Japan just bombed an asteroid in our solar system, for science

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Japan’s space agency said it successfully dropped a small bomb on an asteroid on Friday as part of its mission to better understand the history of the Solar System.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said its Hayabusa2 spacecraft detonated the copper explosive, also known as the Small Carry-on Inspector (SCI), on the Ryugu asteroid on Friday.

The SCI weighs about 2 kg (4.4 lbs) and is the size of a baseball, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

Hayabusa2 released the SCI about 500 meters (1,640 feet) above Ryugu’s surface around 11:13 am Japanese time (02:13 UTC) on Friday, JAXA tweeted.

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Supersized solar farms are sprouting around the world (and maybe in space, too)

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In a quest to cut the cost of clean electricity, power utilities around the world are supersizing their solar farms.

Nowhere is that more apparent than in southern Egypt, where what will be the world’s largest solar farm — a vast collection of more than 5 million photovoltaic panels — is now taking shape. When it’s completed next year, the $4 billion Benban solar park near Aswan will cover an area 10 times bigger than New York’s Central Park and generate up to 1.8 gigawatts of electricity.

That’s roughly the output of two nuclear power plants combined and almost double the planned capacity of the vast Villanueva facility now growing in the Mexican state of Coahuila — currently the largest facility in the Americas. (The largest solar farm in the U.S. is the 580-megawatt Solar Star facility near Los Angeles.)

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The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency plans to build an orbiting solar farm

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Mirrors in orbit would reflect sunlight onto huge solar panels.

What if you could imagine looking at Tokyo Bay from high above and seeing a man-made island in the harbor, 3 kilometers long. There is a massive net stretched over the island and studded with 5 billion tiny rectifying antennas, which convert microwave energy into DC electricity. Also on the island is a substation that sends that electricity coursing through a submarine cable to Tokyo, to help keep the factories of the Keihin industrial zone humming and the neon lights of Shibuya shining bright.

 

 

Continue reading… “The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency plans to build an orbiting solar farm”

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