(BEING CONTINUED FROM 16/02/14)
D)The Polywell Nuclear Reactor
…uses electricity and magnetism to release nuclear energy stored in the nuclei of Hydrogen and Boron atoms. This reaction of Hydrogen and Boron is called a p-B11 reaction. It is one of the few nuclear reactions that is completely safe: no significantnuclear radiation is released by the fuels, the reaction, or the products.
The polyhedral (cubical) group of stainless steel donuts pictured above is called a magrid. The magrid is positively charged to more than 50,000 volts.
The coil inside of each donut is creating a magnetic field of 2 Tesla (20,000 Gauss). The red streams shooting into the center of each donut are positive Boron and Hydrogen (proton) ion beams. The blue-green stream is an electron beam. The magnetic field is a trap that captures and contains most of the electrons. They accumulate at the center of the cube, becoming a cloud of electrons (left), somewhat like a swarm of bees. This accumulating cloud of electrons is a concentration of negative electric charges. Such a large concentration of electric charge creates what is know as a potential well. (Hence, the name polywell.)
The negative cloud of electrons at the center creates a potent electric field of imaginary electric force arrows pointing in toward the electron cloud. The electric field accelerates the Boron and hydrogen ions (protons) to the center of the cloud (right). When the protons and Boron nuclei collide, a nuclear reaction occurs. The reaction creates high-energy alpha particles (helium nuclei), which carry large amounts of energy away from the center.
Compared to the 50,000 volt potential of the incoming proton and boron ions, the outgoing kinetic energy of the new alpha particles is truly hellish – on the order of 2,460,000 volts (2.46 million electon volts or 2.46 Mev).
A spherical metal collector, charged to +1.22 million volts, surrounds the whole affair. It uses electrical repulsion to slow the outbound alphas. This same repulsion pushes electrical charges down power cables which are connected to the Polywell, and the electrical energy is removed, to be used in our planet’s power grid.
The power output of a polywell is proportional to R^7 (radius of the magrid to the seventh power). This means there is an optimum radius for the magrid, and that is about 1.5 meters. If you make the radius of the magrid much less than 1.5 meters, the Polywell will not put out enough power to charge its own magrid and power its own coils (it will not reach “break even”). And, if you make the radius much more than 1.5 meters, the power output will exceed the strength of any known materials, and the Polywell will blow itself to bits, every time you power it up. In the graph on the right, if R = 1 m, the power out is 5.8 MW; if R = 2 m, the power out is 749.2 MW.
So the diameter of our “full-scale” Polywell will be about 3 meters (almost 10 feet); and it happens that the power output of a 3 meter Polywell is about 100 MW (100,000,000 watts), which is just about the right size for powering the city of Port Angeles, Washington.
In a strange, but serendipitous coincidence, it just so happens that the diameter of a GE90-115B jet engine is about 3 meters (see photo left), and its power output is 86 MW (86,000,000) – pretty close to 100 MW. The GE 90-115B is the most powerful jet engine made. It powers the Boeing 777 aircraft pictured below. The environment inside an operating jet engine is absolutely hellish requiring materials at the very limit of our technology; and the environment inside of an operating Polywell will be just as bad.
But there are also some big differences:
1. the jet engine uses carbon-based fuel and produces copious carbon dioxide, but the Polywell uses Boron and Hydrogen, and produces NO (zero, nada, нуль) carbon dioxide.
2. the jet engine releases CHEMICAL energy (the atoms are conserved), but the Polywell releases NUCLEAR energy (the atoms are NOT conserved).
3. the GE 90-115B engines go for about $22 million each, whereas the estimated cost of a prototype 100 MW Polywell is about $350 million. (The cost of a production Polywell should be about $200 million.)
How many 100,000,000 watt (100 MW) Polywells would be required to replace just half of the 12,900,000,000,000 watts (12.9 Terawatts), presently produced from carbon based fuels every hour here on Earth, assuming that the Polywells are operating at 60% (0.6) efficiency? And how much would it cost for that many Polywells?
6,450,000,000,000 watts/(100,000,000 watts per polywell x 0.6) = 107,500 polywells
Each Polywell costs about $200,000,000 installed.
$200,000,000/Polywell x 107,500 Polywells = $21,500,000,000,000
Excuse me? $21.5 TRILLION dollars????
It’s a pretty scary number, but just for future comparison purposes, to eventually put this number into perspective, let’s calculate the cost per Terawatt:
$14.33 Trillion/6.45 Terawatts = $3.33 Trillion/Terawatt (remember this number!)
E)Many Interacting Worlds theory: Scientists propose existence and interaction of parallel worlds
Griffith University academics are challenging the foundations of quantum science with a radical new theory based on the existence of, and interactions between, parallel universes.
In a paper published in the prestigious journal Physical Review X, Professor Howard Wiseman and Dr Michael Hall from Griffith’s Centre for Quantum Dynamics, and Dr Dirk-Andre Deckert from the University of California, take interacting parallel worlds out of the realm of science fiction and into that of hard science.
