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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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NASA Readies Probe to Touch the Sun With ‘Cutting-Edge Heat Shield’

The eight-foot-diameter heat shield will safeguard everything within its umbra, the shadow it casts on the spacecraft, NASA said

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The concept received funding through NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts programme, which will provide $100,000 for feasibility studies.
The concept received funding through NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts programme, which will provide $100,000 for feasibility studies.. Pixabay

Ahead of its August launch, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe — the mission aiming to get closest to the Sun than ever by any human-made object — has got its “revolutionary” heat shield permanently attached to the spacecraft, the US space agency said.

The probe’s heat shield — called the Thermal Protection System, or TPS — was reinstalled on the spacecraft on June 27, NASA said in a statement on Thursday.

The reinstallation of the heat shield — which was briefly attached to the spacecraft during testing in the autumn of 2017 — marks the first time in months that Parker Solar Probe has been fully integrated.

A mission 60 years in the making, Parker Solar Probe will make a historic journey to the Sun’s corona, a region of the solar atmosphere.

With the help of its heat shield, the spacecraft’s orbit will carry it to within four million miles of the Sun’s fiercely hot surface, where it will collect data about the inner workings of the corona.

NASA-heat-shield
Representational image. (IANS)

The eight-foot-diameter heat shield will safeguard everything within its umbra, the shadow it casts on the spacecraft, NASA said.

At Parker Solar Probe’s closest approach to the Sun, temperatures on the heat shield will reach nearly 1,371 degrees Celsius, but the spacecraft and its instruments will be kept at a relatively comfortable temperature of about 29.4 degrees Celsius.

The heat shield is made of two panels of superheated carbon-carbon composite sandwiching a lightweight 4.5-inch-thick carbon foam core.

Also Read: NASA to Soon Start Testing ‘quiet’ Supersonic Flights over Texas

The Sun-facing side of the heat shield is also sprayed with a specially formulated white coating to reflect as much of the Sun’s energy away from the spacecraft as possible.

Because Parker Solar Probe travels so fast — 69,2018 km per hour at its closest approach to the Sun, fast enough to travel from Philadelphia to Washington, DC, in about one second — the shield and spacecraft have to be light to achieve the needed orbit.

The heat shield itself weighs only about 72.5 kg, NASA said. (IANS)