Submission Summary: 0 pending, 43 declined, 9 accepted (52 total, 17.31% accepted)
The proliferation of debris orbiting the Earth – primarily jettisoned rocket and satellite components – is an increasingly pressing problem for spacecraft, and it can generate huge costs. To combat this scourge, the Swiss Space Center at EPFL is announcing today the launch of CleanSpace One, a project to develop and build the first installment of a family of satellites specially designed to clean up space debris.
This looks like a reasonable method, although I think that at some future point it might be useful to just put at least the smaller stuff in a higher 'parking orbit' for later destruction or recycling. This way you wouldn't lose one vacuum cleaner for each satellite retrieved. And much later down the road, it might be useful to collect bigger units — expended boosters, for example — as raw materials and/or containers. The cost of getting the mass into space has already been spent.
I optimistically foresee a future where much of the stuff sent into orbital space has a recycling function built into the design."
Although he is commonly known for Occam's razor, the methodological principle that bears his name, William of Ockham also produced significant works on logic, physics, and theology.
He is also considered the father of epistemology. One notable aspect of his life is that he apparently did not fit into the normal schooling process, leaving before achieving his master's degree (equivalent to high school diploma) and got in trouble with the Church due to his original thought, but was widely admired for his creative and far-reaching ideas. Sounds like me!
[Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute student Martin] Schubert's polarized LED advances current LED technology in its ability to better control the direction and polarization of the light being emitted. With better control over the light, less energy is wasted producing scattered light, allowing more light to reach its desired location. This makes the polarized LED perfectly suited as a backlighting unit for any kind of LCD, according to Schubert. Its focused light will produce images on the display that are more colorful, vibrant, and lifelike, with no motion artifacts.
Duke University and United States Army scientists have found that a cheap and nontoxic sunburn and diaper rash preventative can be made to produce brilliant light best suited to the human eye.
Duke adjunct physics professor Henry Everitt, chemistry professor Jie Liu and their graduate student John Foreman have discovered that adding sulfur to ultra-fine powders of commonplace zinc oxide at about 1,000 degrees centigrade allows the preparation to convert invisible ultraviolet light into a remarkably bright and natural form of white light.
I can see the comic books now... "Super Baby defends the planet against the aliens! Shooting intense beams of light from his diaper, he attacks! The aliens put up their defensive shields in vain! Hot beams of sulfur-zinc-light fry them in their flying saucers!"
The researchers said they are producing white light centered in the green part of the spectrum by forming the sulfur-doped preparation into a material called a phosphor. The phosphor converts the excited frequencies from an ultraviolet light emitting diode (LED) into glowing white light.
Zinc oxide would be both a less-toxic and cheaper light source than the combinations used in today's commercial LEDs — gallium nitride and cerium-doped yttrium oxide, they said. Cerium-doped yttrium oxide is also used in today's mercury-containing fluorescent bulbs, Everitt added.
Liu's lab originally stumbled on to the light emitting potential of sulfur-doped zinc oxide while studying its electronic conductivity. "We just lit it up with an ultraviolet laser and — whammo — there was a lot of white light coming out," Everitt said.
Life would be so much easier if we could just look at the source code. -- Dave Olson