China made an artificial star that’s 6 times hotter than the sun and it could be the future of energy

  • Nuclear fusion could be the future of energy, replacing fossil fuels with our own artificial stars. 
  • China built a fusion reactor that reaches temperatures of 100 million degrees Celsius — that’s six times hotter than the sun.
  • The reactor is called Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) and sustained nuclear fusion for about 10 seconds before shutting down.
  • While it was a milestone for EAST, we’re still a long way from generating sustainable energy on Earth.

Imagine if we could replace fossil fuels with our very own stars. And no, we’re not talking about solar power. We’re talking nuclear fusion. And recent research is helping us get there. Meet the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak, EAST for short.

EAST is a fusion reactor based in Hefei, China. And it can now reach temperatures over six times hotter than the sun. Let’s take a look at what’s happening inside. Fusion occurs when two lightweight atoms combine into a single, larger one, releasing energy in the process. It sounds simple enough, but it’s not easy to pull off. Because those two atoms share a positive charge. And just like two opposing magnets, those positive atoms repel each other.

Stars, like our sun, have a great way of overcoming this repulsion. Their massive size. Which creates a tremendous amount of pressure in their cores.So the atoms are forced closer together making them more likely to collide. There’s just one problem: We don’t have the technology to recreate that kind of pressure on Earth.

But luckily, there’s another way. You can also generate fusion with extreme temperatures. And that’s exactly what devices like EAST do. The higher the temperature, the faster the atoms move around and the more likely they are to collide.

But it quickly becomes a balancing act. If the temperature is too hot, the atoms move too fast and zip passed each other.  If it’s too cold, the atoms won’t move fast enough. So, the ideal temperature to generate fusion is around 100 million degrees Celsius. That’s more than 6 times hotter than our sun’s core.

Only a few fusion experiments in the world have surpassed this milestone. And the latest one was EAST. It sustained nuclear fusion for  about 10 seconds before shutting down. And while it was a breakthrough for EAST, it’s a long way from generating sustainable energy for the people of Earth.

And that’s actually on purpose. EAST is a tiny reactor. At only a few meters across, it’s not meant to be a full-fledged power plant. It’s an experiment. And right now, its job is to help us design more effective fusion technology that could, one day, power entire cities.

Like ITER. Short for International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor. It’s the world’s biggest fusion project to date. 35 countries have poured billions of dollars into its construction. And is designed to be the first fusion reactor to ever produce more fusion power than the power used to heat it up.

You see, you need to pour a lot of energy into these machines to get them to work. This recent EAST test, for example, guzzled over 10 Megawatts of power. Enough to power 1,640 American homes for a year. And it didn’t yield even half that amount. Since the entire point of a power plant is to, well, produce power, it’s a pretty important issue to work out.

But it’s worth the effort. Why? Well for one thing, fusion reactors would produce practically no radioactive waste compared to the kind of reaction we see in today’s nuclear fission power plants. But even better. Fusion reactors can run on seawater — a renewable, sustainable resource.

For perspective, the amount of water just on the top inch of Lake Erie is enough to produce more power than all of the fossil fuels left on the planet. And unlike other energy sources, it doesn’t need the sun to shine or the wind to blow.

In a time of dwindling resources and worsening climate change we could sure use it.  

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from SAI

The Best Advice From ‘How I Work’ in 2018

Song Exploder host Hrishikesh Hirway

Every week on Lifehacker, we interview a successful person about their career and their work habits, in a column called How I Work. And every week we ask them, “What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?” Here are the best answers our guests gave us in 2018.

Roxane Gay, author

Photo: Eva Blue

Every time I share this I feel awkward because the advice is so simple and seems trite but it was not offered tritely and I do not offer it here tritely.

When I was going on the academic job market, worrying about the campus interview, my friend Matt Seigel told me to just be myself because otherwise, if I got hired as the person I was pretending to be, I would have to keep up that pretense for the rest of my career.

He was absolutely right about being myself, for better and worse.

Alex Moore, CEO of Boomerang

Rhett & Link, YouTubers

Photo: Courtesy of Rhett & Link

In Steve Martin’s book Born Standing Up, he said he wishes he could have gone back to his younger self and said “Everything is gonna be okay.” We tell that to ourselves a lot.

Patrick Moberg, creator of Dots and Two Dots

Photo: Dots

Morra Aarons-Mele, Author of Hiding in the Bathroom

Photo: Kristen Loken

Sales is problem solving. When you understand that, you don’t need to spend hours networking, schmoozing, or building your personal brand. Understand what your customer needs help with!

