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Astrophysicist Proposes Moving Our Solar System Using a ‘Stellar Engine’

Reality is always surpassing fiction.

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Stellar Engine
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(TMU) — Have you ever thought of moving to a different city or even a different country because you can’t handle the “toxic” environment surrounding you? Perhaps, it could be pollution, a bad local government, a crime outbreak, or maybe you just want to pursue a better quality of life… But what if I told you that that is one of the latest propositions from scientists? But not just moving us—humans and our planet—they’re proposing moving our entire solar system to a “better” and “safer” place.

As we have discussed before, reality is always surpassing fiction. Quantum computers, hybrid cars, and smart houses are regular things these days. New technology today becomes obsolete in a couple of months, and this serves different purposes including improving and protecting our lives.

The universe is not static, and nothing inside it is. Every 230 million years our Sun completes its orbit around the center of the galaxy, maintaining a consistent distance of roughly 30,000 light-years. Just like us, walking in the night alone facing some potential dangers, our solar system confronts its own issues in its universal journey.

The universe is constantly shifting, so there is a chance that Earth might fall into the path of an asteroid shower, a supernova star, or face a threatening scenario for human life.

The so-called Caplan Thruster, named after astrophysicist Matthew Caplan from Illinois State University, the scientist who came up with the design, would use the Sun’s own energy to propel it across the galaxy and beyond. This thruster would potentially use electromagnetic fields to gather hydrogen and helium from the solar wind to use as fuel.

A video from Kurzgesagt illustrates this project beautifully:

A fusion reactor would create a jet of radioactive oxygen that would move the Caplan Thruster forward, and one using hydrogen, to maintain distance from the Sun and to push it forward. A variant of a Dyson sphere would be needed to maximize the energy coming from the sunlight. In an analogical way, we would create a sort of “mirror” that reflects the photons coming from the Sun to relocate the Sun. Sort of like the solar panels used to provide electricity to our houses, it’s all about energy and transforming it.

You may be wondering by this point… what about the rest of the solar system? Well, the answer isn’t actually complex at all—it will move along with the Sun because of the gravity acting as a “glue” and moving all of the planets together with the Sun. So, we wouldn’t have to worry about moving the rest of the planets individually.

Two interesting things to notice is that we would get a decent heads-up on any probable dangerous situation for our solar system, something in the region of a few million years, and also, the movement of the Sun would be limited to a similar movement of a “Y” axis, because in another way, the nearest planets could be seriously damaged due to the energy created by the thruster.

For more information, take a look into the research published in Acta Astronautica.

By Manuel García Aguilar  | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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News

Chinese Military Satellite Smashed by Russian Rocket in “Major Confirmed Orbital Collision”

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In an incident that is likely illustrative of things to come, Chinese military satellite 1-02 was smashed after it appears to have collided into the debris from a disintegrating Russian rocket.

The collision, which occurred earlier this year, shows the increasing danger of space junk such as satellite parts and other miscellaneous jetsam littering the Earth’s orbit. An estimated 8,000 metric tons of space debris pose the risk of destroying functional equipment such as weather forecasting systems, telecoms and GPS systems – and even manned space travel missions – if the problem isn’t reined in.

The fate of the Chinese satellite was uncovered by Harvard astrophysicist and satellite tracker Jonathan McDowell.

The breakup of Yunhai 1-02 was initially reported by the U.S. Space Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron (18SPCS). However, it wasn’t until recently that McDowell found out what caused the breakup.

The astrophysicist soon found that it was destroyed by space junk that originated from a Russian Zenit-2 rocket that had launched a spy satellite in 1996. On Aug. 14, McDowell found a strange entry in a database on Space-Track.org: “Collided with satellite.”

 “This is a new kind of comment entry — haven’t seen such a comment for any other satellites before,” McDowell tweeted.

“A quick analysis of the TLEs show that Yunhai 1-02 (44547) and [the debris object] passed within 1 km of each other (so within the uncertainty of the TLEs) at 0741 UTC Mar 18, exactly when 18SPCS reports Yunhai broke up,” he added, noting that this “looks to be the first major confirmed orbital collision in a decade.”

