June 21, 2014

Russ George blogged about the Fraser River Sockeye Salmon Run getting almost twice the previous historic 1900 record after Iron Fertilization of the Ocean in 2012

About 20 months ago, an American businessman conducted a massive ocean fertilisation test, fertilizing around 100 tonnes of iron sulphate off Canada's coast, it has emerged the Canadian government may have known about the geoengineering scheme and not stopped it. Satellite images confirmed the claim by Californian Russ George that the iron has spawned an artificial plankton bloom as large as 10,000 square kilometres. Now it appears that the fish catch in the area was boosted by over 100,000 tons.

Pink salmon mature in two years. Salmon can add a pound a month if they are well fed in the ocean. 2013 had the largest pink salmon run in 50 years

Projections from throughout the ocean and fisheries science venues are advising that this years Fraser River Sockeye Salmon runs will be the all time historic high, twice the previous record of 1900.

As many as 72 million of the bright red fish are expected where the largest runs in all of history have never exceeded 45 million. Even if the run is in the mid-range of the estimates at 25 million fish the run will be in the top 6 in all of recorded history.

That high bar on the far right side of the chart is the 2010 run which have been named the volcano miracle salmon. In mid August 2008 the Kasatochi volcano in Alaska erupted and spewed mineral rich ash onto a part of the NE Pacific ocean salmon pasture. The vibrant ocean bloomed just in time to feed the Fraser River Sockeye which instead of mostly starving were treated to a feast. Those very same Sockeye came back to the Faser river 30-40 million strong. The babies from that gigantic run that went to sea in 2012 were never-the-less not much greater in numbers than a typical year. We made sure those baby sockeye swam into their ocean pasture that was replenished, restored, and could feed them all.

The Fraser River sockeye projection is in line with other stunning returns of salmon that coincide with the work to restore their ocean pasture which was successfully accomplished in the summer of 2012. Last falls record runs and catch of Pink Salmon from Alaska south where instead of the expected 50 million fish being caught in SE Alaska 226 million Pinks were caught clearly perfectly fits with the restoration of plankton abundance in the offshore salmon pastures we carried out in 2012.

Treehugger interviewed Russ George about the success of increasing fish

John Laumer (at Treehugger) contacted Russ George, our local iron man, about Zubrin’s story and asked for his [Russ’] comments about the his latest iron seeding project off British Columbia, which, it turns out, had truly amazing, positive impact – from a mere 120 tones of iron sulfide, very thinly applied over an area of the ocean a little larger than the surface of Lake Erie (25,657 km2) , - giving a result that Zubrin fairly termed “…a stunningly over-the-top success.”

About 20 months ago, Russ George conducted a massive ocean fertilisation test, fertilizing around 100 tonnes of iron sulphate off Canada's coast, it has emerged the Canadian government may have known about the geoengineering scheme and not stopped it. Satellite images confirmed the claim by Californian Russ George that the iron has spawned an artificial plankton bloom as large as 10,000 square kilometres. Now it appears that the fish catch in the area was boosted by over 100,000 tons.

Pink salmon mature in two years. Salmon can add a pound a month if they are well fed in the ocean. 2013 had the largest pink salmon run in 50 years

Russ George wants to focus on the fish

Let’s not make this a story all about CO2 and Carbon… it’s really about whether the ocean pastures come back to the abundance of life that they and we enjoyed 100 years ago. My hypothesis is that if we can help replenish and restore the ocean pastures we will see the results in the one thing that mankind is most connected to the ocean by, it’s FISH!

Indeed my experiment, which at a size of 30,000+ sq. km. is perhaps the largest single experiment of its kind ever conducted, has demonstrated that the fish come back in incredible abundance, quickly… All species of fish have responded but the best data comes from those fish who swim back to us instead of making us go hunt them down.
© Russ George

Carnival of Space 358

The Carnival of Space 358 is up at io9

Boeing unveiled a full scale mockup of their CST-100 commercial ‘space taxi’ on Monday, June 9, at the new home of its future manufacturing site at the Kennedy Space Center located inside a refurbished facility that most recently was used to prepare NASA’s space shuttle orbiters for missions to the International Space Station (ISS).

Boeing unveiled full scale mockup of their commercial CST-100 ‘Space Taxi’ on June 9, 2014 at its intended manufacturing facility at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The private vehicle will launch US astronauts to low Earth orbit and the ISS from US soil. Credit: Ken Kremer – kenkremer.com

Startup Can Power Trillions of Sensors in Everyday Objects with vibration energy scavenging instead of batteries

In a few short years, trillions of wireless sensors — embedded in everything from buildings to vehicles to household appliances to the bloodstream, up from 10 billion shipped annually today — will convey data of every type, over the internet, to interested parties of every kind.

Technology conceived at the University of Vermont could bring the sensor-driven IoT world closer to reality by helping overcome its Achilles' heel: how all those sensors will be powered, given the impracticality and expense of installing and changing batteries.

A tiny vibration energy scavenging device half the size of a sugar cube could replace the need for batteries.

"The market for wireless sensors is finally taking off, and their power requirements have dropped to the point where a good vibrational energy scavenger is plenty," Pister says. "And it looks like MicroGen has built a very good vibrational energy scavenger. It's an exciting time for the company."

Under the guidance of Wu, Andosca developed a novel theoretical model and optimum design parameters for the microscale harvester that allowed him to crank up its power to record levels.

BOLTTM - R MicroPower Generators are MEMS-based Vibrational Energy Harvesting Micro Power Generators (MPGs) MicroGen Systems' BOLTTM family of Micro Power Generator products based on piezoelectric energy harvesting are fabricated using MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) technology. These devices convert mechanical vibration to electrical energy (power), and the energy can be stored for later use using energy harvesting (EH) boards with advanced thin-film batteries or ultra-capacitors and power management electronics. MicroGen's micro-generators are ideal to power autonomous non-wireless electronics, wireless sensors, and rechargeable batteries for a wide range of applications.

June 20, 2014

Spacex reusable rocket video shows newly added steerable fins for hypersonic direction control

A new video from SpaceX shows the Falcon 9 Reusable (F9R) rocket during a 1,000 meter test flight at the SpaceX facility in McGregor, Texas. This was the first flight test of a set of steerable fins that provide control of the rocket during the fly-back portion of the return flight. The fins deploy approximately 1:15 into the test flight and return to their original locked position just prior to landing.

