Technological Revolution

Plasma jet engines might soon take us from Earth to space

Submitted by Freedomman on Fri, 05/26/2017 - 12:51

BERLIN, Germany (PNN) - May 20, 2017 - Imagine a jet engine that could propel an aircraft faster than a traditional engine, taking us all the way to the edge of the atmosphere, all without burning fossil fuels - and for a low cost.

That's exactly what plasma jet engines should be able to do, although thus far they have been confined to research labs, mostly those focusing on using the engines to move satellites and other spacecraft.

Now researchers from the Technical University of Berlin are working to bring them out of the lab and into the sky.

Instead of burning fuel and compressed air and then shoving the results out of the back of an engine to cause forward propulsion, a plasma jet engine mimics a fusion reactor or a star.

It creates electricity by exciting and compressing gas into plasma, and then generating an electromagnetic field.

Led by Berkant Göksel, the research team aims to marry the plasma engine and the passenger jet to come up with something that could fly at very high altitudes but still take off and land.

"We are the first to produce fast and powerful plasma jets at ground level," said Göskel. "These jets of plasma can reach speeds of up to 20 kilometers a second."

Several obstacles are still standing between the plasma jet engine that can carry us to the edge of space and reality. First, Göksel's team was using tiny plasma thrusters - about 80 millimeters in length.

It would take around 10,000 of these little thrusters to propel a standard commercial-size aircraft, so the current design is a non-starter. For now, Göksel's team intends to use 100 to 1,000 thrusters to move a smaller airship or plane, which ought to be feasible.

Wormhole created in a lab

Submitted by Freedomman on Wed, 05/24/2017 - 22:02

BARCELONA, Spain (PNN) - April 21, 2017 - In a paper called A Magnetic Wormhole by Jordi Prat-Camps, Carles Nava and Alvaro Sanchez published in Scientific Reports, they report that they have designed and created in the laboratory the first experimental wormhole that can connect two regions of space magnetically. Amazingly enough, the scientists at the Department of Physics at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona report that it consists of a tunnel that transfers the magnetic field from one point to the other while keeping it undetectable - invisible - all the way.

Newly dated fossils suggest a mysterious human species lived alongside our ancestors

Submitted by Freedomman on Wed, 05/17/2017 - 20:59

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (PNN) - May 9, 2017 - Just as a high-profile expedition to retrieve fossils of human ancestors from deep within a cave system in South Africa was getting underway in 2013, two spelunkers pulled aside paleoanthropologist Lee Berger. They had found what looked like an ancient thighbone in a completely different cave. “Can we go get it?” they asked.

The FUK just switched on an ambitious fusion reactor - and it works

Submitted by Freedomman on Wed, 05/03/2017 - 21:02

LONDON, England (PNN) - May 1, 2017 - The Fascist United Kingdom's newest fusion reactor, ST40, was switched on last week, and has already managed to achieve “first plasma” - successfully generating a scorching blob of electrically charged gas (or plasma) within its core.

The aim is for the tokamak reactor to heat plasma up to 100 million degrees Celsius (180 million degrees Fahrenheit) by 2018 - seven times hotter than the center of the Sun. That's the “fusion” threshold at which hydrogen atoms can begin to fuse into helium, unleashing limitless, clean energy in the process.

Russia tests mach 8 hypersonic missile and India works on mach 5 missile

Submitted by Freedomman on Wed, 05/03/2017 - 20:51

NEW DELHI, India (PNN) - April 26, 2017 - India has recently been test-firing new versions of the medium-range supersonic Brahmos missile, which is a joint venture between India and Russia and is based on the P-800 Onix, one of several supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles in service with the Russian Navy. With Russian help, India is developing a hypersonic Brahmos II version, which could be based on the Zircon.

New computers could delete thoughts without your knowledge

Submitted by Freedomman on Wed, 05/03/2017 - 20:49

ZURICH, Switzerland (PNN) - April 23, 2017 - “Thou canst not touch the freedom of my mind,” wrote the playwright John Milton in 1634.

But nearly 400 years later, technological advances in machines that can read our thoughts mean the privacy of our brains is under threat.

Scientists invent device that can literally read your mind

Submitted by Freedomman on Wed, 04/26/2017 - 20:52

TOKYO - Japan (PNN) - April 18, 2017 - A device that can read people’s minds by detecting their brainwaves has been developed in a breakthrough that could eventually enable people with “locked-in syndrome” to communicate.

Google AI experiment may lead to robots that can learn without human input

Submitted by Freedomman on Wed, 04/26/2017 - 20:49

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Kalifornia (PNN) - April 18, 2017 - Machines that can think for themselves - and perhaps turn on their creators as a result - have long been a fascination of science fiction.

Creating robots that can learn without any input from humans is moving ever closer, thanks to the latest developments in artificial intelligence.

NASA is working on a vacuum airship for Mars missions

Submitted by Freedomman on Wed, 04/19/2017 - 17:59

HOUSTON, Texas (PNN) - April 10, 2017 - It sounds like something out of science fiction - a vacuum airship filled with empty space, which will soar above the thin atmosphere of Mars.

But NASA is actually putting money into investigating the idea - as well as researching an artificial gravity chamber for spacecrafts.

Atmosphere found around Earth-sized planet GJ 1132b

Submitted by Freedomman on Wed, 04/12/2017 - 21:00

ATACAMA DESERT, Chile (PNN) - April 6, 2017 - Scientists say they have detected an atmosphere around an Earth-sized planet for the first time.

They have studied a world known as GJ 1132b, which is 1.4-times the size of our planet and lies 39 light years away.

Their observations suggest that the "super-Earth" is cloaked in a thick layer of gases that are either water or methane or a mixture of both.

The study is published in the Astronomical Journal.

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