the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The demonstration system includes an overhead catenary system, through which three electric big-rig trucks can recharge, that is similar those found above trolley or streetcar lines. Through the eHighway system, select highway lanes could be electrified, allowing electric vehicles to charge as they move and empowering a zero-emissions transportation system on existing port infrastructure. Siemens, in collaboration with the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), is hoping to address a serious source of air pollution  with the new eHighway system. Large trucks, such as those used for shipping goods across country, are the largest contributing source of smog-forming emissions in Southern California. “This project will help us evaluate the feasibility of a zero-emission cargo movement system using overhead catenary wires,” said Wayne Nastri, SCAQMD’s executive officer. “This demonstration could lead to the deployment of eHighway systems that will reduce pollution and benefit public health for residents living near the ports.” Currently, a battery-electric truck, a natural gas-hybrid-electric truck, and a diesel hybrid truck are being tested for effectiveness at the demonstration site on South Alameda Street from East Lomita Boulevard to the Dominguez Channel in Carson, California. While this may be the first eHighway site in the United States, the first such system on public roads opened in Sweden in June 2016. Related: World’s first electric dump truck stores as much energy as 8 Tesla Model S cars The eHighway system is designed with the future in mind. “Experts expect global CO2 emissions from road freight traffic to more than double by 2050,” said Andreas Thon, head of Turnkey Projects & Electrification, North America. “This electrified truck system, what we call eHighway, can modernize the existing infrastructure using the latest technology to accommodate the growing amount of freight travel, reduce harmful emissions , and keep these ports, one of our country’s major economic drivers, competitive.” + Siemens USA Images via Siemens USA

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Siemens debuts first electrified eHighway in the US

This light-filled tiny house is made almost entirely of reclaimed wood

November 9, 2017 by  
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Proving that repurposed materials can be used to create gorgeous design, this 26-foot-long Legacy tiny home is made almost entirely from reclaimed wood . New Hampshire-based builders Wood & Heart designed the house with a compact yet sophisticated living area enhanced by an abundance of natural light thanks to three large skylights. From the exterior to the interior, the tiny space was designed to offer all of the comforts of a “regular” home. The structure is clad in cedar wood siding that contrasts nicely with Shou Sugi Ban -style charred cedar trim, giving the home a nice rustic feel. Related: The minimalist Yoshino Cedar House was built entirely out of locally-sourced timber Wood accents line the interior – including black walnut and African mahogany counter tops, 3? solid hardwood oak flooring, floating black walnut shelves and a wooden dining table. Covering the space is a ceiling made entirely from rough-sawn planks of reclaimed timber. Three large skylights and 13 Andersen windows provide the space with plenty of natural light . The living space is warm and comfy, with a sleeping loft and full-size pull-out sofa for guests. The kitchen, although compact, has enough space to make a nice meal with a four-burner stovetop and a 24-inch ceramic farmhouse sink. Of course, ample storage space is found throughout the home. Wooden planks cover the length of the interior’s flooring until the bathroom, where honeycomb geometric tiles take over. The bathroom was also built with a reclaimed accent wall. The Legacy, which can be hauled on any standard trailer, is currently on sale for $85,000 including all of the furniture, appliances and decor. + Wood & Heart Building Co. Via New Atlas Images via Wood & Heart Building Co.

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This light-filled tiny house is made almost entirely of reclaimed wood

Tesla aims to ramp up Solar Roof production in Buffalo next year

November 3, 2017 by  
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Tesla’s Solar Roof could be seen on more homes as the company plans to increase production in 2018. They said in a letter to shareholders they’ll be moving production from their Fremont, California factory to the Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo , New York. According to Inverse , Elon Musk provided for the first time a concrete timeframe for ramping up production, during a recent conference call, to allow for more customer installations. Tesla plans to start manufacturing more Solar Roofs soon. In a Wednesday conference call, chief technology officer JB Straubel said they are “on track to turn on most of the production line in Buffalo by the end of the year.” In the shareholder letter, Musk and chief financial officer Deepak Ahuja said as they move production to Buffalo, energy generation with the Solar Roofs will become a larger part of Tesla’s business in 2018. Related: A Tesla solar roof rotates to naturally cool this desert home in Iran Tesla has deployed less solar capacity in the third quarter than one year ago: 109 megawatts (MW) as opposed to 187 MW. In the letter, Musk and Ahuja said, “The lower developments are in large part a result of deliberately deemphasizing commercial and industrial solar energy projects with low profit and limited cash generation.” As they make the move from Fremont to Buffalo, they said in the letter Solar Roof installations will increase slowly at first, but “as we fine tune and standardize the production and installation process, we expect to ramp Solar Roof production considerably in 2018.” Musk and Ahuja affirmed Musk’s vision for pursuing renewable energy – over ten years ago, Musk said in his first master plan Tesla aimed to provide “ zero emission electric power generation options.” In this recent letter the two executives said sustainable energy – and storing it – are crucial components of the company’s mission “and will drive long-term revenue growth and profits.” Via The Buffalo News and Inverse Images via Tesla

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Tesla aims to ramp up Solar Roof production in Buffalo next year

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