This seems like a truly smooth flight!

These types of fins are not new, but are new for human space flight. They’ve been used on missiles (especially Russian ICBMs) and bombs to aid in precision targeting, and likewise will help the F9R to land precisely on target.

Spacex Dragon lander could land on Mars with a mission under the NASA Discovery Program cost cap

One of Ames' long standing science interests has been to robotically drill deeply into Mars' subsurface environment (2 meters, or more) to investigate the habitability of that zone for past or extant life. Large, capable Mars landers would ease the problem of landing and operating deep robotic drills. In 2010, an Ames scientist realized that the crew-carrying version of the SpaceX Dragon capsule would possess all the subsystems necessary to perform a soft landing on Earth, and raised the question of whether it could also soft land on Mars. If it could, it might be a candidate platform for a Discovery or Mars Scout class deep drilling mission, for example.

After approximately 3 years studying the engineering problem we have concluded that a minimally modified Dragon capsule (which we call the "Red Dragon") could successfully perform an all-propulsive Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL). We present and discuss the analysis that supports this conclusion. At the upper limits of its capability, a Red Dragon could land approximately 2 metric tons of useful payload, or approximately twice the mass that the MSL Skycrane demonstrated with a useful volume 3 or 4 times as great. This combination of features led us to speculate that it might be possible to land enough mass and volume with a Red Dragon to enable a Mars Sample Return mission in which Mars Orbit Rendezvous is avoided, and the return vehicle comes directly back to Earth. This potentially lowers the risk and cost of a sample return mission. We conclude that such an Earth-Direct sample return architecture is feasible if the Earth Return Vehicle is constructed as a small spacecraft. Larry Lemke will present and discuss the analysis that supports this conclusion.

Superlattice material pictures

More charts and pictures of the superlattice material created by Lawrence Livermore Labs and MIT

Framework or lattice structures can be remarkably strong despite their very low density. Using a very precise technique known as projection microstereolithography, Zheng et al. fabricated octet microlattices from polymers, metals, and ceramics. The design of the lattices meant that the individual struts making up the materials did not bend under pressure. The materials were therefore exceptionally stiff, strong, and lightweight.

Nextbigfuture covered the material yesterday. This follow up has more pictures and charts.

Architecture of stretch-dominated and bend-dominated unit cells and lattices. (A) Mechanical response to compressive loading of a stretch-dominated octet-truss unit cell. (B) Octet-truss unit cells packed into a cubic microlattice. (C) SEM image of a stretch-dominated lattice material composed of a network of octet-truss unit cells. (D) Mechanical response to compressive loading of a bend-dominated tetrakaidecahedron unit cell. (E) Tetrakaidecahedron unit cell packed into a cubic bend-dominated lattice (Kelvin foam). (F) SEM image of a bend-dominated lattice composed of a network of tetrakaidecahedron unit cells. Zheng et al.

Joe Eck reports a superconductor transition at 77 celsius or 170 farenheit

Superconductors.ORG herein reports high Tc has been advanced to 77 Celsius (170F, 350K) with the discovery of the compound Tl7Sn2Ba2MnCu10O20+. This exceedingly high transition temperature (Tc) was achieved by substituting manganese into the titanium atomic sites of the 65 Celsius superconductor announced in January 2014. This substitution increases the dielectric constant (K) of the anion in the "light" region of the H212 structure by two orders of magnitude

The above graph shows how Tc increases in the H212 structure as the dielectric constant (K) increases exponentially. As dioxides, silicon has a K of only 4, while titanium is near 100 and manganese has a colossal K near 10,000. The rise in Tc occurs despite the planar-weight-ratio (PWR) declining with progressively heavier elements (see right side of graph). Normally Tc goes down as PWR goes down.

This discovery provides more support for the theory that superconductivity in the layered cuprates originates in the oxygen layers where PWR is greatest. This is because manganese only comes in contact with the oxygen atoms between the heavy and light regions.

UPDATE: Resistance tests of this material were difficult due to the brittleness of the pellet. A hardening agent had to be included in the mix that would allow leads to be bonded to the pellet without it breaking apart - and without lowering Tc. A proprietary agent was found4 and included in direct resistance tests performed 4 months after the original magnetization tests. Below are two of those resistance plots that confirm a resistive phase transition is occurring near 77 Celsius. The straight lines represent the average of the data points, skewing apart at Tc.

39 meter European Extremely Large Telescope construction process has begun with 2024 first light planned

The European Extremely Large Telescope E-ELT first light is planned for 2024, when it will begin to tackle the biggest astronomical challenges of our time. The giant telescope is expected to allow the exploration of completely unknown realms of the Universe — it will be: “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.

An elaborate levelling process has begun which will help landscape the mountain, so that it can accommodate the 39-metre telescope and its huge dome. A grand total of 220 000 cubic metres will need to be removed to make room for the 150 metre by 300 metre E-ELT platform.

More information about salmon and iron fertilization

120 tons of iron sulphate of fertilization into the ocean boosted fish catch by over 100,000 tons - We get a lot of fish and solve the CO2 climate problem

About 20 months ago, an American businessman conducted a massive ocean fertilisation test, fertilizing around 100 tonnes of iron sulphate off Canada's coast, it has emerged the Canadian government may have known about the geoengineering scheme and not stopped it. Satellite images confirmed the claim by Californian Russ George that the iron has spawned an artificial plankton bloom as large as 10,000 square kilometres. Now it appears that the fish catch in the area was boosted by over 100,000 tons.

UPDATE - Pink salmon mature in two years. Salmon can add a pound a month if they are well fed in the ocean. 2013 had the largest pink salmon run in 50 years.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) has completed compilation of preliminary values for the 2013 commercial salmon fishery. Powered by a record pink salmon harvest of 219 million fish, this year’s harvest ranks as the second most valuable on record. At $691.1 million, 2013 is only exceeded by the 1988 harvest value of $724 million. In addition to setting a record for pink salmon, the total number of salmon harvested also set a new record at 272 million fish.

The SE Alaska Pink catch in the fall of 2013 was a 170 million fish more than were expected. The Fraser river and the Canadian catches were also boosted.

The Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation, financed it with $2.5 million of their own savings, and used it to support the efforts of American scientist-entrepreneur Russ George to demonstrate the feasibility of open-sea mariculture — in this case, the distribution of 120 tons of iron sulfate into the northeast Pacific to stimulate a phytoplankton bloom which in turn would provide ample food for baby salmon.

