Jun 12, 2009 | 5
What if we found a clean, abundant resource that could provide the lion's share of the world's energy needs? How far would we be willing to go to get it?
That's the question posed—in both a moral and a logistic sense—by the new sci-fi film MOON, directed by Duncan Jones (the son of musician David Bowie), which opens in New York City and Los Angeles this week.
The movie's protagonist—and essentially the only character who ever appears on camera—is Sam Bell (played by Sam Rockwell), a man nearing the end of a three-year contract staffing a moon base devoted to mining helium 3 for use back home. In this not-too-distant future, nuclear fusion of helium 3, a light isotope of the familiar element, supplies 70 percent of the world's energy, and bases such as Sarang, on the far side of the moon, keep the reactors fueled. (In reality, productive fusion of any kind for energy generation has proved elusive, with the international ITER project recently experiencing setbacks.)
Jun 9, 2009 | 8
The world will have to wait even longer to find out whether nuclear fusion will be a viable alternative energy source, it seems. Central experiments for the multibillion-dollar, yet-unbuilt International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), probably won't get underway until 2026, according to an Agence-France Presse (AFP) report, five years later than recent timelines indicated.
The ITER team has broken ground for the test site in Cadarache, France (near Marseille), which will run a smaller reactor "less complete than initially thought," a spokesperson for France's Atomic Energy Commission said in a press conference yesterday.
Apr 1, 2009 | 28
The U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) has announced that the world's biggest laser is ready to start blasting away after 12 years in the making. The $3.5-billion stadium-size National Ignition Facility (NIF), housed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in Livermore, Calif., consists of 192 separate beams, each of which stands as the most energetic ever built, says LLNL spokesperson Bob Hirschfeld.
Very much like the Death Star, the gigantic space station in the movie series Star Wars (“That’s no moon,” speaketh Obi Wan Kenobi), the beams will focus on a single point to unleash their full, joint potential. The target: a BB-size pellet of frozen hydrogen in the center of a 33-foot- (10-meter-) diameter chamber. The ultraviolet lasers should heat the pellet to hundreds of millions of degrees, forcing nuclear fusion to occur—the same superhigh heat and pressure atomic reaction that fuels the stars.
Deadline: Jun 30 2013
Reward: $1,000,000 USD
This is a Reduction-to-Practice Challenge that requires written documentation and&
Deadline: Jun 29 2013
Reward: $7,000 USD
The Seeker for this Challenge desires proposals for chemical methods that could rapidly degrade a dilute aqueous solution
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