Hrishikesh Hirway, host of Song Exploder

Photo: Courtesy of Hrishikesh Hirway

Maurice Cherry, designer

Photo: Li Su

Sherry Huss, co-founder of Maker Faire

Photo: Jeffrey Braverman

Take control of your mornings. You can always determine the time that you start your day, but in the event world, it is hard to control when your day stops.

Brittany Luse, co-host of The Nod

Photo: Gimlet Media

Obey the HALT check: Try not to say, do, or decide anything lasting, permanent, or important if you’re feeling hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. As the great Kathy Tu of Nancy always says, “There is no such thing as a podcast emergency.”

Michelle Woo, parenting editor at Lifehacker

Photo: Sulmo Kim

When little kids are melting down—say, lashing out and generally being terrors—it means that they’re yearning for connection. So even if it goes against your instincts, what you can do is kneel down and give them a big hug. Hold them and just breathe.

I try to apply this advice to others in my life (at least in my head—I won’t randomly hug you), and it also helps me take care of myself. If I’m feeling cranky or overwhelmed or mean, I need to stop what I’m doing, reflect on what I need, and sometimes reach out for help.

Ben Chestnut, co-founder of Mailchimp

Photo: Courtesy of Mailchimp

My mother used to say, “You become your friends.” It’s true—over time, you start to reflect the people you hang around. This has inspired me to pick really good friends who are role models for me and lift me up.

Adrienne Willis, executive and artistic director of the Lumberyard Center for Film and Performing Arts

Photo: Liz Lynch

Bobby Muller (veterans’ rights and peace activist, whose organization, Vietnam Veterans for America, co-founded the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which won a 1997 Nobel Peace Prize) told me: “The moment you stop questioning your own assumptions, you become irrelevant. And non-profits die when their dedication to mission doesn’t take into account their relevance.” He said leaders need to do the same constantly or they will lose the courage of their own convictions.

Brian Fox, author of the GNU Bash shell

from Lifehacker

Humanity has racked up extraordinary feats of spaceflight since NASA’s first moon mission 50 years ago. Here are the greatest hits.


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  • December 21 marks the 50th anniversary of NASA’s Apollo 8 moon mission, which was the first crewed flight to the moon.
  • Humanity has since racked up an impressive list of firsts in human and robotic spaceflight.
  • Our spacecraft have visited every planet in the solar system, reached interstellar space, sampled comets and asteroids, enabled astronauts to live in orbit for two decades, and more.

The year 1968 is not exactly remembered as a great time in the US, let alone on Earth.

"There was the Vietnam War going on, it was not a popular war, especially with the younger people," Jim Lovell, a retired NASA astronaut, previously told Business Insider. "There were riots, there were two assassinations of prominent people during that period, and so things were looking kind of bad in this country."

But Lovell and his fellow crew members’ unprecedented mission to the moon — Apollo 8 — brought much of America and the world together.

They entered the history books as the first humans ever to leave Earth’s clutches, reach the moon, and orbit it. They were also the first to see and personally describe the humbling splendor of our planet from 240,000 miles away.

"When I put my thumb up to the window I could completely hide it," Lovell said. "Then I realized that behind my thumb that I’m hiding this Earth, and there are about 6 billion people that are all striving to live there."

Since that first lunar flight almost exactly 50 years ago, humanity has reached even farther and more ambitiously into space. 

Here are some of the most important feats of human and robotic spaceflight since Apollo 8.

SEE ALSO: 50 years have passed since NASA’s Apollo 8 mission circled the moon for the first time. Here is every Apollo mission explained.

DON’T MISS: 2019 will be an extraordinary year in space. Here’s what NASA, SpaceX, and the night sky have in store for planet Earth.

Apollo 8 astronauts launched on the first-ever crewed moon mission on December 21, 1968.

Lovell and his crewmates Frank Borman and Bill Anders became the first humans to orbit the moon on December 24, 1968. Their mission was to study the moon and photograph its surface for possible landing sites.

Apollo 8 is famous for the "Earthrise" photo that showed how small the planet looks in the void of space. Lovell previously told Business Insider that this view made him think, "you go to heaven when you’re born."

Apollo 11 put people on the lunar surface for the first time on July 20, 1969.

It was "a giant leap for mankind," Neil Armstrong famously said. Buzz Aldrin followed him onto the moon while their crew mate Michael Collins remained in orbit.

The astronauts returned home with a cache of rocks, dust, and stunning photos. After they landed, NASA put the three men in quarantine for 21 days to make sure they had not brought any lunar contagions back to Earth.

Venera 7 became the first robot to land on another planet (Venus) on December 15, 1970.

The Soviet spacecraft was designed to land on Venus, but its parachute ripped during the descent and Venera 7 slammed into the surface. However, the plucky robot still managed to send back data on the planet’s temperature, atmospheric pressure, and wind speed before its signal stopped.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

from SAI