It’s Time for American Leaders to Wake Up to the Threat of Climate Change for the Good of the Planet and Business

The coronavirus pandemic has worn out its welcome on Earth. Just try and find someone who’s not sick and tired of working from the basement, wearing a mask, bumping elbows in greeting or simply living with the worry of themselves or their family getting sick. And these inconveniences pale in comparison to the pain many have suffered from sickness or the loss of loved ones.

If we could have seen the pandemic coming and had the power to prevent it, of course, we would have. If we had that power but sat on our hands as millions became sick and died, that inaction would be unforgivable.

There is another problem that we know is coming, that we have the power to address, and yet which we continually do too little—or often nothing—to tackle. I’m talking about climate change.

Left unchecked, the impact of climate change will only further alter our world as we know it—reshaping our coastlines and the cities that sit on them, accelerating species extinction, devastating agriculture and causing famine, ravaging our economy and impacting everyone’s health.

Though often regarded as a hot potato in politics, one of the biggest points of opposition to addressing climate change is the cost. How can a world whose transportation and energy systems are so heavily rooted in burning hydrocarbons afford to scrap them and shift to other, cleaner forms of energy?

I approach it from the other direction, however: how can we afford not to?

Yes, the looming cost to human life and the natural world are paramount and merit immediate and sustained commitment to long-term action. For those who also worry about the economics of tackling climate change, consider this: Goldman Sachs recently estimated that there is $16 trillion to be made in just the next 10 years from new investments in renewable energy. Furthermore, if the United States committed to help keep global warming within 2 degrees Celsius, this would create between $1 trillion and $2 trillion in yearly investments in renewable energy.

At a time when the global pandemic has dealt a mighty blow to the world’s economy, those kinds of numbers should be music to our ears. Why would we not embrace the enormous economic benefits and job creation of investing in next generation transportation and renewable energy systems?

As a Republican governor of the 7th largest state and a top-25 global economy, I was proud to champion energy and …read more

Source:: Time – Science

      

SpaceX Dragon Capsule With NASA Astronauts Makes Successful Splashdown

(CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.) — Two NASA astronauts returned to Earth on Sunday in a dramatic, retro-style splashdown, their capsule parachuting into the Gulf of Mexico to close out an unprecedented test flight by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company.

It was the first splashdown by U.S. astronauts in 45 years, with the first commercially built and operated spacecraft to carry people to and from orbit. The return clears the way for another SpaceX crew launch as early as next month and possible tourist flights next year.

Test pilots Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken rode the SpaceX Dragon capsule back to Earth less than a day after departing the International Space Station and two months after blasting off from Florida. The capsule parachuted into the calm gulf waters about 40 miles off the coast of Pensacola, hundreds of miles from Tropical Storm Isaias pounding Florida’s Atlantic coast.

“Welcome back to planet Earth and thanks for flying SpaceX,” said Mission Control from SpaceX headquarters.

“It was truly our honor and privilege,” replied Hurley.

The astronauts’ ride home in the capsule dubbed Endeavour was fast, bumpy and hot, at least on the outside.

The spacecraft went from a screaming orbital speed of 17,500 mph (28,000 kph) to 350 mph (560 kph) during atmospheric reentry, and finally to 15 mph (24 kph) at splashdown. Peak heating during descent was 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,900 degrees Celsius). The anticipated top G forces felt by the crew: four to five times the force of Earth’s gravity.

“Endeavour has you loud and clear,” Hurley radioed following a brief communication blackout caused by the heat of atmospheric entry.

A SpaceX recovery ship with more than 40 staff, including doctors and nurses, moved in quickly following splashdown and lifted the 15-foot capsule onto its deck. Two smaller, faster boats arrived first at the capsule while it was slowly bobbing upright in the water. To keep the returning astronauts safe in the pandemic, the recovery crew quarantined for two weeks and were tested for the coronavirus.

After medical exams, the astronauts were expected to fly home to Houston for a reunion with their wives and sons.

