Solar Power, Harvested From Space
The idea of collecting solar energy in space and beaming it to Earth has been around for at least 70 years. English researchers now hope that it will become a reality within a few years.
What's the Latest Development?
A team of scientists from the University of Surrey, England, will test a laser that, after solar energy has been collected far above Earth's atmosphere, can beam the energy down to be stored on the surface. "The beam itself will be produced by a device called a fibre laser. This generates the coherent light of a laser beam in the core of a long, thin optical fibre. That means the beam produced is of higher quality than other lasers, is extremely straight (even by the exacting standards of a normal laser beam) and can thus be focused onto a small area."
What's the Big Idea?
The problem with collecting solar energy on Earth's surface is that so much of it gets diffused in the atmosphere. But launching and maintaining satellites to collect solar energy from space is currently too costly. "But perhaps not, if the satellites were small and the customers specialised. Military expeditions, rescuers in disaster zones, remote desalination plants and scientific-research bases might be willing to pay for such power from the sky." The idea of transmitting solar energy from space to Earth was first popularized by Isaac Asimov.
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Here are 7 often-overlooked World Heritage Sites, each with its own history.
- UNESCO World Heritage Sites are locations of high value to humanity, either for their cultural, historical, or natural significance.
- Some are even designated as World Heritage Sites because humans don't go there at all, while others have felt the effects of too much human influence.
- These 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites each represent an overlooked or at-risk facet of humanity's collective cultural heritage.
Famous physicists like Richard Feynman think 137 holds the answers to the Universe.
- The fine structure constant has mystified scientists since the 1800s.
- The number 1/137 might hold the clues to the Grand Unified Theory.
- Relativity, electromagnetism and quantum mechanics are unified by the number.
A new method promises to capture an elusive dark world particle.
- Scientists working on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) devised a method for trapping dark matter particles.
- Dark matter is estimated to take up 26.8% of all matter in the Universe.
- The researchers will be able to try their approach in 2021, when the LHC goes back online.
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