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The World’s Largest Telescope Made With Data

Look up on a starry night and consider this: in our lifetime we just might find the answers to one of life’s biggest mysteries, and we mean BIG. Dutch research institute, ASTRON and its international partners are building the world’s largest radio telescope, aka The Square Kilometer Array, to get a glimpse of the origins of the universe. This big telescope is made up of thousands of interconnected smaller telescopes, carefully arranged in fractal patterns to let us look back in time more than 13 billion years—to mere seconds after the universe was created. How on Earth is this possible? By processing exabytes of Big Data (That’s a 1, plus 18 zeroes) in real time. Or roughly 3X the amount of data running through the Internet per day. Amazingly, this will let scientists map out how the universe came to be. Imagine the look on Galileo’s face if he were here to see it.

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(via sagansense)

Filed under future tech science astronomy

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sagansense:

The Highest-Flying Wind Turbine

In far-flung rural Alaska, where electricity can cost as much as $1 per kilowatt hour—more than 10 times the national average, according to the New York Times—a wind turbine encased in a giant helium balloon is about to break a world record. The Bouyant Air Turbine (BAT) is about to be floated 1,000 feet into the air in the name of cleaner, cheaper, and mobile energy. That single airborne object—sort of a hybrid of a blimp, a kite, and a turbine—will power over a dozen homes.

imageThe Altaeros BAT V4, a turbine tethered to land, in a 2013 test at the former Loring Air Force Base in Maine [source]

The BAT is the brainchild of Altaeros, a company founded by MIT alumni, and, if everything goes according to plan, it’s going to be the highest-flying power generator in history.

imageAltaeros’ BAT, pre-flight [source]

Floating turbines high up in the air, where wind speeds are greater, isn’t a new concept. "It’s known that wind speed increases with altitude above ground level, and power density increases with a cubic factor of wind speed," Altaeros co-founder Adam Rein told me in an email. "Roughly speaking, a doubling of wind speed equates to an eight-fold increase in wind power density. Conventional turbine manufacturers are also trying to reach higher heights because of this fact—though not as high as our turbine."

Makani Power, which was acquired by Google last year, may have done most of the legwork in popularizing the high-altitude turbine. But Altaeros is looking to push the boundaries of where and how high-flying turbines can be deployed right now.

imagePrototypes of the high-flying Bouyant Air Turbine [source]

"The immediate benefit to our customers is generating low-cost, clean electricity in place of expensive, dirty fossil fuel," Rein said. The company is aiming to deploy its turbines in remote areas, hard-to-reach areas that currently rely on expensive diesel generators or costly patchwork grids—in those markets, the BAT can be the cheapest, easiest source of power.

Altaeros floats its BATs using a helium-filled inflatable shell that resembles a soaring open-mouthed grouper. Since winds blow stronger and more consistently the higher above the ground you go, and the hovering BAT harnesses that gale and sends electricity down to earth through the high-strength tethers that also hold the machine steady.

"The BAT has an automatic controller, which adjusts the attitude and altitude of the BAT, through winches on the ground station, in order to maximize power capture, flight stability, and limit loads on the structure," Rein claimed. "The BAT is fully capable of operating autonomously, without the need of a ground crew to launch or land the system." The device can deliver two to three times more power than a conventional turbine, Rein said. And it costs a lot less to install.

imageBAT in flight [source]

The company expects to be able to offer electricity for 18 cents per kilowatt hour; that’s a lot more than the national average of 11.6 cents. But it’s definitely cheaper than available options in places like Hawaii (where the average is a whopping 37 cents per kwh) and the aforementioned Alaska, and it gets pretty close to densely populated California, where a residents’ average power bill comes out to 16 cents per kwh.

Rein noted that the BAT "will also remove the logistical headaches caused by complex fuel supply chains, or transporting and installing large wind towers over rough terrain." He also imagines it will be useful for industrial operations, like mining or resource extraction, and for acting as giant hotspots, too. "The BAT’s shell also offers the opportunity to lift additional payload equipment—internet, phone, and imaging devices—that can offer customers an additional stream of revenue."

imageAltaeros Energies Poised to Break World Record with Alaska High Altitude Wind Turbine’, read the press release HERE.

Source: Motherboard | VICE

Filed under stem sustainability wind power future tech

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astronautfilm:

To The Moon and Beyond: Russia’s Future Space Strategy Unveiled

Russia has largely finalized its concept for future space exploration. Its key tasks are: to expand presence in low near-earth orbits, explore and colonize the Moon, and start developing Mars and other planets of the Solar System. The strategy was outlined by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin in an article in the Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper.

According to him, the current priorities of the Russian space industry should be the establishment of a space services  market and advancement in the exploration and development of the resources of deep space.

A national project for deep space exploration could play an important part in this process, Rogozin said. The Russian Space Agency (Roskosmos), together with several ministries and in cooperation with the Russian Academy of Sciences and the state nuclear corporation Rosatom, have been instructed to draw up proposals on the viability of its implementation, he added.

The Moon as a laboratory for studying the universe
Rogozin continued: "Key areas of research and development under this national project will be the development of nuclear power units and plasma technologies for energy conversion, the development of biotechnologies, robotics and new materials."

"In addition, work is getting under way to identify technical options for a manned spacecraft based on a super-heavy carrier rocket for missions to the Moon and later to Mars," he added. Research is also being done into "creating powerful interorbital (interplanetary) tugs, which are essential for developing the Moon and exploring the planets of the Solar System."

