Sunday, March 25, 2007

Cheap Solar Cells, Weird Space Food, Tricorders and Asteroid Missions

One of the Brickmuppet's crack team of science babes reports on a selection of science stories that is rather small, and which don't really go together all that well ,er, much like her outfit.

On the Solar Power front, Stephen Gordon over at THE SPECULIST reports that the cost of Solar Cells may be about to come way down. This is big especially for people who live in rural areas. With a backup generator and perhaps a windmill this could make off grid living quite practical (south of, say, Pennsylvania). The more people we have off the grid, the more we reduce stress on the existing power net, and the less fuel we consume. The more people we have living self sufficiently the more acceptable true self sufficiency will be and the better chance we have of getting back to the individualist ideals of the old republic...victory! :)

Over at NASA Watch there is a disturbing vision of Astronaut Food. Martha Stewart may yet save the day. (no really)

Science Daily has a story on some researchers who have developed an honest to goodness tricorder! An advanced portable and sensitive mass spectrometer, this has tremendous application in homeland security as well as industrial safety and search and rescue.

Finally, over at the New Scientist is yet more information on the recently mooted NASA plan to visit a near earth asteroid. Despite the greater distance this is in some ways easier than going to the moon because of the much lower gravity of asteroids. It has practical applications as well given the possible future need for asteroid mitigation missions.

Cruithne would seem to be a logical choice, especially if Congress balks at funding for something other than going to the moon....NASA can just go to 'the other one' and keep it legal. ;)

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