The number of salmon caught in the northeast Pacific more than quadrupled, going from 50 million to 226 million. In the Fraser River, which only once before in history had a salmon run greater than 25 million fish (about 45 million in 2010), the number of salmon increased to 72 million.

Iron sulphate dumping returned over 100 times the value in fish in one year versus the cost of the dumping

Iron sulphate dumping returned about 1000 times the weight in increased fish versus the amount of dumped iron sulphate

Millions of tons of plastic and junk are dumped into the oceans and rivers every year. Iron Sulphate dumping could restore or even increase fish catches beyond historical levels

David Brin points out that ocean-fertilization is the inverse of irrigation. You are adding "land" to water in the form of nutrients.

10,000 years ago we learned to irrigate and make deserts bloom with crops. Add water to land, and life burgeons… but add it WRONG and you poison the land! As happened to the Fertile Crescent, which irrigators un-knowingly covered with salts, transforming paradise into desert.

What irrigation requires - we learned painfully across millennia - is drainage to ensure that the water you are adding will ALSO wash salts away. That's the difference between the Euphrates Valley, which was choked by poor drainage, and the Ganges and Nile which are still fertile after 5000 years of irrigation.

Fertilize into very strong currents that are rich in Oxygen? That is exactly how upwellings along the Chilean coast or the Grand Banks engender the world's greatest fisheries. Fertilizing other strong currents would be like well-drained irrigation. It could work, if carefully watched.

At least, that is a reasonable interpretation of all that we can see. Why not do the validation experiments scientifically and openly, instead of leaving this to fly-by-nighters?

June 19, 2014

Researchers have demonstrated an almost four-fold boost of the carrier multiplication yield with nanoengineered quantum dots

Los Alamos researchers have demonstrated an almost four-fold boost of the carrier multiplication yield with nanoengineered quantum dots. Carrier multiplication is when a single photon can excite multiple electrons. Quantum dots are novel nanostructures that can become the basis of the next generation of solar cells, capable of squeezing additional electricity out of the extra energy of blue and ultraviolet photons.

“Typical solar cells absorb a wide portion of the solar spectrum, but because of the rapid cooling of energetic (or ‘hot’) charge carriers, the extra energy of blue and ultraviolet solar photons is wasted in producing heat,” said Victor Klimov, director of the Center for Advanced Solar Photophysics (CASP) at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Getting two for the price of one

“In principle, this lost energy can be recovered by converting it into additional photocurrent via carrier multiplication. In that case, collision of a hot carrier with a valence-band electron excites it across the energy gap,” Klimov said. “In this way, absorption of a single photon from the high-energy end of the solar spectrum produces not just one but two electron-hole pairs, which in terms of power output means getting two for the price of one.”

Carrier multiplication is inefficient in the bulk solids used in ordinary solar cells but is appreciably enhanced in ultrasmall semiconductor particles – also called quantum dots -- as was first demonstrated by LANL researchers in 2004 (Schaller & Klimov, Phys. Rev. Lett. 92, 186601, 2004). In conventional quantum dots, however, carrier multiplication is not efficient enough to boost the power output of practical devices.

Nature Communications - Enhanced carrier multiplication in engineered quasi-type-II quantum dots

Supermaterial with the weight and density of aerogel but 10,000 times the stiffness and enabling super solar sails in the 2030-2040 timeframe

Engineers at MIT and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have devised a way to translate that airy, yet remarkably strong, structure down to the microscale — designing a system that could be fabricated from a variety of materials, such as metals or polymers, and that may set new records for stiffness for a given weight.

The design is based on the use of microlattices with nanoscale features, combining great stiffness and strength with ultralow density, the authors say. The actual production of such materials is made possible by a high-precision 3-D printing process called projection microstereolithography, as a result of the joint research collaboration between the Fang and Spadaccini groups since 2008.

“We found that for a material as light and sparse as aerogel [a kind of glass foam], we see a mechanical stiffness that’s comparable to that of solid rubber, and 400 times stronger than a counterpart of similar density. Such samples can easily withstand a load of more than 160,000 times their own weight,” says Fang, the Brit and Alex d’Arbeloff Career Development Associate Professor in Engineering Design. So far, the researchers at MIT and LLNL have tested the process using three engineering materials — metal, ceramic, and polymer — and all showed the same properties of being stiff at light weight.

The material has the same weight and density as aerogel -- a material so light it's called 'frozen smoke' -- but with 10,000 times more stiffness. This material could have a profound impact on the aerospace and automotive industries as well as other applications where lightweight, high-stiffness and high-strength materials are needed.

They used polymer as a template to fabricate the microlattices, which were then coated with a thin-film of metal ranging from 200 to 500 nanometers thick. The polymer core was then thermally removed, leaving a hollow-tube metal strut, resulting in ultralight weight metal lattice materials.

"We have fabricated an extreme, lightweight material by making these thin-film hollow tubes," said Spadaccini, who also leads LLNL's Center for Engineered Materials, Manufacturing and Optimization. "But it was all enabled by the original polymer template structure."

The team repeated the process with polymer mircolattices, but instead of coating it with metal, ceramic was used to produce a thin-film coating about 50 nanometers thick. The density of this ceramic micro-architected material is similar to aerogel.

The LLNL-MIT teams' new materials are 100 times stiffer than other ultra-lightweight lattice materials previously reported in academic journals.

Science - Ultralight, ultrastiff mechanical metamaterials

Another layer of oil under the Bakken in the USA and Canada is proving to be profitable and productive

Oil producers are now “cracking the code” on the Torquay, or Three Forks formation below the Bakken, and coming up with incredible economics—these wells are paying back in only seven months.

This news has completely re-invigorated the Canadian side of the Bakken. And on the US side, the Three Forks is causing industry to leap-frog estimates of the amount of recoverable oil available–by about 57%.

The Torquay/Three Forks ranges from 1.5 to 7 time as thick as the Bakken.

On April 14 Crescent Point Energy (CPG-TSX) announced a Torquay discovery in its core Flat Lake area in southeast Saskatchewan, right along the US border. In just 12 months, the company grew production from 0 to over 5,000 boe/d by drilling 36 wells. These are low-decline, high-rate-of-return wells that payout in less than 7 months.

