Physicists have been 'building' elements heavier than Uranium for some time by slamming nuclei together and seeing what they get. The atoms are unstable, getting more so as the atoms grow. Theory suggests there should be naturally stable superheavy elements. If so, where are they?
Amnon Marinov at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem used a mass spectrometer on large quantities thorium measuring every atom. Thorium (atomic number 90) appears in two isotopes (atomic weights 230 and 232). These were observed but so was an element with an atomic weight of 292 and atomic number 122, well beyond the artificial Ununoctium (atomic number 118)
The university team have ensured there is no error in the test and are sure it is a genuine find.
Initially named eka-thorium or unbibium it would be a member of the superheavy actinide group. Now one has been found more are sure to follow.
Source: arxivblog.com and Hebrew University of Jerusalem
As part of NASA's plans for a return to the Moon and then on to Mars, they have instigated the development of a nuclear fission power generator. Although solar power is possible this close to the Sun, a nuclear station frees up systems from needing a constant source of illumination.
The actual atomic fission technology is well known and a bucket-sized reactor would provide ample energy for a lunar base. It is how the heat generated by such a unit could be turned into electricity that is the challenge. The enormous heat exchangers of Earth-based systems are not possible.
Two concepts are being examined both of which can produce about 12kilowatts of power.
One, from Sunpower Inc. uses two opposed piston engines coupled to alternators. Whereas Barber Nichols Inc. uses a high speed turbine and compressor, similar to a jet engine, to generate power.
One will be selected to be converted into a realistic demonstrator in the next couple of years.
The catastrophic failure of steel in the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center was due to the high temperatures experienced during the building fires.
It is one of those cases where