China was thinking of Cutting energy expenses

Renewable sources of energy have always been considered a plausible alternative to non-renewable sources of energy. Solar power, as well as thermal, can help reduce the cost of using non-renewable sources of energy and China has already started thinking about it. Climate is a blessing usher upon us, taking care of which is inevitable.

Investing in renewable resources is essential as there are limited non-renewable resources on the planet. Wind energy, solar energy are some sources of energy which are reusable, but the problem is they can work only when there is wind or bright sun.  

Concentrated solar power (CSP) is highly expensive can store solar energy for long durations and can provide power supply at the day as well as night. Though it is costly since the heat can be saved, it proves to be less expensive considering the overall performance. If CSP could replace five to twenty percent of planned PV and wind power in Gansu Province and Qinghai Province, it would reduce the operational cost help deal with the fluctuations in energy supply.

CSP can maximize ROI and prove to be beneficial to investors and developers too. It is a long-term benefit, China’s policymakers wish to invest in.

Tsinghua University’s research team has published their report in the Journal of Applied Energy with the title – Economic Justification of concentrating solar power in high renewable energy penetrated power systems. 

The government is planning to supply 83% and 104% of energy from VRE in the province of Qinghai and Gansu respectively. While CSP will substitute it by 5% and 20%, this planning by China at NDRC – Energy Bureau – may change the system of power supply.

Prof. Chongqing Kang, and, Associate Professor Ning Zhang has been working on the optimization of the power system. They are aggressively working to power up the two provinces with renewable energy.  

When the project is completed, Qinghai may supply about 82.3% of the total demand for electric power, whereas Gansu will provide 104.3% of maximum load. The combined economic benefit of CSP will be 18-30 cents per kilowatt-hour. Though the study is not mature, China has set plans to deploy these resources by 2020.

Specific projects on CSP faced problems at the initial level and did not prove to be successful. However, the researchers are positive about the attainment of goals. Thermal energy storage or TES is a costly affair. Hence CSP will be the new way technology will work in China. The energy requirement for the night is higher than in the day, particularly in big cities. Storage of at least ten hours will be needed for the success of this plan.  

Plans to send astronauts to the moon before Martian Mission- NASA

Before proceeding with the mission to the Red Planet, NASA has come up with a newly designed plan to land humans back on the moon. Following that, will the mission to Mars will be planned accordingly.

According to plans, Robots will be able to reach the moon, and land on it, by next year, NASA announced Monday. The program came after the signing of a directive by President Donald Trump in December, to continue exploration on the moon and plan human-led travel to Mars by 2030. The lunar mission involves examining the surface of the moon to determine whether the environment is suited for human exploration or not.  They plan to drill the surface in search of water, compounds and other volatiles from craters and the poles using heat. 

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine claims that the ice on Mars could be utilized as fuel if their efforts are successful. Adding to that, he said, “We know there is volatility at the poles on the moon, and quite frankly, that water ice could represent rocket fuel.” And if everything goes as planned, NASA could be able to produce rocket fuel from the surface of the moon, which means that moon could be used as a “fueling depot.”

Though the concept of robot-led exploration in space had been introduced way back in 2010, no robots have made it. Even NASA had planned to send “humanoid robots.” The last time Americans were on the moon which was through 1972’s Apollo 17 mission. In the spirit of encouraging space travel, President Trump revived the National Space Council in December 2017. According to him, their first mission is reaching the moon for “long-term use and exploration.” 

Though Trump has been enthusiastic about the mission, NASA officials said it would take about ten years to initiate a human lunar mission launch. Furthermore, they said it is likely to take even longer than that to reach Mars. 

But according to reports, it has been found that the Red Planet could house life. This means that human exploration plans could be faster. The Curiosity rover also discovered organic compounds on Mars that they claim to be once present in the Martian lake 3 billion years ago. 

The Mars mission has been an agenda for many countries. China’s space agency vowed to send their space travellers to Mars by 2020. On the other hand, Russia claims to perform crewless launches in 2019, followed by a manned mission to Mars.  

