Friday, June 3, 2011

Plasma and Sickness

Covering two things today. First, on request from Tien, we have VASIMR. Quite the interesting topic, I must say. Extremely summarized, VASIMR is a plasma engine, that is ment to replace the fuel guzzling engines that NASA currently uses. Second, we have another little bit on the media. Not going to in-depth there, as there isn't much to say past the facts listed.


The full name of this piece of technology is "Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket". Quite the mouthful, thus, VASIMR. What they do is take an electrical source, and use it to ionize a gas into plasma. Don't know what ionization is? Well, it's when you heat up a gas an extreme amount, and strip the electrons off of it, resulting in the plasma. As for the electrical source, it's likely to be an on-board nuclear reactor, as solar panels wouldn't give enough energy for long range travel. Still against nuclear power? Now you have even less reason to be so.

The fuel (gas) they plan to use is most likely hydrogen. This is because of several reasons: first, there's a huge amount of it, and it can be found almost anywhere. This makes it so they can go to a planet, and refuel, without ever having to be on earth. Second, it's apparently one of the best radiation blockers around... So the astronauts flying the ship could have their fuel protect them. Pretty nifty.

Apparently these things are far faster than the old engines as well, since they're saying that it's pretty likely that they'll be able to go to Mars if they can get these up and running on their ships. Then they're (NASA) also thinking that they'll be able to stick these up on their space station (ISS), and make it so they won't have to ship fuel up to it to keep the orbit from decaying.

Here's a vid of the VASIMR in action:

Gotta Love That Media:

Righto, next subject. Hippo (Brandon) asked me to cover how the media blew things such as Swine, and Bird Flu WAY out of proportion. Let's get into the facts:

36,000 people per year (estimate) die from the common flu.

Only 18,000 have died from the Swine Flu in three years.

Bird Flu: As far as I can find, not one person has died from it in the USA. Sure, I didn't look TOO far into it, but yeah... Apparently only one person's got it, then they just recovered.

So here we have another example of the media taking things out of control just to get more publicity. Why not cover how "horribly dangerous" the common flu is? Or maybe something that actually is dangerous, like AIDS. Fucking Media.

Anyways, them's my two topics for today. Post some comments requesting things that you want covered tomarrow.


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