CPG says each well costs $3.5 million all-in on a 1–mile horizontal. These well economics are fantastic:

1. More than $73/boe in operating netbacks (netback=profit per barrel)
2. A recycle ratio greater than 6–that’s profit divided by costs. That’s 6 times your money. 2 is good; 6 is great.
3 Generates an IRR over 300%. I like to invest in anything over 70% IRR.

The Bakken formation is actually three layers of rock—Upper, Middle and Lower–and is situated above theTorquay/Three Forks. The underlying Torquay actually has four layers of tight rock identified as TF1 (upper layer), TF2, TF3 and TF4 (deepest layer).

Last year, the US Geological Service (USGC) updated its assessment to include the upper part of the Torquay, about 50 feet in thickness. For the two formations, the US Geological Service USGS estimates mean recoverable oil resources of 7.38 billion barrels. Estimates for the Torquay account for 3.7 billion bbl.

In its own assessment, Continental believes that including the deeper parts of the Three Forks increases the total amount of oil originally in place (OOIP) from 577 billion barrels of oil to 903 billion, and the amount that is technically recoverable from 20 billion barrels to as much as 32 billion, 36 billion or even 45 billion.

China seriously looking at supercritical water cooled reactors - they could be low cost enough to get China to stop building new coal starting in 2025

China has completed the basic technology research and published a development roadmap for a Generation IV demonstration supercritical-water-cooled reactor that could be commissioned in 2022.

This reactor could achieve costs that are up to half the cost of current reactors and have higher efficiency.
They could be low cost enough to displace all future coal plant construction in China starting in 2025-2030.
$900 per kilowatt is over three times cheaper than the estimated overnight cost of advanced nuclear reactors ($3100 per kilowatt) estimated by the US department of energy

In China, water-cooled reactors are and will be the main reactor concept for the generation of nuclear power. China’s experience and the technology developed in the design, manufacture, construction, and operation of nuclear power plants are mainly concentrated on water-cooled reactors. Thus, the development of SCWRs is a smooth extension of the existing nuclear power generation park in China. From a technological point of view, an SCWR is a combination of the water-cooled reactor technology and the supercritical fossil-fired power generation technology. Hence, SCWRs ensure the technological availability.

The Nuclear Power Institute of China said the SCR-1000 reactor block will have a capacity of about 1,000 megawatts.

The institute will work on the demonstration unit as part of the Generation IV International Forum (GIF), which sees 13 countries and regions collaborate in the development of Generation IV nuclear energy systems.

The institute said it had identified four stages of development, continuing until 2025. Further technology development will begin this year, followed by engineering research and development from 2017-2021, construction from 2019 -2023, and commissioning between 2022 and 2025.

SCWR core is operated above the critical pressure of water (22.1MPa), where reactor coolant experiences no phase change and the coolant temperature can exceed the pseudo-critical temperature, which corresponds to the boiling temperature at subcritical pressure.

The potential technical advantages of the SCWR over current water-cooled reactors are derived from the above-mentioned features as follows:

• High thermal efficiency

High temperature and high pressure of turbine inlet steam lead to high thermal efficiency. Inlet pressures of current light water reactors (LWRs) and pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs) are usually at around 7MPa and their temperatures are at or near the saturation temperature. Turbine inlet steam pressure and temperature of SCWR are much higher. The thermal efficiency of SCWRs is expected to be 1.2 to 1.4 times higher than that of current water cooled reactors.

• Simplification of plant system and low capacity components

Without phase change in the core, the SCWR plant system can be simplified by eliminating recirculation system and steam-water separation system in BWR, or steam generators and a pressurizer in PWR. The reactor coolant flow rate of SCWR is much smaller than that of BWR and PWR because the enthalpy rise in the core is much larger, which results in low capacity components of the primary system.

Furthermore, the SCWR incorporates advances from supercritical fossil power plant technologies that have been operating successfully for more than 40 years. The main fossil power plant technology that will be used in the SCWR is supercritical turbines that can be incorporated in a direct thermodynamic cycle to increase thermal efficiency

. The R&D task for developing the balance of power (BOP) of the SCWR would be very limited or almost none. In addition, using a direct cycle at supercritical conditions simplifies the plant system and eliminates certain components, which results in significant reduction in capital cost.

These technical advantages would lead to considerable reduction of the capital cost. The construction cost of SCWR plants has been targeted at $900/kW in the GIF Roadmap

New manufacturing techniques must be developed before soft machines become commercial

Researchers have developed a technique that might be used to produce "soft machines" made of elastic materials and liquid metals for potential applications in robotics, medical devices and consumer electronics.

Such an elastic technology could make possible robots that have sensory skin and stretchable garments that people might wear to interact with computers or for therapeutic purposes.

However, new manufacturing techniques must be developed before soft machines become commercially practical, said Rebecca Kramer, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University.

She and her students are working to develop the fabrication technique, which uses a custom-built 3D printer. Recent findings show how to use the technique to create devices called strain gauges, which are commonly found in many commercial applications to measure how much something is stretching.

Purdue researchers have developed a technique to embed a liquid-alloy pattern inside a rubber-like polymer to form a network of sensors. The approach might be used to produce "soft machines" made of elastic materials and liquid metals for potential applications in robotics, medical devices and consumer electronics. (Rebecca Kramer/Purdue University)

Graphene-quantum-dot nonvolatile charge-trap flash memories

Scientists have used graphene quantum dots instead of nanocrystals as the discrete charge trap material. Graphene quantum dots in particular are very new materials. As bits of graphene extracted from bulk carbon, graphene quantum dots can be engineered with specific electronic and optical properties for different purposes.

Here, the researchers prepared graphene quantum dots of three different sizes (6, 12, and 27 nm diameters) between silicon dioxide layers. The researchers found that the memory properties of the dots differ depending on their sizes. For instance, while the 12-nm dots exhibit the highest program speed, the 27-nm dots exhibit the highest erase speed, as well as the highest stability.

