Tag Archives: Energy

Faster, cheaper biofuel production

A scanning electron microscope image of the diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana (credit: Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego) Researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have developed a method for greatly enhancing biofuel production in tiny marine algae by genetically engineering a key growth component in biofuel. The researchers say a significant roadblock in algal […]

Why don’t we have fusion yet?

The preamplifiers of the National Ignition Facility. The unified lasers deliver 1.8 megajoules of energy and 500 terawatts of power — 1,000 times more than the United States uses at any one moment. (Credit: Damien Jemison/LLNL) The dream of igniting a self-sustained fusion reaction with high yields of energy, a feat likened to creating a miniature […]

New imagery of NASA’s asteroid mission released

This concept image shows an astronaut preparing to take samples from the captured asteroid after it has been relocated to a stable orbit in the Earth-moon system. Hundreds of rings are affixed to the asteroid capture bag, helping the astronaut carefully navigate the surface. (Credit: NASA) NASA released Thursday new photos and video animations depicting the agency’s […]

NASA spacecraft reactivated to hunt for asteroids

This artist’s concept shows the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE spacecraft, in its orbit around Earth. In September of 2013, engineers will attempt to bring the mission out of hibernation to hunt for more asteroids and comets in a project called NEOWISE. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech) NASA will revive the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) next month with the goal of […]

Is faster-than-light travel possible?

Alcubierre warp drive (credit: Anderson Institute) Engineers at NASA Johnson Space Center are designing instruments to find out, by slightly warping the trajectory of a photon and measuring the distance it travels, The New York Times reports. Inspiration for the research came from Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre, who proposed in 1994 a method of stretching space in […]

XPrize After Earth challenge

The XPrize Foundation has teamed up with  Sony Pictures Entertainment and Overbrook Entertainment to launch a robotics competition celebrating the release of After Earth, in theaters May 31. In Phase 1 of the challenge, teams will create a 2–3 minute video essay that answers targeted questions and describes their thinking on the importance of space exploration, […]

Harnessing the energy of 2,000 suns

Rendering by Airlight Energy of the prototype HCPVT system under development The Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation has awarded scientists a $2.4 million (2.25 million CHF) grant to develop an affordable photovoltaic system capable of concentrating solar radiation 2,000 times and converting 80 percent of the incoming radiation into useful energy.* The system would also provide […]

The Limits of the Earth — Part 2: Expanding the Limits

by Ramez Naam (Credit: NASA) This is part two of a two-part series on the limits of human economic growth on planet Earth.  Part one details some of the environmental and natural resource challenges we’re up against. Part two, here, looks at the ultimate size of the resource pool and solutions to our problems.  Both parts […]

Rocket powered by nuclear fusion could send humans to Mars

The fusion driven rocket test chamber at the UW Plasma Dynamics Lab in Redmond. The green vacuum chamber is surrounded by two large, high-strength aluminum magnets. These magnets are powered by energy-storage capacitors through the many cables connected to them. (Credit: University of Washington, MSNW) University of Washington researchers and scientists are building components of a fusion-powered rocket […]