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Iter fusion power project: Scientists creating their own ‘Sun’ to tackle future energy problems

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

In southern France, engineers and scientists are creating a “mini- star,” which can produce the same reactions that take place in the sun, to provide energy for the future.

This interesting project is named ‘Iter,’ which means ‘the way’ in Latin, to underline the possibilities of energy as a means to create a peaceful and safe environment.

As reported by The Independent, the ‘star’ will weigh thrice as much as the Eiffel Tower and as big as 60 football pitches. A nuclear reactor will be placed inside the building, which will generate power through smaller and controlled versions of nuclear fusions. The power thus generated will be clean, safe to use and will lessen the over-exploitation of fossil fuels.

In 1987, ‘Iter’ was first introduced to the world in its primary stage. However, the project was delayed due to various problems.

Currently, it is being supported by seven entities, including European Union, US, Russia and China.

The group working on this project has also appointed a new head, Bernard Bigot, early this year.

The website reported Bigot as stating, “We are now entering into manufacturing and preparations for assembly.”

He added that he had joined as a part of a new management team that was set up to deliver “both a research and an industrial facility.”

The team involved in the project is expecting that preliminary operations can begin by the 2020s, followed by the production of energy after some time.

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Chinese Scientists create ‘Intellectual Suit’ for Wireless Detection and Monitoring of Health Indicators

The suit, via wireless transmission, can send signals to a cellphone, a computer, or even to a doctor's computer a thousand miles away, so a person's health can be monitored anytime and anywhere

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intellectual suit
A new wireless body suit designed by Chinese scientists may be able to monitor temperature, ph level and other health indicators and send the details to mobile devices. Will that mean an end to physical visits to the doctor? Pixabay

Beijing, October 24, 2017 : A group of Chinese scientists have developed an intellectual suit which are fitted with large-area textile sensors that can detect temperature, ph levels, pressure and other indicators showing the health status of a person.

At the third International Conference on Nanoenergy and Nanosystems in Beijing, Wang Zhonglin, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, introduced the invention, reports Xinhua news agency.

The intellectual suit, via wireless transmission, can send signals to a cellphone, a computer, or even to a doctor’s computer a thousand miles away, so a person’s health can be monitored anytime and anywhere, said Wang.

The conference, organised by the Beijing Institute of Nanoenergy and Nanosystems, is one of the most influential in the field of nanoscience and energy.

This year it focused on topics such as nanogenerators, self-powered sensors and systems, piezotronics, piezophototronics, energy storage and self-charging power systems. Over 700 scientists from more than 30 countries attended the conference that ended on Monday.

Wang also mentioned “nano tattoos”. These stickers on the arm, which can be shaped as a pattern much like a tattoo, will be able to administer drugs into a patient’s veins, providing a private and painless way of injection for diabetics.

“Scientists have made prototypes of all these gadgets at the institute’s technopark. They are expected to hit the market in two to three years,” said Wang. (IANS)

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NASA Running out of Fuel Required for Deep Space Missions : What will be the future of Exploration Missions?

The supply of the critical resource could be exhausted within the next decade, putting in jeopardy NASA's future missions that would require this fuel.

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What will happen to exploration missions if NASA runs out of fuel? Wikimedia

Washington, October 12, 2017 : The shortage of plutonium threatens NASA’s future mission to explore deep space, the US government has warned.

The break in production of plutonium 238 (Pu-238) between 1988 and 2015 could result in a bottleneck situation, where there is not enough of this scarce resource to power spacecraft during long-duration missions, Newsweek.com reported this week citing a government report.

NASA has long used radioisotope power systems (RPS) to generate reliable electrical power and heat energy for long-duration space missions, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report said.

But given NASA’s current plans for solar system exploration, the supply of this critical resource could be exhausted within the next decade, putting in jeopardy its future missions that would require this fuel, it warned.

RPS can operate where solar panels or batteries would be ineffective or impossible to use, such as in deep space or in shadowed craters, by converting heat from the natural radioactive decay of plutonium-238 (Pu-238) into electricity.

Missions such as Mars Curiousity rover and the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft use radioisotope thermoelectric generators as power source.

The production problems of Pu-238 and subsequent risks to NASA have been known for several years.

The Department of Energy (DOE) and its predecessor agencies have been providing Pu-238 and fabricating RPS for NASA and other federal agencies for more than five decades decades

ALSO READ NASA’S Mars Odyssey Spacecraft Captures First Images of the Martian Moon Phobos after 16 years

DOE currently maintains about 35 kgs of Pu-238 isotope designated for NASA missions, about half of which currently meets the power specifications for spaceflight.

However, given NASA’s current plans for solar system exploration, this supply could be exhausted within the next 10 years.

Specifically, NASA plans to use about 3.5 kg of Pu-238 isotope for one RPS to power the Mars 2020 mission, the Government Accountability Office report said.

NASA may also use an additional 10.5 kg of Pu-238 isotope for its New Frontiers #4
mission if three RPS are used.

If DOE’s existing Pu-238 supply is used for these two missions, NASA would be forced to eliminate or delay future missions requiring RPS until DOE produces or acquires more Pu-238, the report said. (IANS)

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Astronomers Discover New ‘Mid-size’ Black Hole 100,000 Times More Massive than the Sun

Scientists predict that nearly 100 million of these small black holes should exist in the Milky Way, however only about 60 have been found till now

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Black hole in milky way
A near-infrared image of a black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy as seen with Hubble Space Telescope/NICMOS. (NASA/STScI) (VOA)
  • Researches in Japan have discovered a super-massive black hole in Milky Way Galaxy
  • The black hole is believed to weigh as much as 400 suns
  • According to studies,  at least 100 million of these small black holes should exist in the Milky Way

Japan, September 5, 2017 : Astronomers have found new evidence for the existence of a mid-sized black hole, considered the missing link in the evolution of super-massive black holes.

Astronomers in Japan found the possible black hole in our own Milky Way galaxy, a long-theorized object which is bigger than the small black holes formed from a single star, but still much smaller than giant black holes such as the one at the center of the Milky Way.

Black holes are difficult to find because they do not emit any light. However, scientists can detect them by their influence on nearby objects.

The astronomers in Japan found new evidence of the so-called intermediate-mass black hole when they turned a powerful telescope in Chile’s Atacama desert on a gas cloud near the center of the Milky Way. The gases in the cloud move at unusual speeds, and the scientists believed they were being pulled by immense gravitational forces. They say the gravitational force is likely caused by a black hole measuring about 1.4 trillion kilometers across.

black hole in Milky way galaxy
Radio telescope antennas of the ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) project are seen in the Atacama desert, some 1500 km north of Santiago, Chile, VOA

The findings are published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

Theoretical studies predict at least 100 million of these small black holes should exist in the Milky Way, however only about 60 have been found.

The possible mid-sized black hole is much smaller than the super massive black hole that is located in the center of the galaxy, known as Sagittarius A, which weighs as much as 400 million suns.

“This is the first detection of an intermediate-mass black hole candidate in the Milky Way galaxy,” said the study’s leader, Tomoharu Oka from Keio University, Japan.

If confirmed, the intermediate-mass black hole could help explain how supermassive black holes operate. One theory is that supermassive black holes, which are at the center of most massive galaxies, are formed when smaller black holes steadily coalesce into larger ones. However, until now no definitive evidence has existed for intermediate-mass black holes that could indicate a middle step between the small and massive black holes already detected.

Researchers say they will continue to study the intermediate-mass black hole candidate in the hope of confirming its existence. (VOA)