Is Streaming Plasma the New Fossil Fuel?
If we have serious ambitions to live on Mars, it might be.
French physicists may have developed a way to blast to Mars using a 100 million times less fuel than a traditional rocket thruster. The scientific team is experimenting with the technology of the Hall thruster to potentially dramatically reduce energy and time for space exploration.
The Hall thrusters (or ion thrusters) run on streaming plasma, which allows for the dramatic difference in energy reliance. There’s one catch though — the thruster only has a lifespan of about 10,000 hours before it goes kaput, leaving scientist racing to find ways to increase the launcher’s longevity (to put it in perspective, most space missions take around 50,000 hours).
"We need to become a spacefaring society and eventually we need to move far beyond Mars — not only from our own solar system, but into other solar systems within this galaxy and other solar systems in other galaxies." —Stephen Petranek
Hall thrusters are already used in many of the satellites orbiting Earth at this moment. In an attempt to harness their efficiency for longer space flights, the French scientists made a slight alteration to the current design that allows the anode (or gas distributor) to stay clear of the magnetic field.
They’re hoping with a few more tweaks, we could potentially get to Mars with a lot less fuel.
Science journalist Stephen Petranek says traveling to and establishing a colony on Mars is essential to the long-term survival of the human race.
Daphne Muller is a New York City-based writer who has written for Salon, Ms. Magazine, The Huffington Post, and reviewed books for ELLE and Publishers Weekly. Most recently, she completed a novel and screenplay. You can follow her on Instagram @daphonay and on Twitter @DaphneEMuller.
These modern-day hermits can sometimes spend decades without ever leaving their apartments.
- A hikikomori is a type of person in Japan who locks themselves away in their bedrooms, sometimes for years.
- This is a relatively new phenomenon in Japan, likely due to rigid social customs and high expectations for academic and business success.
- Many believe hikikomori to be a result of how Japan interprets and handles mental health issues.
How a cataclysm worse than what killed the dinosaurs destroyed 90 percent of all life on Earth.
While the demise of the dinosaurs gets more attention as far as mass extinctions go, an even more disastrous event called "the Great Dying” or the “End-Permian Extinction” happened on Earth prior to that. Now scientists discovered how this cataclysm, which took place about 250 million years ago, managed to kill off more than 90 percent of all life on the planet.
A new study discovers the “liking gap” — the difference between how we view others we’re meeting for the first time, and the way we think they’re seeing us.
We tend to be defensive socially. When we meet new people, we’re often concerned with how we’re coming off. Our anxiety causes us to be so concerned with the impression we’re creating that we fail to notice that the same is true of the other person as well. A new study led by Erica J. Boothby, published on September 5 in Psychological Science, reveals how people tend to like us more in first encounters than we’d ever suspect.
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