Posted: November 22nd, 2011 | Author: M.Aaron Silverman | Filed under: Favorite New Thought, NASA, Science News, Solar Stars | Tags: Favorite New Thought, International Space Station, ISS, Mike Fossum, NASA, Russian Soyuz Capsule, Satoshi Furukawa, Science News, Sergei Volkov, Solar Stars, Video, Youtube | No Comments »
Three astronauts have landed safely in Kazakhstan aboard a Russian Soyuz capsule after a stay of over five months aboard the International Space Station.
American Mike Fossum, Japan’s Satoshi Furukawa and Russia’s Sergei Volkov touched down outside the remote settlement of Arkalyk just before sunrise on Tuesday after undocking from the ISS earlier in the day. It was during their stay on the ISS that a Russian unmanned Progress supply ship carrying supplies for the station crashed into Siberia in August, forcing a rethink of the timetable for manned spaceflight.
The three astronauts had spent 167 days in space – slightly more than the 161-day mission envisaged as the return was delayed by almost a week due to the Progress mishap. Russian State television pictures showed the astronauts extracted from the capsule apparently in good health.
The Soyuz capsule landed on its side rather than its bottom after its descent to Earth with a parachute, mission control said, but such a landing was not unusual. Read the full article »»»»
Posted: November 10th, 2011 | Author: Michael Courtenay | Filed under: Applied Science, Cankler, Engineered Life, Santa Barbara, Science, Science News, Science of Green, Solar Stars | Tags: Flexible Organic Small-Molecule Solar Cells, Flexible Solar Cell, photovoltaic, Polymer Based Solar Cell, Santa Barbara, Science News, Science of Green, Small-Molecule Solar Cell, University of California | No Comments »
We’ve raved about solar cells previously: here, and here, the technology has taken several quantum leaps over the past decade. Paintable crystalline and printable solar cells seem to be the way of the future, the fight now is for real solar efficiency. Solar panels that can be simply printed have inched a step closer with the development of an energy efficient, organic, small-molecule solar cell. The solar cell, which was developed by a team from the University of California, Santa Barbara, has energy efficiencies of 6.7 per cent, which rivals the best polymer-based solar cells. Most polymer-based designs have reached the 6 to 8 range for efficiency.
“These results provide important progress for solution-processed organic photovoltaics and demonstrate that solar cells fabricated from small donor molecules can compete with their polymeric counterparts,” the authors, including Nobel Prize winner Professor Alan Heeger, wrote in Nature Materials. Read the full article »»»»
Posted: September 14th, 2011 | Author: M.Aaron Silverman | Filed under: Engineered Life, NASA, Science, Science News, Solar Stars | Tags: Charles. Bolden, Deep Space, Heavy Lift, NASA, NASA Administrator, QA, Shuttle, SLS, SLS Wiki, Space Launch System, Space Program, STS135 | Comments Off
The shuttle age has come to an end, so what next for manned spaceflight, Space Launch System, NASA’s new heavy lift rocket is set for deep space exploration.
NASA has unveiled its latest design for a workhorse heavy-launch vehicle that it hopes will lift the human spaceflight programme out of a morass and beyond low-Earth orbit. The Space Launch System, or SLS, will be designed to carry the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, as well as important cargo, equipment and science experiments to Earth’s orbit and destinations beyond. Additionally, the SLS will serve as a back up for commercial and international partner transportation services to the International Space Station. The behemoth, more than 10 metres taller than the Saturn V, would be the most powerful rocket ever to lift people into space. The rocket, with configurations for both 70 and 130 tonnes of thrust, appears to reflect a compromise between competing versions pushed by legislators and the Obama administration, a logjam that had left the agency rudderless even as the last flights of the space shuttle came and went. Read the full article »»»»
Posted: August 23rd, 2011 | Author: Buster Cookson | Filed under: Applied Science, Astronomy, Cankler, Solar Stars | Tags: AIA, BTS-1, Buddha's Brother, Camilla Corona the Chicken, Cape Canaveral, EVE, F, Goddard Space Centre, Hauntng Images, highpants, HMI, NASA, Satellite, SDO, SOHO, Solar, Solar Dynamics Observatory, Sun, terabyte | Comments Off
The satellites and space craft that we launch to observe our world are our eyes and ears in space. Advances in satellites pointed at the Sun have been enormous over the last decade. The latest satellite gathering solar information is NASA’s SDO. Chances are you have seen footage produced by this high-tech observer, all of the solar flare footage used by media channels lately have been thanks to NASA’s SDO satellite. The quality of the footage is incredible, only matched by the sheer amount of information this satellite is sending back to earth, over a terabyte of data a day. The data that this satellite collects will help us understand what drives our most important neighbour, the Sun.
After SDO’s first year of operation NASA released a compilation of jaw dropping footage of the sun. ‘First Light’ was the original footage released by NASA, this footage was mixed down -edited- into the punchy little two-minute ‘Haunting Images from the Sun’ by SpaceRip, infamous science documentary re-releaser on YouTube. SDO has since produced even more spectacular footage – see video below ‘Sun Sends Out X6.9 Class Solar Flare’, the monster flare occurred August 9, 2011.