The team proposes that parallel universes really exist, and that they interact. That is, rather than evolving independently, nearby worlds influence one another by a subtle force of repulsion. They show that such an interaction could explain everything that is bizarre about quantum mechanics
Quantum theory is needed to explain how the universe works at the microscopic scale, and is believed to apply to all matter. But it is notoriously difficult to fathom, exhibiting weird phenomena which seem to violate the laws of cause and effect.
As the eminent American theoretical physicist Richard Feynman once noted: “I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.”
However, the “Many-Interacting Worlds” approach developed at Griffith University provides a new and daring perspective on this baffling field.
“The idea of parallel universes in quantum mechanics has been around since 1957,” says Professor Wiseman.
“In the well-known “Many-Worlds Interpretation”, each universe branches into a bunch of new universes every time a quantum measurement is made. All possibilities are therefore realised – in some universes the dinosaur-killing asteroid missed Earth. In others, Australia was colonised by the Portuguese.
“But critics question the reality of these other universes, since they do not influence our universe at all. On this score, our “Many Interacting Worlds” approach is completely different, as its name implies.”
Professor Wiseman and his colleagues propose that:
- The universe we experience is just one of a gigantic number of worlds. Some are almost identical to ours while most are very different;
- All of these worlds are equally real, exist continuously through time, and possess precisely defined properties;
- All quantum phenomena arise from a universal force of repulsion between ‘nearby’ (i.e. similar) worlds which tends to make them more dissimilar.
Dr Hall says the “Many-Interacting Worlds” theory may even create the extraordinary possibility of testing for the existence of other worlds.
“The beauty of our approach is that if there is just one world our theory reduces to Newtonian mechanics, while if there is a gigantic number of worlds it reproduces quantum mechanics,” he says.
“In between it predicts something new that is neither Newton’s theory nor quantum theory.
“We also believe that, in providing a new mental picture of quantum effects, it will be useful in planning experiments to test and exploit quantum phenomena.”
The ability to approximate quantum evolution using a finite number of worlds could have significant ramifications in molecular dynamics, which is important for understanding chemical reactions and the action of drugs.
Professor Bill Poirier, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Texas Tech University, has observed: “These are great ideas, not only conceptually, but also with regard to the new numerical breakthroughs they are almost certain to engender.”
F)Plant life may touch down on Mars in 2021
Researchers have proposed putting a plant-growth experiment on NASA’s next Mars rover, which is scheduled to launch in mid-2020 and land on the Red Planet in early 2021. The investigation, known as the Mars Plant Experiment (MPX), could help lay the foundation for the colonization of Mars, its designers say.
“In order to do a long-term, sustainable base on Mars, you would want to be able to establish that plants can at least grow on Mars,” MPX deputy principal investigator Heather Smith, of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, said April 24 at the Humans 2 Mars conference in Washington, D.C. “This would be the first step in that … we just send the seeds there and watch them grow.” [The Boldest Mars Missions in History]
The MPX team — led by fellow Ames scientist Chris McKay — isn’t suggesting that the 2020 Mars rover should play gardener, digging a hole with its robotic arm and planting seeds in the Red Planet’s dirt. Rather, the experiment would be entirely self-contained, eliminating the chance that Earth life could escape and perhaps get a foothold on Mars.
Graphic illustrating the Mars Plant Experiment (MPX) concept, which aims to send a tiny greenhouse to the Red Planet along with NASA’s next Mars rover in 2021.
Credit: Chris McKay and the MPX Proposal team
MPX would employ a clear “CubeSat” box — the case for a cheap and tiny satellite — which would be affixed to the exterior of the 2020 rover. This box would hold Earth air and about 200 seeds of Arabidopsis, a small flowering plant that’s commonly used in scientific research.
The seeds would receive water when the rover touched down on Mars, and would then be allowed to grow for two weeks or so.
“In 15 days, we’ll have a little greenhouse on Mars,” Smith said.
MPX would provide an organism-level test of the Mars environment, showing how Earth life deals with the Red Planet’s relatively high radiation levels and low gravity, which is about 40 percent as strong as that of Earth, she added.
“We would go from this simple experiment to the greenhouses on Mars for a sustainable base,” Smith said. “That would be the goal.”
In addition to its potential scientific returns, MPX would provide humanity with a landmark moment, she added.
“It also would be the first multicellular organism to grow, live and die on another planet,” Smith said.
The 2020 Mars rover is based heavily on NASA’s Curiosity rover, which landed in August 2012 to determine if the Red Planet has ever been capable of supporting microbial life. Curiosity has already answered that question in the affirmative, finding that a site called Yellowknife Bay was, indeed, habitable billions of years ago.
NASA wants the 2020 rover to search for signs of past Mars life, and collect rock and soil samples for eventual return to Earth. But the space agency is still working out the details of the robot’s mission — for example, figuring out what instruments it will carry.
NASA received 58 instrument proposals for the rover during its call for submissions, which lasted from September 2013 until January of this year. Final selections should be made by June or so, NASA officials have said.
Curiosity totes 10 instruments around Mars, so the 2020 rover may end up with a similar amount of scientific gear.
Originally published on Space.com.