MMatessa (673870) writes "From The Verge: MIT's Technology Review has just gotten news of a mysterious new project that claims it will "create a new industry and a new definition of 'natural resources.'" Space exploration company Planetary Resources will be unveiled in a conference call on Tuesday, April 24th. Besides the audacious announcement, which promises to "overlay two critical sectors — space exploration and natural resources — to add trillions of dollars to the global GDP," what makes this unique is its high-profile support group. The venture is backed by Google executives Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, director James Cameron, and politician Ross Perot's son, among others." Link to Original Source top
Liquid metal batteries may be the solution to renewable energy
MMatessa (673870) writes "What's the key to using alternative energy, like solar and wind? Storage — so we can have power on tap even when the sun's not out and the wind's not blowing. In this talk, Donald Sadoway takes to the blackboard to show us the future of large-scale batteries that store renewable energy. As he says: "We need to think about the problem differently. We need to think big. We need to think cheap."" Link to Original Source top
Does the Sun influence radioactive decay on Earth?
MMatessa (673870) writes "When researchers found an unusual linkage between solar flares and the inner life of radioactive elements on Earth, it touched off a scientific detective investigation that could end up protecting the lives of space-walking astronauts and maybe rewriting some of the assumptions of physics. Researchers from Stanford and Purdue University have found decay rates showing a seasonal variation, dropping during solar a flare, and having 33 day patterns." Link to Original Source top
MMatessa writes "Radical new technology based on thorium could potentially alleviate three of the most pressing issues facing modern civilization in the 21st century: the hunger for energy, the spectre of climate change and the need to eliminate nuclear weapons. The main stumbling block of using thorium reactors until now has been how to provide thorium fuel with enough neutrons to keep the reaction going, and do so in an efficient and economical way.
In recent years two new technologies have been developed to do just this. The Thorium Power company is developing a way to modify existing nuclear plants to use mixed fuels consisting of enriched uranium, plutonium, and thorium. And Carlos Rubbia is designing a method that uses a particle accelerator fired at a lead target to release neutrons that collide with nuclei in the thorium fuel." Link to Original Source top
MMatessa (673870) writes "Researchers at Idaho National Laboratory are developing a novel way to collect energy from the sun with a technology that could potentially cost pennies a yard, be imprinted on flexible materials and still draw energy after the sun has set. The new approach uses a special manufacturing process to stamp tiny square spirals of conducting metal onto a sheet of plastic. Each interlocking spiral "nanoantenna" is as wide as 1/25 the diameter of a human hair." Link to Original Source