(a) Schematic diagram and (b) image of a graphene quantum dot flash memory. Charge storage in discrete charge traps, such as graphene quantum dots, offers the potential for high-density data storage. Credit: Joo, et al. ©2014 IOP Publishing

Nonvolatile flash-memory capacitors containing graphene quantum dots (GQDs) of 6, 12, and 27 nm average sizes (d) between SiO2 layers for use as charge traps have been prepared by sequential processes: ion-beam sputtering deposition (IBSD) of 10 nm SiO2 on a p-type wafer, spin-coating of GQDs on the SiO2 layer, and IBSD of 20 nm SiO2 on the GQD layer. The presence of almost a single array of GQDs at a distance of ~13 nm from the SiO2/Si wafer interface is confirmed by transmission electron microscopy and photoluminescence. The memory window estimated by capacitance–voltage curves is proportional to d for sweep voltages wider than ± 3 V, and for d = 27 nm the GQD memories show a maximum memory window of 8 V at a sweep voltage of ± 10 V. The program and erase speeds are largest at d = 12 and 27 nm, respectively, and the endurance and data-retention properties are the best at d = 27 nm. These memory behaviors can be attributed to combined effects of edge state and quantum confinement.

Wireless glucose monitoring via and iphone app that is automatically updated every 5 minutes

A bionic pancreas has been developed and it offers hope of a normal life to people with type 1 diabetes.

The device takes over the task of monitoring and regulating sugar levels in the blood. Every 5 minutes, a signal is sent wirelessly from a glucose monitor under the user's skin to an iPhone app, giving their blood-sugar status. The app calculates the amount of insulin or glucagon needed to balance blood sugar, sending a signal to pumps carried by the user to administer the required dose via a catheter. Before eating, people can input data about the type and size of their meal.

The artificial pancreas performed well in hospital-based clinical trials in 2010. But the important test is whether it works in a real-world environment. In the latest study, 20 adults wearing the device were put up in a hotel for five days but were otherwise free to do as they chose, including eat in restaurants and go to the gym. Thirty-two young people, aged 12 to 20, were also monitored for five days at a summer camp for kids with diabetes. For both groups, the results with the bionic pancreas were compared with five days of the participants using their usual method of controlling the disease – pricking their finger to monitor glucose levels and using an insulin pump, that requires them to manually calculate the dosage.

"The device performed beyond our expectations, it did a wonderful job of controlling their blood sugar," says Damiano. Both the highs and lows of sugar levels were better controlled than what the participants were able to do managing their own diabetes prior to the trial, he says.

That is important because as many studies have shown, the better you control your glucose, the closer it is to normal range, the longer you can stave off the long-term health complications of diabetes, says Damiano.

Panel A shows the superimposition of tracings of mean glucose levels on continuous monitoring at all 5-minute steps during the 5-day period in all 20 patients in the adult study during the period when they were wearing the bionic pancreas (black) and during the control period (red). Each tracing is surrounded by an envelope (of corresponding color) that spans 1 SD in either direction around the mean glucose level at each 5-minute step. The mean glucose level during the bionic-pancreas period was 137 mg per deciliter, as compared with 158 mg per deciliter during the control period. Panel B shows tracings for the 32 patients in the adolescent study. The mean glucose level during the bionic-pancreas period was 147 mg per deciliter, as compared with 158 mg per deciliter during the control period. The shaded areas at the bottom of the two panels show clinically significant levels of glucose, including less than 50 mg per deciliter, indicating hypoglycemia (pink); 70 to 120 mg per deciliter, indicating good control (green); and 121 to 180 mg per deciliter, indicating mild hyperglycemia (blue between white lines). To convert the values for glucose to millimoles per liter, multiply by 0.05551.

New England Journal of Medicine - Outpatient Glycemic Control with a Bionic Pancreas in Type 1 Diabetes

Quantum Synchronize a global network of atomic clocks would be 100 times more precise

A quantum network of atomic clocks could create even more accurate and stable time-keeping devices than present atomic clocks, reports a paper published online this week in Nature Physics. Such a network could have technological applications as well as provide a resource for Earth science studies and fundamental tests of relativity and quantum gravity.

A network of atomic clocks sharing quantum entanglement would achieve a time-keeping stability better than that of any individual clock. Distributed around the Earth and on satellites, the clock network could maintain and synchronize time standards across multiple parties in real-time — a true world clock. Furthermore, by its very nature, this quantum network of atomic clocks would be protected against quantum-cryptographic attacks.

This global hook-up would enable countries to synchronize timekeeping standards and improve space navigation. It could also aid the exploration of fundamental physics concepts, such as the long-sought gravitational waves thought to be rippling through space and time.

By exploiting the tricks of quantum physics, researchers say they could build a worldwide network of atomic clocks that are much more accurate than any single clock in existence today.

The concept of world-wide quantum clock network: Illustration of a cooperative clock operation protocol in which individual parties (for example, satellite-based atomic clocks from different countries) jointly allocate their respective resources in a global network involving entangled quantum states. This guarantees an optimal use of the global resources, achieving an ultra-precise clock signal limited only by the fundamental bounds of quantum metrology and, in addition, guaranteeing secure distribution of the clock signal. b. [Figure reprinted by permission from Macmillan Publishers Ltd: P. Kómár, E. M. Kessler, M. Bishof, L. Jiang, A. S. Sørensen, J. Ye & M. D. Lukin, "A quantum network of clocks," Nature Physics 10 (2014) doi:10.1038/nphys3000 ©2014.]

Nature Physics - A quantum network of clocks

The idea combines two popular research trends. The first is atomic clocks, which are becoming more precise as scientists improve ways of measuring superfast fluctuations in the energy states of charged particles or atoms. The second is quantum entanglement, in which pairs of particles become linked in such a way that measuring a property of one of them instantaneously determines the same property for the other. Lukin’s group wants to take a number of atomic clocks and entangle atoms from one clock to the next.

Imagine a set of ten satellites orbiting Earth, each carrying its own atomic clock, says Kessler. One satellite, as the network's centre, would start by preparing its clock particles in an entangled state. It would then communicate with a neighbouring satellite to extend the entanglement there. The linking would eventually spread through the whole fleet, joining the satellites in one quantum network.

June 18, 2014

China’s President Xi Jinping said that China's development of nuclear energy should be accelerated

At the end of 2013, China’s 17 operational nuclear power plants were generating about 2 percent of the country’s total energy, according to Xinhua. But Ye Qizhen, an expert in nuclear energy at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, told the newswire that China should aim to get 10 percent of total energy from nuclear power.

China’s President Xi Jinping told a government meeting that development of nuclear energy should be accelerated. “By adopting top international standards and ensuring safety, China should lose no time in constructing nuclear power projects in eastern coastal regions,” Xi said, as state-run Xinhua newswire reported.

