Monthly Archives: March 2011
Image courtesy Caltech/NASA
There’s a party in our galaxy’s “city center,” and thousands of stars have gathered to light up the scene.
In visible light this region of the Milky Way is so bright that it’s almost impossible to see what’s happening. But new infrared pictures from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope—such as the one above released March 18—can reveal the raucous activity.
In the new shot, tendrils of warm gas (yellow-red) and carbon-rich dust (green) drape across the galactic center, where bright white star clusters are orbiting an unseen supermassive black hole.
When FIFA decided to award the 2022 World Cup to the State of Qatar there was a lot of surprise from the other competing countries. Not only was this a big bet from FIFA that a country so small could provide a memorable football tournament, but the temperatures experienced during the summer months when the tournament is played are extreme to say the least.
Come 2022, footballers from around the world will be heading to Doha, in a country where temperatues commonly reach 46 degrees Celsius, and don’t often fall below 29 degrees Celsius. FIFA knew this when it awarded the tournament to the country, so it also stipulated that the open stadiums must be air conditioned in some way.
How do you air condition an open stadium? Qatar University believes it has the answer, and it doesn’t involve lots of air conditioning units pumping out freezing cold air.
Qatar is a very rich country due to the massive amounts of oil and natural gas it has. Therefore they can think outside of the box for problems like this and not have to worry too much about cost. Dr. Saud Abdul Ghani, who runs the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering department at the Univeristy, has come up with a very green and nature-inspired way of solving this problem: artificial solar clouds.
If you’ve ever been outside on a very hot day then you know that standing in a shaded area can result in a temperature drop of several degrees. Dr. Ghani’s idea is to create an artificial cloud that would float above the stadiums covering a large area of the playing field in shadow. As the sun in blazing down on the cloud while it is doing this, all power can be generated through solar panels.
The cloud will be constructed of carbonic materials and have four solar engines allowing it to be moved by remote control as well as hover in place. We assume at night they will be landed near the stadiums. As for cost, the first one is thought to be in the region of $500,000, but Dr. Ghana believes that will fall and the usefulness of the clouds will extend well beyond the World Cup.
While a novel idea, we can’t help but think a strong gust of wind may cause major problems for the cloud. We’re also unsure how safe the players will feel with these clouds floating above them.
Originally published here – http://www.geek.com/articles/geek-cetera/qatar-developing-solar-clouds-to-cool-2022-world-cup-stadiums-20110327/
Valles Marineris: The Grand Canyon of Mars
Credit: Viking Project, USGS, NASA
The largest canyon in the Solar System cuts a wide swath across the face of Mars. Named Valles Marineris, the grand valley extends over 3,000 kilometers long, spans as much as 600 kilometers across, and delves as much as 8 kilometers deep. By comparison, the Earth’s Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA is 800 kilometers long, 30 kilometers across, and 1.8 kilometers deep. The origin of the Valles Marineris remains unknown, although a leading hypothesis holds that it started as a crack billions of years ago as the planet cooled. Several geologic processes have been identified in the canyon. The above mosaic was created from over 100 images of Mars taken by Viking Orbiters in the 1970s.