To the dreams of being an astronaut

Life never seems to be comfortable, while pursuing your goals you know it’s going to be a roller coaster ride. But if you aspire to be an astronaut someday, know how to fly a spacecraft. The latest episode of ‘Spacing out with the Everyday Astronaut’ brought in front of us all, how it is like to fly a spaceship. 

There are people on earth who cannot drive a basic four-wheeler, the steering of which always goes out of control for them and mishaps are a routine affair. Think of an astronaut, wearing a bulky space suit, living in zero gravity and flying a spacecraft in the frictionless environment.

The episode was fourth (second last) in the queue of planned five shows for Facebook watch series. The show was made live on Friday, June 08. The episode featured training simulations and hovercraft (home-made) that could depict how much hard work you have to deploy as an astronaut when traveling in the outer space. The vacuum poses challenges never thought of on the planet earth.

Tim Dodd purchased a Russian spacesuit in an online auction in 2013. In the show, he travels to Astronaut Training center at Florida and is subjected to several tests including weightlessness. During his training, he has to repair parts of a mock space station while sitting in a hover chair floating above the ground. The chair was specially designed to show the situation that forces the astronaut to go outside the space station and do spacewalking. 

We all know that outside the space station, the possibilities of losing yourself to the depth of an endless sky are high. One wrong move can throw you stranded and floating like a balloon or a kite never to be found again. 

Dodd survives his mission just to be engulfed by the virtual reality training as he is still not prepared for space. He then goes to the Knoxville Convention Center in Tennessee, where he explores the technology and concept of docking and assembling the spacecraft. Spaceflight historian Amy Shira Teitel is along with him for this mission. The homemade hovercraft made up of a lawn chair, tarp, a leaf blower (cordless) and two fire extinguishers is then brought into the limelight to demonstrate the level of difficulty faced in piloting a spacecraft. Dodd recreated the mission of 1975 named Apollo-Soyuz test project, the first to dock different nations to Space.

Trump’s plan to privatize ISS by 2025 might not work

Trump Administration’s suggestion of delegating control of International Space Station (ISS) to private sector organizations by the year 2025 will probably not work, according to a government auditor. It is not possible for commercial companies to bear the enormous costs operating costs ISS by the coming six years.

Paul Martin, who is the Inspector General of NASA, has also voiced his concern over the transition of ISS during a Senate space committee hearing headed by the Senator Ted Cruz and the Senator Bill Nelson. Martin said that there is no business incentive for space companies to take on this enormous project. ISS’s annual operational costs will reach 1.2 billion USD by the year 2024. Industries requiring ISS (space tourism, space R&D), have not panned out either. The private space industry is not too eager on making use of ISS for research or profit. The frugal interest shown in ISS in the past 20 years by the commercial space industry makes their intention evident, according to Martin.

Trump’s budget plans (in February) required NASA to stop ISS’s federal funding by 2025. This was done to free funds for NASA’s future projects. ISS costs NASA 3 to 4 billion USD annually. The administration wants to utilize that money for other projects like developing hardware to return to Moon. Instead of doing away with ISS, NASA proposed that commercial organizations could control it, or at least parts of it. They could even build their own infrastructure.

Contrary to expectations, the transition might not save NASA a lot of money. NASA will continue to send people and cargo using the privatized station. It whole process is quite expensive. The space agency had put aside 1.7 billion USD for the transport of astronauts and cargo to the ISS in 2018. So the assumption that the transition will help in saving 3 to 4 billion dollars is wrong.

The obvious alternative is to allow funding of ISS beyond 2024. Martin’s office has discovered that plenty of NASA’s goals for the ISS like studying health risks in space and testing new technology will not be completed by 2024. Thus the extension will allow NASA to complete the tasks. Boeing, which built a significant part of ISS, has declared that ISS will not need much maintenance till 2028. Both Cruz and Nelson support the extension.

According to Cruz, ending the ISS program prematurely without a proper alternative spells disaster for NASA. Moreover, the decision of selecting the year 2025 for ending the program had no scientific backing and was purely arbitrary. The NASA administration had decided it.