China's total electicpower in 2020 should be about 8000 TWh. 10% power would be about 800 TWh which would equal the current US production of nuclear energy. This would be about 100 GW of nuclear reactor nameplate capacity.

China total power in 2030 should be about 12000-24000 TWh (lower if China's GDP growth slows to about 3% per year in the 2020s and higher would be 5.5% GDP growth per year. 10% nuclear power would then be 1200-2400 TWh. This would be about 150-300 GW of nuclear reactor nameplate capacity.

If China went to 20% nuclear power (which is the amount of nuclear power that the US had in its energy mix) then in 2030 China would have 300-600 GW of nuclear reactor nameplate capacity.

Peak Resource and Anti-Nuclear Doomers Really Hate Uranium from Seawater Technology and Molten Salt Nuclear Reactors

Ugo Bardi and Michael Dittmar contributed to a new Club of Rome report which forecasts economic doom because of lack of future resources. Nextbigfuture has shown Ugo Bardi analysis to be flawed and bets on Uranium annual production and Nuclear power generation have been won by Nextbigfuture for 6 out of 9 bets versus Dittmar.

UGO calculations are off by many thousands of times and Dittmar has been wrong on his uranium predictions for years

The report forecasts an "unavoidable" production decline from existing uranium mines. This is the same type of claim that Dittmar has been making for years and being proven wrong in our bets. I have won every one of the uranium production bets..

Ugo Bardi first calculation is for "evaporating the ocean", which no one is proposing and he unsurprisingly finds that has very poor energy return.

Ugo claims we need to process at least 2 × 10^13 tons of water per year to produce enough uranium for the current park of nuclear reactors in the world. To process this amount of water, we must rely on oceanic currents to move water through the membranes. In marine science, current strength is sometimes measured in “Sverdrups”, a unit that corresponds to one million tons of water per second, or 3 × 10^13 tons of water per year. Ugo looks at the Strait of Gibraltar which carries a current of about 1 Sverdrup.

Japan has proposed various scaling up plans for uranium from seawater They look at the Black Current (42 Sverdrup, 42 times stronger than the current Ugo looked at) in the ocean off of Japan and how much materials it is moving. They would put uranium extraction materials in its path and collect uranium and other resources as they are moved past the materials that would trap the resources.

The Black Current off Japan carries approximately 5.2 million tons of Uranium each year. This amount is equivalent to the currently estimated land based uranium reserves. The World uses about 70,000 tons of uranium per year. If 1.4 percent of what flows along Japan can be recovered, the world demand for uranium can be supplied even with existing inefficient reactors.

The material sits in the ocean like fishnet for 1-3 months and then it is pulled up and acid washed to remove the uranium. A large platform like an oil drilling platform can be used to process the uranium absorping nets out in the ocean.

Kuroshio which has 42 Sverdrups.

The Agulhas Current is the Western Boundary Current of the southwest Indian Ocean. It flows down the east coast of Africa from 27°S to 40°S. It is narrow, swift and strong. It is even suggested that the Agulhas is the largest western boundary current in the world ocean, as comparable western boundary currents transport less, ranging from the Brazil Current, 16.2 Sverdrups), to the Kuroshio, 42 Sverdrups

The sources of the Agulhas Current are the East Madagascar Current (25 Sverdrups), the Mozambique Current (5 Sverdrups) and a reticulated part of the Agulhas Current itself (35 Sverdrups). The net transport of the Agulhas Current is estimated as 100 Sv.

* Ugo considers a process where membranes for uranium extraction are carried at sea, submerged for a while, raised, brought back to land for processing, and then the cycle is repeated.

* Ugo assumes recovering one kilogram of uranium, therefore, would require processing at least 3 tons of membranes per year. However the technology has been field tested at 3.3 kilograms of uranium per one ton of material so ten times better than Ugo estimates. There is also newer material which could achieve 12- 200 kilograms of uranium per ton of absorbent material.

* Ugo calculates using the ratio of 5 kWh/kg for energy expenditure in fishing, and assuming the yield and the conditions reported by Seko , we can calculate a total energy expenditure of about 1000 TWh/year for processing the membranes to give sufficient amounts to fuel the present needs of the nuclear industry. This is close to the total energy that could be produced by the extracted uranium, ca. 2600 TWh/year. An energy gain (EROEI) of 2.6 is larger than unity, but it is too low for the process to be of practical interest.

In 2000, the world’s fishing fleets were responsible for about 1.2% of total global fuel consumption, corresponding to 0.67 liters of fuel per Kg of live fish and shellfish landed. In 2008, the EU fleet consumed 3.7 billion liters of fuel, representing 25% of the value of landings.

An SEU fueled CANDU can produce 11.7MWd (megawatt-days) using 1 kg of natural uranium. (Enrich to 1.2% with 0.1% tails enrichment in a centrifuge/SILEX plant).
11.7MWd is equivalent to 280MWh which is the thermal energy of 24 tonnes of oil - that is 177 barrels of oil.

Even if we are pessimistic and say that oil is equal to electricity rather than steam heating (admittedly relatively low temperature steam produced by reactors) that is still 62 barrels of oil in electricity.

62 barrels (7390 liters) of oil is a lot more energy than 0.67 liters of oil with plenty left over for acid washing and processing the polymer or other absorbent material.

Molten Salt reactors can use nuclear fuel 30-60 times more efficiently than current reactors.

Elon Musk Says Spacex plans on getting the first people to Mars by 2024 to 2026

Elon Musk said Spacex will just keep going, but SpaceX's progression would be slowed down if the U.S. government doesn't choose the company's Dragon V2 as the next crew carrier to the International Space Station.

Spacex remains focused on creating technology that with enable large groups of people to travel to Mars.

"I'm hopeful that the first people could be taken to Mars in 10 to 12 years, I think it's certainly possible for that to occur," he said. "But the thing that matters long term is to have a self-sustaining city on Mars, to make life multiplanetary."

He acknowledged that the company's plans were too long-term to attract many hedge fund managers, which makes it hard for SpaceX to go public anytime soon.

Carbon nanotubes terahertz detector

Researchers at Rice University, Sandia National Laboratories and the Tokyo Institute of Technology have developed novel terahertz detectors based on carbon nanotubes that could improve medical imaging, airport passenger screening, food inspection and other applications.

Unlike current terahertz detectors, the devices are flexible, sensitive to polarization and broad bandwidth and feature large detection areas. They operate at room temperature without requiring any power.