Assembled at the Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland and launched February 11, 2010 from Cape Canaveral SDO was initially placed in low Earth orbit. Eventually it will slowly be maneuvered into it’s final circular geosynchronous orbit -stays facing the sun while the Earth turns- at an altitude of 36,000 km, giving SDO a permanent view of the Sun. The data collected by SDO is part of the ‘Living with a Star’ program which aims to understand the sun and it’s influence on the Earth, the Earth-Sun relationship.
Building on the technology of the previous solar observing satellite SOHO, SDO improves on SOHO‘s instruments and adds new sensors to the study of the sun. Three instrument suites are onboard for observing; Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment (EVE) , Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) and Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) making SDO the most advanced solar observatory ever. These three sets of sensors are each recording a different perspective of the sun in real-time, HMI listens to the Suns magnetic fields while EVE and AIA watch and photograph the Sun’s outer layers. The sensors collect and send back over a Terabyte of data per day. Once the data is received at the Goddard flight control centre it’s stored and served up to various research facilities. Individually each of the sensors produces spectacular images, together they are stunning. Read the full article »»»»
Posted: August 19th, 2011 | Author: Buster Cookson | Filed under: Astronomy, Cankler, Solar Stars | Tags: Buddha's Brother, Harvard, Kepler, NASA, planet darkness, too close to the sun, TrES-2b | Comments Off
NASA’s Kepler satellite, also known as the planet hunter has found a planet that is particularly unusual, TrES-2b holds claim to being the darkest planet ever found. Darker than coal, blacker than black acrylic paint and with a constant temperature of over 1,800 degrees Celsius, she’s as hot as she is dark. Discovered 750 lights years away in the direction of the constellation Draco. Kepler is our eyes and ears in deep space and with it they are being taken to unimagined new world, now instead of just wondering what’s out there we’re finding its even stranger than we imagined.
“It’s not clear what is responsible for making this planet so extraordinarily dark,” stated co-author David Spiegel of Princeton University. “However, it’s not completely pitch black. It’s so hot that it emits a faint red glow, much like a burning ember or the coils on an electric stove.” Read the full article »»»»
Posted: July 20th, 2011 | Author: Michael Courtenay | Filed under: Applied Science, Cankler, Engineered Life, Michael Courtenay, No Sh_t Sherlock, Science, Solar Stars | Tags: Jacobs School of Engineering, No Sh_t Sherlock, Solar, UCSD | Comments Off
According to a team of researchers at the UCSD, Jacobs School of Engineering, the solar panels sprouting on increasing numbers of residential and commercial rooftops around the world aren’t just generating green electricity, they’re also helping keep the buildings cooler. The thought that letting photovoltaic panels take the solar beating will reduce the amount of heat reaching the roof shouldn’t come as a huge a surprise, the fact no one has thought to quantify just what the effects of rooftop solar panels on a building temperatures is a bit of a No Sh_t Sherlock moment. In a study in an upcoming issue of the journal Solar Energy, Kleissl and his team published what they believe are the first peer-reviewed measurements of the cooling benefits provided by solar photovoltaic panels. Using thermal imaging, researchers determined that during the day, a building’s ceiling was 5 degrees Fahrenheit cooler under solar panels than under an exposed roof. At night, the panels help hold heat in, reducing heating costs in the winter. Read the full article »»»»
Posted: July 15th, 2011 | Author: Michael Courtenay | Filed under: Applied Science, Cankler, Chemically Engineered, Engineered Life, Michael Courtenay, Science, Science of Green, Solar Stars | Tags: Eni-MIT Alliance Solar Frontiers Program, Michael Courtenay, Michael Kasser, mit, Printable Solar | Comments Off
Clearly always inovating, MIT has developed materials that make it possible to produce photovoltaic cells on paper, nearly as simply as printing a document.
Almost as cheaply and easily as printing a photo on your inkjet, an inexpensive, simple solar cell has been created on that flimsy sheet, formed from special “inks” deposited on the paper. You can even fold it up to slip into a pocket, then unfold it and watch it generating electricity again in the sunlight. The new technology, developed by a team of researchers at MIT, is reported in a paperin the journal Advanced Materials, published online July 8. The paper is co-authored by Karen Gleason, the Alexander and I. Michael Kasser Professor of Chemical Engineering; Professor of Electrical Engineering Vladimir Bulović; graduate student Miles Barr; and six other students and postdocs. The work was supported by the Eni-MIT Alliance Solar Frontiers Program and the National Science Foundation.
The technique represents a major departure from the systems used until now to create most solar cells, which require exposing the substrates to potentially damaging conditions, either in the form of liquids or high temperatures. The new printing process uses vapors, not liquids, and temperatures less than 120 degrees Celsius. These “gentle” conditions make it possible to use ordinary untreated paper, cloth or plastic as the substrate on which the solar cells can be printed.The resilient solar cells still function even when folded up into a paper airplane. In their paper, the MIT researchers also describe printing a solar cell on a sheet of PET plastic (a thinner version of the material used for soda bottles) and then folding and unfolding it 1,000 times, with no significant loss of performance. By contrast, a commercially produced solar cell on the same material failed after a single folding. Read the full article »»»»