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Luminary Crush (109477) writes "To date, the bulk of fusion research has been channelled towards a plasma containment and stabilization method. This is the approach used by ITER's tokamak reactor, the cost of which could exceed US$13.7 billion before it's online in the year 2027 (barring further delays). Researchers at LPP Fusion, in a project partially financed by NASA-JPL, are working in a different direction: focus fusion, which focuses the plasma in a very small area to produce fusion and an ion beam which could then be harnessed to produce electricity. It small enough to fit in a shipping container, can double as a rocket engine, and would cost US$50 million to produce the working 5 MW prototype. To reach the next hurdle and demonstrate feasibility, LPP Fusion has started an Indiegogo campaign to raise $200K." top
Spinning solar cells - a new take on photovoltaics
Luminary Crush writes "A gas giant of approximately 1.5 Mj (Jupiter Mass) was discovered on October 22nd, 2010 around the binary star system HD 176051B. It's not known with certainty which component of the binary system the planet is in orbit around at this point as both stars in HD 176051B are relatively Sol-sized (1.07 and.71 solar masses). Named 176051B b, this new exoplanet orbits within the star system's habitable zone, and if mapped onto our solar system with relative distance from our Sun it would place the large planet between Earth and Mars. While it's unlikely that such a gas giant could host life as we know it (though it's hypothesized), the location of the big planet opens up the intriguing idea of the realization of some of science fiction's famously habitable moons Pandora and Endor. Look no further than ourownsolarsystem to see moons with the potential ingredients for life — just add heat." Link to Original Source top
Luminary Crush writes "Two new papers based on data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft scrutinize the complex chemical activity on the surface of Saturn's moon Titan. While non-biological chemistry offers one possible explanation, some scientists believe these chemical signatures bolster the argument for a primitive, exotic form of life or precursor to life on Titan's surface." Link to Original Source top
Luminary Crush writes "Astronomers announced that they have discovered a "super-Earth" which seems to have an atmosphere orbiting a red dwarf star 40 light-years from Earth. They found the distant planet with a small fleet of ground-based telescopes no larger than those many amateur astronomers have in their backyards. Although the super-Earth is too hot to sustain life, the discovery shows that current, ground-based technologies are capable of finding almost-Earth-sized planets in warm, life-friendly orbits." Link to Original Source top
The first astronauts sent to Mars should be prepared to spend the rest of their lives there, in the same way that European pioneers headed to America knowing they would not return home, says moonwalker Buzz Aldrin. "[the distance and difficulty is why you should] send people there permanently," Aldrin said. "If we are not willing to do that, then I don't think we should just go once and have the expense of doing that and then stop."
Luminary Crush writes "At Ohio State University, researchers have created a new material that overcomes two of the major obstacles to solar power: it absorbs all the energy contained in sunlight, and generates electrons in a way that makes them easier to capture. Chemists and their colleagues at OSU combined electrically conductive plastic with metals including molybdenum and titanium to create the new hybrid material." Link to Original Source