The project led by Rice physicist Junichiro Kono and Sandia scientist François Léonard takes advantage of the terahertz range of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Because terahertz waves are much smaller in energy than visible light, finding materials that absorb and turn them into useful electronic signals has been a challenge, Kono said. Now, thin films of highly aligned carbon nanotubes developed at Rice have been configured to act as compact, flexible terahertz sensors.

Nanoletters - Carbon Nanotube Terahertz Detector

Nanoscale composites improve MRI by ten times

Submicroscopic particles that contain even smaller particles of iron oxide could make magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) a far more powerful tool to detect and fight disease.

Scientists at Rice University and Methodist Hospital Research Institute (MHRI) led an international team of researchers in creating composite particles that can be injected into patients and guided by magnetic fields. Once in position, the particles may be heated to kill malignant tissues or trigger the release of drugs at the site.

The “nanoconstructs” should fully degrade and leave the body within a few days, they reported.

They packaged thousands of iron oxide particles – with magnetic cores as small as 5 nanometers across – inside larger particles.

The researchers made two such nanoconstructs, embedding iron oxide particles in silicon mesoporous particles (SiMPs) and discoidal polymeric nanoconstructs (DPNs). They knew from previous research that submicron-sized SiMPs and DPNs naturally accumulate within the tumor’s blood vessels.

Iron oxide enhances the ability to position and hold the particles in place with magnets, said lead author and Rice graduate student Ayrat Gizzatov. “They get attracted by the magnet, and that induces another dipole-dipole magnetic interaction among the particles and increases their interparticle communication mechanism,” he said.

Tests showed iron oxide particles made the nanoconstructs 10 times better than traditional contrast agents with what amounted to significantly lower doses of iron than used in current practice.

Advanced Functional Materials - Hierarchically Structured Magnetic Nanoconstructs with Enhanced Relaxivity and Cooperative Tumor Accumulation

Carbon nanotubes reinforce graphene in an easier to handle hybrid material

Carbon nanotubes are reinforcing bars that make two-dimensional graphene much easier to handle in a new hybrid material grown by researchers at Rice University.

The Rice lab of chemist James Tour set nanotubes into graphene in a way that not only mimics how steel rebar is used in concrete but also preserves and even improves the electrical and mechanical qualities of both.

The technique should make large, flexible, conductive and transparent sheets of graphene much easier to manipulate, which should be of interest to electronics manufacturers, Tour said. He suggested the new hybrid could, upon stacking in a few layers, be a cost-effective replacement for expensive indium tin oxide (ITO) now used in displays and solar cells.

ACS Nano - Rebar Graphene

Efficient approach to manufacture 3D high density metal parts

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers have developed a new and more efficient approach to a challenging problem in additive manufacturing -- using selective laser melting, namely, the selection of appropriate process parameters that result in parts with desired properties.

Selective laser melting (SLM) is a powder-based, additive manufacturing process where a 3D part is produced, layer by layer, using a high-energy laser beam to fuse the metal powder particles. Some SLM applications require parts that are very dense, with less than 1 percent porosity, as the pores or voids are the weakest part of the material and most likely would result in failure.

But building functional parts and components to specific standards and performance specifications can be challenging because a large number of parameters must be set appropriately. Some of the key parameters include laser power, laser speed, distance between laser scan lines, scanning strategy and powder layer thickness. As a result, there is a need for a reliable and cost-effective approach to determine the right parameters to develop parts with such desired properties as high density.

LLNL researchers have developed an efficient approach, based on simple simulations and experiments, to identify optimal parameters to print 3D high-density metal parts.

Direct metal laser melting (DMLM) machine in action: A laser fuses metal powder to form one of many successive layers that will form the final manufactured part.

The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology - Density of additively-manufactured, 316L SS parts using laser powder-bed fusion at powers up to 400 Watts

June 17, 2014

Gigafactory would produce ten times all of the car batteries in 2013 and double the advanced battery shipments

The automotive segment accounted for about 10.5% (4,972.2 MWh) of global advanced battery shipments of about 47,400 MWh.

Tesla plans to build a battery “gigafactory” that by 2020 will have the capacity to produce just over 10 times the amount of batteries used in all electric vehicles in 2013.

Tesla wants to be in production by 2017 — three years from now — and at max capacity as soon as 2020. The “giga” in the name apparently comes from the 2020 plant capacity: 35 gigawatt-hours (GWh) per year in cells, 50 GWh/year in packs, suggesting Tesla would bring in batteries from outside.

The Gigafactory will facility have 10 million square feet.

That’s equal to 80 Home Depots, 50 aircraft carrier flight decks, or two Pentagons or the area of the . It would be set on 500-1,000 acres (0.8-2.3 square miles).

This would be in the top ten for building floorspace.

The existing NUMI Tesla car factory canproduce the 500,000 electric cars that would match the Gigafactories battery production

Navy will test combat lasers on humvees this year and will field test 30 kilowatt lasers in 2016 and DARPAs Cargo Drones able to lift cars is on track as well

As the Navy prepares to deploy its first laser weapon on a ship later this summer, Office of Naval Research (ONR) officials announced June 11 that they have finished awarding contracts to develop a similar weapon to be used on ground vehicles.

The Ground-Based Air Defense Directed Energy On-the-Move program, commonly referred to as GBAD, aims to provide an affordable alternative to traditional firepower to keep enemy unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from tracking and targeting Marines on the ground.

ONR is working with Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division and industry partners on the development of GBAD’s components and subsystems, including the laser itself, beam director, batteries, radar, advanced cooling, and communications and command and control.

“We’re confident we can bring together all of these pieces in a package that’s small enough to be carried on light tactical vehicles and powerful enough to counter these threats,” said Brig. Gen. Kevin Killea, vice chief of naval research and commanding general, the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory.

Some of the system’s components already have been used in tests to detect and track UAVs of all sizes. Later in the year, researchers will test the entire system against targets using a 10kW laser as a stepping stone to a 30kW laser.

The 30kW system is expected to be ready for field testing in 2016, when the program will begin more complex trials to ensure a seamless process from detection and tracking to firing, all from mobile tactical vehicles.

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 213

The Carnival of Nuclear Energy 213 is up at the ANS Nuclear Cafe

Atomic Insights - Misinformation about radiation health effects does not just affect the nuclear industry and dramatically increase the costs associated with all nuclear energy technologies. It is also having a deleterious effect on the beneficial use of radiation and radioactive materials in medical diagnosis and treatment.

