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ISS Could Be Fitted With Lasers To Shoot Down Space Junk 167

An anonymous reader writes Japan's Riken research institute has suggested a new idea for dealing with space junk. They say a fiber optic laser mounted onto the International Space Station could blast debris out of the sky. From the article: "To combat the increasingly dense layer of dead satellites and miscellaneous space debris that are enshrouding our planet, no idea — nets, lassos, even ballistic gas clouds — seems too far-fetched to avoid. Now, an international team of researchers led by Japan's Riken research institute has put forward what may be the most ambitious plan to date. They propose blasting an estimated 3,000 tons of space junk out of orbit with a fiber optic laser mounted on the International Space Station."

Ultra-Powerful Laser To Be Built In Romania 41

cripkd writes "The 3rd pillar from the ELI program was given the go ahead Tuesday: 'In Romania, Magurele, the ELI pillar will focus on laser-based nuclear physics. For this purpose, an intense gamma-ray source is foreseen by coupling a high-energy particle accelerator to a high-power laser.' Here are some specs and details about why this is not your regular key-chain laser."

EU Scientists Working On Laser To Rip a Hole In Spacetime 575

astroengine writes "Those pesky physicists are at it again; they want to build a laser so powerful that it will literally rip spacetime apart. Why? To prove the existence of virtual particles in the quantum vacuum, potentially unravel extra dimensions and possibly find the root of dark matter. The $1.6 billion Extreme Light Infrastructure Ultra-High Field Facility (known as ELI) will be built somewhere in Europe by the end of the decade and physicists are hoping the ten high-powered lasers — delivering 200 petawatts of power at a target for less than a trillionth of a second — will turn up some surprises about the very fabric of the Universe."

Iceland Eyes Liquid Magma As Energy Source 215

An anonymous reader writes "Scientists in Iceland have been studying and utilizing the power of geothermal wells for years. In 2009 one such study hit a standstill when a group ran into magma halfway into their dig. The roadblock has become a blessing in disguise, as recent research has shown that the magma can act as a potent new source of geothermal energy powerful enough to heat 25,000 to 30,000 homes."

Tsunami Warning From Space? 351

Peter bayley writes "Tell me I'm crazy or tell me someone has already done it — but wouldn't a satellite equipped with a laser be a great way to warn people of tsunamis? I was pondering how to warn people in remote coastal areas once evidence of a seismic incident has been received by the monitoring stations that have now been set up following the large Boxing Day tsunami. The idea is to illuminate the areas that are likely to be at risk with a bright (but not dangerous) light. People would be told to head to higher ground if such a light appears in the sky. Put the satellite in a geosynchronous orbit. Make it tunable so that different colors can convey different meanings. You would be able to warn anyone, anywhere they can see the sky. The laser could be directed to illuminate only those areas at risk, skipping unnecessary areas to save power. Power could be varied so that it is visible day and night and through cloud (raise the power where the satellite detects cloud cover). I emailed some people at NOAA about it but they said it would stand on too many toes by circumventing local emergency service organizations in the various countries. I replied that countries could easily opt out, in which case the laser would be turned off for those countries — but received no further reply. Anyway, I thought the massed minds of Slashdot would relish the chance to demolish my idea."

Finally, a True Green Laser 274

dusty writes "Remember those green lasers from Star Wars? Turns out that faking green lasers has been easy for years, but making true green laser diodes has been the stuff of science fiction. Until recently, that is. Now researchers from Japan have created the world's first true green laser diode. Until now, only red and blue laser diodes were available, and now with the addition of green, new TVs and projectors that are more efficient can be produced. And if you were wondering how green lasers pointers are already produced, it is a hack that involved doubling the frequency of an infrared laser. The new true green laser diodes have much higher efficiency than the current 6%, leading many to expect big time laser display breakthroughs in the near future. Ars Technica has a well-written article on this breakthrough."

MSDOS is not dead, it just smells that way. -- Henry Spencer