The last time NASA astronauts returned from space to water was on July 24, 1975, in the Pacific, the scene of most splashdowns, to end a joint U.S.-Soviet mission known as Apollo-Soyuz. The Mercury and Gemini crews in the early to mid-1960s parachuted into the Atlantic, while most of the later Apollo capsules hit the Pacific. The …read more

Source:: Time – Science

      

U.S. Eyes Building Nuclear Power Plants on the Moon, Mars

(BOISE, Idaho) — The U.S. wants to build nuclear power plants that will work on the moon and Mars, and on Friday put out a request for ideas from the private sector on how to do that.

The U.S. Department of Energy put out the formal request to build what it calls a fission surface power system that could allow humans to live for long periods in harsh space environments.

The Idaho National Laboratory, a nuclear research facility in eastern Idaho, the Energy Department and NASA will evaluate the ideas for developing the reactor.

Read more: America Really Does Have a Space Force. We Went Inside to See What It Does

The lab has been leading the way in the U.S. on advanced reactors, some of them micro reactors and others that can operate without water for cooling. Water-cooled nuclear reactors are the vast majority of reactors on Earth.

“Small nuclear reactors can provide the power capability necessary for space exploration missions of interest to the Federal government,” the Energy Department wrote in the notice published Friday.

The Energy Department, NASA and Battelle Energy Alliance, the U.S. contractor that manages the Idaho National Laboratory, plan to hold a government-industry webcast technical meeting in August concerning expectations for the program.

The plan has two phases. The first is developing a reactor design. The second is building a test reactor, a second reactor be sent to the moon, and developing a flight system and lander that can transport the reactor to the moon. The goal is to have a reactor, flight system and lander ready to go by the end of 2026.

The reactor must be able to generate an uninterrupted electricity output of at least 10 kilowatts. The average U.S. residential home, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, uses about 11,000 kilowatt-hours per year. The Energy Department said it would likely take multiple linked reactors to meet power needs on the moon or Mars.

Read more: HBO’s Chernobyl Has Led to a Surge in Tourism for This Forgotten Nuclear Town. Now, It’s Trying to Redefine Itself

In addition, the reactor cannot weigh more than 7,700 pounds (3,500 kilograms), be able to operate in space, operate mostly autonomously, and run for at least 10 years.

The Energy Department said the …read more

Source:: Time – Science

      

U.S. Eyes Building Nuclear Power Plants on the Moon, Mars

(BOISE, Idaho) — The U.S. wants to build nuclear power plants that will work on the moon and Mars, and on Friday put out a request for ideas from the private sector on how to do that.

The U.S. Department of Energy put out the formal request to build what it calls a fission surface power system that could allow humans to live for long periods in harsh space environments.

The Idaho National Laboratory, a nuclear research facility in eastern Idaho, the Energy Department and NASA will evaluate the ideas for developing the reactor.

Read more: America Really Does Have a Space Force. We Went Inside to See What It Does

The lab has been leading the way in the U.S. on advanced reactors, some of them micro reactors and others that can operate without water for cooling. Water-cooled nuclear reactors are the vast majority of reactors on Earth.

“Small nuclear reactors can provide the power capability necessary for space exploration missions of interest to the Federal government,” the Energy Department wrote in the notice published Friday.

The Energy Department, NASA and Battelle Energy Alliance, the U.S. contractor that manages the Idaho National Laboratory, plan to hold a government-industry webcast technical meeting in August concerning expectations for the program.

The plan has two phases. The first is developing a reactor design. The second is building a test reactor, a second reactor be sent to the moon, and developing a flight system and lander that can transport the reactor to the moon. The goal is to have a reactor, flight system and lander ready to go by the end of 2026.

The reactor must be able to generate an uninterrupted electricity output of at least 10 kilowatts. The average U.S. residential home, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, uses about 11,000 kilowatt-hours per year. The Energy Department said it would likely take multiple linked reactors to meet power needs on the moon or Mars.

Read more: HBO’s Chernobyl Has Led to a Surge in Tourism for This Forgotten Nuclear Town. Now, It’s Trying to Redefine Itself

In addition, the reactor cannot weigh more than 7,700 pounds (3,500 kilograms), be able to operate in space, operate mostly autonomously, and run for at least 10 years.

The Energy Department said the …read more

Source:: Time – Science