Throughout their training programs, medical doctors have been taught to do everything they can to minimize radiation exposure. This message has become so intense in recent decades that many medical professionals shy away from ordering tests that would help them do their jobs better and provide better patient outcomes.

Dr. Sakamoto’s data that shows that peak immune system stimulation at 150 mGy (15 rad) and the LD HBI protocol of repeated stimulatory doses of 150 mGy, twice a week for 5 weeks. I carefully explained the important difference between an acute dose and a continuous dose-rate.

Medical Doctors believed that each CT (acute) exposure adds to cancer risk. Actually the patient recovers from each CT exposure, due to the action of the very powerful adaptive protection systems.

Balloons, Drones and Submarines for exploring Saturn's Moon Titan and other outer moons and planets

Quadcopter or other rotorcraft Drones and Balloons for Exploring Titan

Saturn’s giant moon Titan has become one of the most fascinating bodies in the Solar System. Titan is the richest laboratory in the solar system for studying prebiotic chemistry, which makes studying its chemistry from the surface and in the atmosphere one of the most important objectives in planetary science. The diversity of surface features on Titan related to organic solids and liquids makes long-range mobility with surface access important. This has not been possible, because mission concepts to date have had either no mobility (landers), no surface access (balloons and airplanes), or low maturity, high risk, and/or high development costs for this environment (e,g. large, self-sufficient, long-duration helicopters). We propose a mission study of a small (less than 10 kg) rotorcraft that can deploy from a balloon or lander to acquire close-up, high resolution imagery and mapping data of the surface, land at multiple locations to acquire microscopic imagery and samples of solid and liquid material, return the samples to the mothership for analysis, and recharge from an RTG on the mothership to enable multiple sorties. Prior studies have shown the feasibility of aerial mobility on Titan for larger aircraft, from 10 to 400 kg, but none of these studies were in the size range we address and none addressed the daughtercraft, sampling, and recharging scenarios we address. This concept is enabled now by recent advances in autonomous navigation and miniaturization of sensors, processors, and sampling devices. It revolutionizes previous mission concepts in several ways. For a lander mission, it enables detailed studies of a large area around the lander, providing context for the micro-images and samples; with precision landing near a lake, it potentially enables sampling solid and liquid material from one lander. For a balloon mission, it enables surface investigation and sampling with global reach without requiring a separate lander or that the balloon be brought to the surface, which has potential for major cost savings and risk reduction.

Both scenarios can involve repeated sorties due to the recharge capability.

Our phase 1 study activities will

(1) develop mission concepts of operations for deployment from a lander or balloon to acquire context imaging and mapping data, to sample from solid surfaces and/or lakes, and to return to the mothership to deposit samples and/or recharge;

(2) develop a parametric sizing model of the daughtercraft to characterize propulsion, power, range, endurance, and payload capability for total daughtercraft mass ranging from approximately 1 to 10 kg;

(3) develop a conceptual design and identify representative components for the entire daughtercraft hardware and software system for autonomous mobility, including estimates of approximate mass, power, and energy budgets and producing a representative CAD model; and

(4) develop a conceptual design and preliminary CAD model for a science payload on the daughtercraft, including specifying a nominal instrument suite on the balloon or lander, designing a compatible sampling mechanism to acquire solid and/or liquid samples on the daughtercraft, and studying mechanisms and daughtercraft behaviors necessary to transfer the samples to the instruments.

LPP Fusion Crowdfunding at $125K of $200K target

Scientists at LPP Fusion, led by Chief Scientist Eric Lerner, are just one step away from technically proving out dense plasma focus fusion and you a few thousand other people can help for the final push. They are already 63% of the way to the $200,000 they needed for a few key experiments with 19 days to go in the crowdfunding effort.

Success would be better than doubling NASA's budget and 100,000 times cheaper than one year of double NASA budget

Lawrenceville Plasma Physics has thanked Nextbigfuture.com and the Nextbigfuture community.

The Nextbigfuture community have been early contributors to this key energy project and we have helped to get the word out on social media.

A few thousand people can change the course of the future

If this project is successfully fully funded and then leads to a successful experiment, then Nextbigfuture and the Nextbigfuture community will have been a significant part of creating a better future for space technology and energy.

LPP needs about 4000 more people to donate on average about $25 each or fewer people with larger average donations.

The Battle of Thermopylae was fought between an alliance of Greek city-states, led by King Leonidas of Sparta, and the Persian Empire of Xerxes I over the course of three days, during the second Persian invasion of Greece. It changed the course of history. It is remembered for the 300 Spartans at the battle. However, it was a Greek force of 7000 men at the start. Later the bulk of the Greek army was dismissed and 300 Spartans, 700 Thespians, 400 Thebans and perhaps a few hundred others, most of whom were killed fought to the end. They died making history but you can help make the future for a few dollars.

Relatively Painless Money Saving Ideas to free up money to possibly change the world

You can rent two movies from Redbox instead of going to the theater and donate the savings.

Switch out of cable or satellite television and use Netflix and a HDTV antenna.

Use voice over internet phone services like OOMA or only use a mobile phone and no landline.

June 15, 2014

NASA Test Bed for Growing Earth Life on Mars to be developed

A Mars Ecopoiesis Test Bed concept is proposed for development in a three-phase program concluding with a device for studying the survival of terrestrial life forms on the surface of Mars prior to abiological planetary engineering. Ecopoiesis is the concept of initiating life in a new place; more precisely, the creation of an ecosystem capable of supporting life. It is the concept of initiating “terraforming” using physical, chemical and biological means including the introduction of ecosystem-building pioneer organisms. The proposed concept will be subjected to extensive laboratory testing directed toward the ultimate emplacement of a test bed on (in) the surface of Mars to test (demonstrate) the activity of pioneer organisms selected on the basis of research on earth. To achieve this a device is proposed to penetrate and surround a sample of Martian regolith at a carefully selected site likely to experience transients of liquid water , completely seal itself to avoid planetary contamination, release carefully selected earth organisms (extremophiles like certain cyanobacteria), sense the presence or absence of a metabolic product (like O2), and report to a Mars-orbiting relay satellite. This will be the first major leap from laboratory studies into the implementation of experimental (as opposed to analytical) planetary in-situ research of greatest interest to planetary biology, ecopoiesis and terraforming.

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