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Dec 25, 2015

UCLA researchers develop ‘metasurface’ laser for terahertz range

Posted by in categories: materials, military, space travel

​Researchers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have identified a new way to make a semiconductor laser that operates at terahertz frequencies. The breakthrough could lead to development of a new class of high-quality, powerful lasers for use in space exploration, military and law enforcement efforts and other applications.

The terahertz range of frequencies occupies the space on the electromagnetic spectrum between microwave and infrared. Terahertz waves can be used to analyze plastics, clothing, semiconductors and works of art without damaging the materials being examined; for chemical sensing and identification; and to investigate the formation of stars and composition of planetary atmospheres.

Researchers led by Benjamin Williams, a UCLA associate professor of electrical engineering, have created the first vertical-external-cavity surface-emitting laser, or VECSEL, that operates in the terahertz range. VECSELs that use visible light have been used extensively to generate high-powered beams, but the technique has not previously been adapted for terahertz frequencies.

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Dec 25, 2015

Next Tech: What Happens When Cars Drive Themselves?

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, transportation

Self-driving cars could mean a lot of free time for drivers.


We won’t have to drive soon, so what’re we going to do in cars? Nissan has an answer: http://voc.tv/1P6L9zh

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Dec 25, 2015

This Satellite Could Be Beaming Solar Power Down from Space

Posted by in categories: solar power, space, sustainability

In the third century BCE, King Hiero II of Syracuse asked Archimedes to devise a number of death traps to thwart Roman invaders. Among the many designs the great inventor drew up was a solar death ray. The basic idea was to build an array of mirrors that could reflect rays of light into a central blast, causing Roman ships to burst into flame. It’s unlikely the weapon ever made it past the blueprint stage, but it became an incredibly influential model nonetheless. Archimedes was perhaps the first solar power convert, searching for a way to take advantage of the inconceivable amount of energy our friendly neighborhood star barfs up every second.

The only thing that would make Archimedes’ solar death ray more fascinating is if it was technically feasible, socially benevolent, and in space. That’s where John Mankins comes in. A NASA veteran, aerospace entrepreneur, and space-based solar power (SBSP) expert, Mankins designed the world’s first practical orbital solar plant. It’s called the Solar Power Satellite via Arbitrarily Large PHased Array, or SPS-ALPHA for short. If all goes to plan, it could be launched as early as 2025, which is sooner than it sounds when it comes to space-based solar power timelines.

Scientists have been aware of the edge the “space-down” approach holds over terrestrial panels for decades. An orbiting plant would be unaffected by weather, atmospheric filtering of light, and the sun’s inconvenient habit of setting every evening. SBSP also has the potential to dramatically increase the availability of renewable energy.

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Dec 25, 2015

Rimac — Electric Concept One Super Car 1088hp

Posted by in categories: chemistry, energy, transportation

Specifications:

Performance Power output: 1088 hp Torque: 1600 Nm from 0 to 6500 rpm Acceleration: 0–100 km/h (0−62 mph) 2,8 seconds Range: up to 600 km (realistic range — 500 km) Braking distance: 31.5m (100−0 km/h) Lateral g-force: 1.4 g Efficiency: 140–550 Wh/km 40 kW on-board charging 100 kW fast DC-charging Weight-to-power ratio: 1.79 kg/hp Weight distribution: 42% front, 58% rear

Continue reading “Rimac — Electric Concept One Super Car 1088hp” »

Dec 25, 2015

Large machines for Ocean floor mining will begin field tests in 2016

Posted by in category: futurism

Nextbigfuture wrote about Nautilus Minerals several times since 2010. Nautilus Minerals is the first company to commercially explore the seafloor for massive sulphide systems, a potential source of high grade copper, gold, zinc and silver. Nautilus is developing a production system using existing technologies adapted from the offshore oil and gas industry, dredging and mining industries to enable the extraction of these high grade Seafloor Massive Sulphide (SMS) systems on a commercial scale.

Nautilus’ copper-gold project, Solwara 1, is under development in the territorial waters of Papua New Guinea.

Here is an update based on a presentation on August 2015.

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Dec 24, 2015

How MacArthur Genius Peidong Yang Uses Nanowires and Bacteria to Make the Ultimate Clean Fuel

Posted by in categories: energy, nanotechnology

A nanomaterials chemist has figured out a good way to mimic leaves and turn water and carbon dioxide into things we need.

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Dec 24, 2015

Imagine plunging into Earth’s atmosphere using this re-entry spacesuit

Posted by in category: space

Space diving like Commander Shepard or Master Chief. Theoretical, obviously.


Just imagine the experience of a lifetime: Jumping from low Earth orbit, your world turns into fire as the acceleration increases…

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Dec 24, 2015

New genes associated with extreme longevity identified

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, health, life extension, mathematics, neuroscience

Death is a disease.

Diseases can and will be cured.

Do the math. wink

Continue reading “New genes associated with extreme longevity identified” »

Dec 24, 2015

Confronting the Multiverse: What ‘Infinite Universes’ Would Mean

Posted by in category: cosmology

Is it possible that our universe is but one of many, with laws that mean nothing in the “pocket universes” that co-exist all around, and through, us? Robert Lawrence Kuhn explores the multiverse with the help of the world’s leading experts on these theori.

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Dec 24, 2015

This hoverboard costs $20,000 and can fly for six minutes

Posted by in categories: energy, space, transportation

2015 was literally and figuratively the year of the hoverboard. While everyone was talking about the self-balancing scooters, two companies showed off skateboard-shaped boards that actually hovered a few inches above the Earth: Lexus with the “Slide” board, and Arx Pax with its second generation Hendo Hoverboard. Now, just days before the new year, another company called ArcaSpace is taking a shot at making the mythical hoverboard.

ArcaSpace is primarily a private space company, and one of the original 26 teams that competed in the Ansari X Prize competition in 2004. (It also entered the Lunar X Prize competition, too, before pulling out in 2013.) But early this morning the company released a video that shows off the “ArcaBoard,” a fan-powered rectangle that can lift a person off the ground by almost a foot.

The ArcaBoard gets its power — 430 pounds of thrust, or 272 horsepower, according to the company — from 36 electric fans. The company also says its built in some self-balancing tech to make it fly smoothly. Beyond that, though, it doesn’t look like there’s much to the experience. Dumitru Propescu, ArcaSpace’s CEO, is seen riding it in the video, but it doesn’t look like he has much control over where it’s going. It’s actually pretty reminiscent of the Hendo Hoverboard videos — sure, it hovers, but you can’t really steer it enough to ever use it to get anywhere.

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