Rogozin is convinced that the Moon is a key target for fundamental scientific research and the nearest source of extraterrestrial matter to Earth. Furthermore, it could become a platform for technological research and for testing new space systems.

As a longer-term objective of lunar development, Rogozin suggested the establishment of a man-tended Moon and first interplanetary laboratory, which could house "the tools and systems for studying the universe, <…> lunar minerals, meteorites, as well as a test production of useful materials, gases, and water from regolith."</…> The first cosmonaut landings on the Moon are planned by 2030, after which a man-tended lunar base will be deployed. The next stage of the plan envisages manned missions to asteroids and to Mars.

Russia to establish itself in near-earth orbits
Cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev says Russian plans of deep space exploration are not at all science fiction. He believes they would require a system of “base camps” near the Moon and on the Moon itself, with in-built rescue capabilities both there and en route to the Earth.

"I think, ultimately, we shall have a base flying around the Earth, as a starting point for other missions,” says Krikalev. “At the same time, we should not give up research in low orbits, where Russia should have a strategic base of its own. It will not only serve as a research station, but will also act as a launch and test base for preparing deep space missions, a workshop for assembling new spacecraft, servicing, adjusting satellites. Everything could be tested in a near-earth orbit and only then allowed to venture deeper into space.”

Despite the government’s ambitious plans, there are quite a few weak spots in the Russian space industry. One of them is the domestic production of top-quality electronics and components, Rogozin pointed out.

"In recent years, onboard relay systems of communications satellites have either been fully manufactured by foreign firms or have been assembled at Russian plants from foreign components. That is why the Federal Space Agency has authorized the Military-Industrial Commission to commission radiation-hardened electronics and components from domestic manufacturers," he added.

Commenting on NASA’s decision to suspend cooperation with Russia, Rogozin said that these sanctions would help Russia to draw up a development strategy for manned space exploration independent from unreliable international partners.

Source: RBTH

Related: The Astronaut Film | AstronautFilm.Tumblr | IWantToBeAnAstronaut Facebook | @AstronautMovie



And another very relative post.

astronautfilm:

To The Moon and Beyond: Russia’s Future Space Strategy Unveiled

Russia has largely finalized its concept for future space exploration. Its key tasks are: to expand presence in low near-earth orbits, explore and colonize the Moon, and start developing Mars and other planets of the Solar System. The strategy was outlined by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin in an article in the Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper.

According to him, the current priorities of the Russian space industry should be the establishment of a space services market and advancement in the exploration and development of the resources of deep space.

A national project for deep space exploration could play an important part in this process, Rogozin said. The Russian Space Agency (Roskosmos), together with several ministries and in cooperation with the Russian Academy of Sciences and the state nuclear corporation Rosatom, have been instructed to draw up proposals on the viability of its implementation, he added.

The Moon as a laboratory for studying the universe
Rogozin continued: "Key areas of research and development under this national project will be the development of nuclear power units and plasma technologies for energy conversion, the development of biotechnologies, robotics and new materials."

"In addition, work is getting under way to identify technical options for a manned spacecraft based on a super-heavy carrier rocket for missions to the Moon and later to Mars," he added. Research is also being done into "creating powerful interorbital (interplanetary) tugs, which are essential for developing the Moon and exploring the planets of the Solar System."

Rogozin is convinced that the Moon is a key target for fundamental scientific research and the nearest source of extraterrestrial matter to Earth. Furthermore, it could become a platform for technological research and for testing new space systems.

As a longer-term objective of lunar development, Rogozin suggested the establishment of a man-tended Moon and first interplanetary laboratory, which could house "the tools and systems for studying the universe, <…> lunar minerals, meteorites, as well as a test production of useful materials, gases, and water from regolith."</…> The first cosmonaut landings on the Moon are planned by 2030, after which a man-tended lunar base will be deployed. The next stage of the plan envisages manned missions to asteroids and to Mars.

Russia to establish itself in near-earth orbits
Cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev says Russian plans of deep space exploration are not at all science fiction. He believes they would require a system of “base camps” near the Moon and on the Moon itself, with in-built rescue capabilities both there and en route to the Earth.

"I think, ultimately, we shall have a base flying around the Earth, as a starting point for other missions,” says Krikalev. “At the same time, we should not give up research in low orbits, where Russia should have a strategic base of its own. It will not only serve as a research station, but will also act as a launch and test base for preparing deep space missions, a workshop for assembling new spacecraft, servicing, adjusting satellites. Everything could be tested in a near-earth orbit and only then allowed to venture deeper into space.”

Despite the government’s ambitious plans, there are quite a few weak spots in the Russian space industry. One of them is the domestic production of top-quality electronics and components, Rogozin pointed out.

"In recent years, onboard relay systems of communications satellites have either been fully manufactured by foreign firms or have been assembled at Russian plants from foreign components. That is why the Federal Space Agency has authorized the Military-Industrial Commission to commission radiation-hardened electronics and components from domestic manufacturers," he added.

Commenting on NASA’s decision to suspend cooperation with Russia, Rogozin said that these sanctions would help Russia to draw up a development strategy for manned space exploration independent from unreliable international partners.

Source: RBTH

Related: The Astronaut Film | AstronautFilm.Tumblr | IWantToBeAnAstronaut Facebook | @AstronautMovie

image

And another very relative post.

(via sagansense)