Plenty Of Wind Power Available; We Just Need To Get It

The amount of wind available on Earth and in the upper atmosphere could create 20 to 100 times the power our population needs, according to a new study.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn


What's the Latest Development?

Right now, wind power could easily provide all of Earth's energy needs with plenty to spare, according to a new study published this week. The authors have estimated "a potential of [400 trillion watts] of wind power at the Earth's surface and [1.8 quadrillion watts] of power from the upper atmosphere" -- dwarfing our puny 18-trillion-watt usage. Some of that higher-altitude energy could be tapped by turbines that would float kilometers above the planet.

What's the Big Idea?

Realistically speaking, other energy sources will always be needed, says Ken Caldeira, co-author of the study. However, if all this wind energy is available, there must be a way to get more of it, considering that currently it only supplies about 1 percent of the Earth's needs. Unfortunately there are a number of significant hurdles to overcome, including finding the money to construct more turbines and finding the landowners, both public and private, who are willing to host them. The wind is there...but Caldeira says, "[E]conomic, technological or political factors will determine the growth of wind power around the world."

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Why “shooting the messenger” is a real condition, explain scientists

Harvard psychologists discover why we dislike the people who deliver bad news.

Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • A new study looked at why people tend to "shoot the messenger".
  • It's a fact that people don't like those who deliver them bad news.
  • The effect stems from our inherent need to make sense of bad or unpredictable situations.
Keep reading Show less

Philosopher Alan Watts on the meaning of life

He reminds us that meaning is wherever we choose to look.

Photo: Pictorial Parade/Getty Images
Personal Growth
  • Alan Watts suggests there is no ultimate meaning of life, but that "the quality of our state of mind" defines meaning for us.
  • This is in contradiction to the notion that an inner essence is waiting to be discovered.
  • Paying attention to everyday, mundane objects can become highly significant, filling life with meaning.
Keep reading Show less

How to detect life on Mars

If life exists on Mars, there's a good chance it's related to us, say researchers.

NASA/JPL/USGS
Surprising Science

When MIT research scientist Christopher Carr visited a green sand beach in Hawaii at the age of 9, he probably didn't think that he'd use the little olivine crystals beneath his feet to one day search for extraterrestrial life.

Keep reading Show less