May 9, 2011 |
The 2004 crash-landing of a returning NASA space capsule in the deserts of Utah had scientists fearing for a while that samples collected by the Genesis mission, sent to capture particles from the sun's solar wind, were lost. But much of the collected material survived the crash, and it's now turning up surprises: discrepancies between the composition of the sun and the inner solar system, which contains the sun's four closest planets, including Earth. The early report, published online Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows among other things that the pattern of isotopes in the solar wind — and thus, presumably, the sun — is very different from that of the inner planets.
March 11, 2011 |
The latest surge in oil prices may help the renewable energy industry reach a turning point after years of boom-and-bust cycles long dictated by the rise and fall in gas prices. Solar, wind and biofuel investors and analysts said the latest run-up in prices caused by unrest in Libya and other oil-producing nations could lead to lasting interest in alternate sources of energy. They point to several factors converging at the same time that give the industry such hope. Public awareness and worries about climate change, pollution and dwindling resources are at an all-time high.
December 14, 2010 |
Voyager 1, the little spacecraft that could, is nearing the edge of the solar system and continuing to prove theorists wrong about solar wind ? the massive outflow of particles produced by the sun. The tiny spacecraft, launched 33 years ago, is now 10.8 billion miles from Earth and has reached the region of the solar system where the hot ionized gas, or plasma, emitted by the sun is ramming into the cold gas and dust of interstellar space and...
October 1, 2010 |
A tiny satellite circling Earth is providing an unexpectedly complicated picture of the solar system's heliosphere, the invisible bubble that extends far beyond the planetary orbits to where the solar wind strikes the vast sea of particles and radiation that fill interstellar space, researchers said Thursday. It turns out the heliosphere is changing much more rapidly than scientists ever expected, according to data published Thursday in the Journal of Geophysical Research. Despite its great distance from Earth, the heliosphere is of great interest to astronomers because it shields the solar system from as much as 90% of the cosmic rays that would otherwise enter it. As humans contemplate manned spaceflights of longer durations, "galactic cosmic radiation turns out to be the most important factor" for the safety of astronauts, astronomer David McComas of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio said at a news conference.
March 21, 2010 |
"Hello, from the children of planet Earth!" Someday, these friendly words might greet beings from another world! No one knows whether life exists anywhere else but Earth. Even if it does, no one knows whether any alien life forms might be intelligent. Or whether they might be advanced enough to have space travel. But, what if . . . ? Let's go back to 1977. The United States launches two robotic spacecraft. Robotic means they have no people in them. The spacecraft are named Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. They are going to explore the outer planets of our solar system.
November 23, 2009 |
At a recent solar energy conference in Anaheim, economic development officials from Ohio talked up a state that seemed far removed from the solar panels and high-tech devices that dominated the convention floor. Ohio, long known for its smokestack auto plants and metal-bending factories, would be an ideal place for green technology companies to set up shop, they said. "People don't traditionally think of Ohio when they think of solar," said Lisa Patt-McDaniel, director of Ohio's economic development agency.
October 13, 2009 |
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has approved two major initiatives that will require utilities to pay consumers for generating extra power and will boost the payoff for certain solar facilities. Homes, businesses and schools that have solar panels or wind turbines previously had no financial incentive to use less electricity than they generated. But AB 920, written by Assemblyman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), will encourage efficiency, supporters say. SB 32, by state Sen. Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Chino)
May 19, 2009 |
After President Nixon went to China, the United States urged that nation's leaders to forget Marx and Mao and embrace the blessings of capitalism. Unfortunately, it's been wryly said, they took our advice. Americans have by now become inured to China peeling off layers of the U.S. manufacturing base. The Asian giant, though, has never been at the starting gate of a new industry that promised exceptional growth. That's a natural place for America, we like to think. Indeed, the U.S.
March 27, 2009
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has done a lot of admirable work protecting California's wild desert lands from development, but her latest plans for the Mojave threaten to split the state's environmental community and could stall clean- energy projects whose construction should be among the nation's highest priorities.
March 25, 2009 |
While President Obama has made development of cleaner energy sources a priority, an effort is underway to close off a large swath of the Southern California desert to solar and wind energy projects. In a move that could pit usual allies -- environmentalists and the solar and wind industries -- against each other, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is preparing legislation that would permanently put hundreds of thousands of acres of desert land off limits to energy projects.