- Number 353 |
- January 2, 2012
NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission launched Nov. 26 carrying the most advanced payload of scientific gear ever used on Mars' surface. Those instruments will get their lifeblood from a radioisotope power system assembled and tested at DOE's Idaho National Laboratory. The Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator is the latest "space battery" that can reliably power a deep space mission for many years.
The device provides a continuous source of heat and power for the rover's instruments. NASA has used nuclear generators to power 26 missions over the past 50 years. New generators like the one destined for Mars are painstakingly assembled and extensively tested at INL before heading to space.
As the percentage of wind energy contributing to the power grid continues to increase, the variable nature of wind can make it difficult to keep the generation and the load balanced.
But recent work by DOE's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, in conjunction with AWS Truepower, may help this balance through a project that alerts control room operators of wind conditions and energy forecasts so they can make well-informed scheduling decisions. This is especially important during extreme events, such as ramps, when there is a sharp increase or decrease in the wind speed over a short period of time, which leads to a large rise or fall in the amount of power generated.
Supercomputer simulations at DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory are giving scientists unprecedented access to a key class of proteins involved in drug detoxification.
Jerome Baudry and Yinglong Miao, who are jointly affiliated with ORNL and the University of Tennessee, have performed simulations to observe the motions of water molecules in a class of enzymes called P450s. Certain types of P450 are responsible for processing a large fraction of drugs taken by humans.
The idea that one can create a field of science out of thin air, just because of societal and policy need, is a bold concept. But for the emerging field of sustainability science, sorting among theoretical and applied scientific disciplines, making sense of potentiallydivergent theory, practice and policy, the gamble has paid off.
In a recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory, Santa Fe Institute, and Indiana University analyzed the field’s temporal evolution, geographic distribution, disciplinarycomposition, and collaboration structure.