However, the Yunhai satellite still remains functional and is transmitting radio signals, notes Space.com.

The incident shows the growing likelihood of such collisions in the high-traffic, littered near-Earth orbital zone.

“Collisions are proportional to the square of the number of things in orbit,” McDowell explained. “That is to say, if you have 10 times as many satellites, you’re going to get 100 times as many collisions.”

He added: “So, as the traffic density goes up, collisions are going to go from being a minor constituent of the space junk problem to being the major constituent. That’s just math.”

A worst-case scenario of such collisions is known as the “Kessler Syndrome,” and describes the possibility of one collision setting in motion a chain of collisions. Such a disaster was the premise of the 2013 film “Gravity.”

One hopes that things don’t reach that point.

In the meantime, however, there have been a number of initiatives meant to tackle the growing problem of space debris, such as the ELSA-d spacecraft launched in a demonstration mission earlier this year.

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News

Boston Dynamics Drops New Video Of 5-Foot Atlas Humanoid Robot Effortlessly Doing Parkour

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Robot maker Boston Dynamics has released new video of its two-legged Atlas robot effortlessly completing a parkour obstacle course, offering a new display of its humanoid machines’ unsettling repertoire.

In the video, a pair of Atlas robots can be seen leaping over large gaps, vaulting beams, and even performing backflips. The robot can even be seen jumping over a board while using its arm to remain steady.

While the display seems like anything but “free” running – as the original developers of parkour had envisioned – the routine does seem like an impressive, if terrifying, display of effective coding that took months to perfect, according to the Hyundai-owned robotics firm.

“It’s not the robot just magically deciding to do parkour, it’s kind of a choreographed routine, much like a skateboard video or a parkour video,” said Atlas control lead Benjamin Stephens.

See for yourself:

Unlike its robotic dog Spot, which controversially hit New York City streets last year before being pulled, Atlas isn’t a production robot. Instead, it’s a research model meant to see how far the limits of robotics can be pushed.

In the past, Boston Dynamics has displayed the robot’s feats with videos of Atlas jogging and even busting out some cool dance moves.

Team lead Scott Kuindersma said in a statement that in about two decades, we can expect to coexist with robots that move “with grace, reliability, and work alongside humans to enrich our lives.”

Until then, some of us will continue to reserve our right to feel a bit queasy about the prospect of people being chased down by these skilled free-running (and dancing) machines.

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Environment

South Korean Toilet Turns Poo Into Green Energy and Pays Its Users Digital Cash

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What if your morning #2 not only powered your stove to cook your eggs, but also allowed you to pay for your coffee and pastry on the way to class?

It seems like an absurd question, but one university in South Korea has invented a toilet that allows human excrement to not only be used for clean power, but also dumps a bit of digital currency into your wallet that can be exchanged for some fruit or cup noodles at the campus canteen, reports Reuters.

The BeeVi toilet – short for Bee-Vision – was designed by urban and environmental engineering professor Cho Jae-weon of the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), and is meant to not only save resources but also reward students for their feces.

The toilet is designed to first deliver your excrement into a special underground tank, reducing water use, before microorganisms break the waste down into methane, a clean source of energy that can power the numerous appliances that dorm life requires.

“If we think out of the box, feces has precious value to make energy and manure,” Cho explained. “I have put this value into ecological circulation.”

The toilet can transform approximately a pound of solid human waste – roughly the average amount people poop per day – into some 50 liters of methane gas, said Cho. That’s about enough to generate half a kilowatt hour of electricity, enough to transport a student throughout campus for some of their school day.

Cho has even devised a special virtual currency for the BeeVi toilet called Ggool, or honey in Korean. Users of the toilet can expect to earn 10 Ggool per day, covering some of the many expenses students rack up on campus every day.

Students have given the new system glowing reviews, and don’t even mind discussing their bodily functions at lunchtime – even expressing their hopes to use their fecal credits to purchase books.

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