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Solar panels, which heat the climate, can be? | Science | News | The sun – The Press Stories

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CThis is a question that many researchers have been asking themselves in recent years because its prototype is undeniable: a fraction of the sun’s energy reflected by the Earth’s surface is actually greater than that of solar panels. On average, the Earth reflects 30% of the sun’s light back into space (this is called the “albedo” of 0.30), although it varies from place to place – 80% of fresh snow, 40% of deserts, 25% of meadows. And 12-15% in the wild. As for solar panels, that is Reflects only 10%, The rest are converted into electricity (about 15%) or dissipated into heat (75%). Keep in mind that even the role of electricity will inevitably end up hot.

So it is obvious that solar panels have a warming effect, at least locally. But is this enough to nullify their environmental benefits, i.e. produce electricity (or almost) without GHGs? There are two things to note here: first, the potential “hot island” effect, which will be basically local; Then the potential climate effect on a large scale.

There is no doubt that solar power plants can create tropical islands, especially when installed in places with high albedo such as deserts – as this often happens, because deserts are the perfect places to increase the production of solar panels. Thus, an American study Released in 2016 Scientific reports Found a difference of 3-4 C overnight between a solar power plant and a desert area a few hundred meters away. A Chinese study was obtained The results went in the same direction Next year.

Keep in mind that this does not always seem to be the case French works In the city and in the heating panels (converting heat into electricity, not light, it is very efficient), these reduced the temperature by an average of 0.2 to 0.3 C. So, let’s keep in mind that the end result depends on the environment in which you are installing the solar panels – a black panel that replaces black asphalt singles, clearly not like a black panel. It covers a clear surface.

It is not clear whether “solar farms”, as they are called south of the border, can promote tropical islands, which have the ultimate effect of warming the climate. First, Simulations provided in 2013 During a conference of photovoltaic experts, if the temperature in the middle of a large solar power station is almost 2 C higher than the ambient temperature of 2.5 m above the ground, the difference dissipates very quickly, no longer measurable at an altitude of only 5 m, and the temperature difference disappears completely at night. This suggests that the effect will be more localized, not global.

Other works focus on the overall effect of solar panels, not only from the albedo view, but also on the GHGs that solar panels avoid. In Nature – Climate change In 2015, Researchers at Boulder University in Colorado concluded that “overall, the global climate change that can be triggered by the use of solar panels is small compared to the expected (1) climate change from fossil fuels.” So these panels are “profitable” from a climatic point of view, taking into account even the bulk of the remaining solar radiation on Earth.

However, this energy source may have a significant influence on the climate, but not in a positive way. If solar energy projects ever really reach the baronic ratio, the “regional” effects could be so strong that they are destabilizing the climate on a planetary scale. For example, Modeling work released in 2018 Science If we cover 20% of the entire Sahara (!) With photovoltaic panels, it would increase the surface temperature in this desert to about 2 C and be large enough to change the atmospheric circulation. The result will be increased rainfall in the Sahara and the Sahel (the southern semi-arid zone of the Sahara), which will be favorable for vegetation. This then increases the rainfall (because the plants “take” a lot of water from the earth and “sweat” through their leaves), which brings in more plants, which the earth absorbs even more energy. Sun, and so on. These effects are described as “beneficial” in the study, and the reason for this is easy to understand, but it shows that in at least some situations, truly gigantic solar power plants can disrupt the climate on a large scale.

A Another study on the same topic Its part decided that a solar power plant covering 20% ​​of the Sahara would actually cause planetary effects (drought in the Amazon, warming in the Arctic, etc.). This is a simple modeling for now, so it remains to be seen whether others will come to comparable conclusions – and then, if these predictions change in reality – but yes, in principle we can say that solar power plants are possible if they are beautiful and built in a specific environment, with global implications for the climate. Mr. As Le May requested, heating it is not necessary, but it can theoretically “disturb” it.

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Russia Just Launched a New Science Module to the Space Station – Universe Today

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The International Space Station (ISS) is about to get a little bigger.

On July 21, the Russian Space Agency launched the station’s newest module into orbit aboard a Proton-M rocket. The module, dubbed Nauka (which means science), is the station’s first new module since 2016, aside from some new docking ports and airlocks. The Nauka module includes several important additions that will enhance the station’s capabilities.

One of Nauka’s primary systems is its guidance and navigation abilities, which will provide additional attitude control capabilities to the ISS. At 13 meters long, the module’s interior contains new research facilities and storage space. The module also provides additional sleeping quarters for station crew. This is an important addition, since the United States recently re-established its human spaceflight capabilities with two new spacecraft: SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, and the upcoming Boeing Starliner, slated for another test flight later this year. The addition of both new vehicles alongside the Russian Soyuz vehicle means that bigger crews can visit the station at once, and Nauka will provide these larger crews with a home.

Nauka is also carrying one other new piece of technology: a robotic arm built by the European Space Agency. A counterpart to the Canadarm 2 already on station, the European arm is 11 meters long and is designed to ‘walk’ around the Russian segment of the ISS (which the Canadarm can’t reach), carrying out repairs and upgrades as necessary.

Artist’s Rendering of Nauka attached to the Station. Credit: NASA.

Nauka’s development was a troubled process, and it has gone through years of problems and delays. It was first built as a backup to the Zarya module – the first component of the ISS ever launched in 1998. Nauka was set to join its twin in orbit in 2007, but failed to launch then, and was delayed again several times for various reasons, including fuel leaks, expired warranties, and most recently, pandemic delays.

In recent months, political tensions have raised questions as to the extent of Russia’s commitment to its partnership role in ISS. Nauka’s launch, at last, provides some concrete evidence that Russia is indeed committed to maintaining its presence on the station, at least in the short term, which is good news for everyone involved.

Unfortunately, Nauka’s launch didn’t go entirely smoothly. Although it reached orbit and its antenna and solar panels deployed as expected, a computer glitch caused its first orbit-raising maneuver to fail. After some troubleshooting, a second attempt at the maneuver appears to have been successfully carried out by backup thrusters on July 22.

If all goes well from here on out, it should take about a week for Nauka to reach the station. The latest update from the Russian Space Agency indicated that the next orbit raising attempt is scheduled for Tuesday July 27.

Plans are still in place to remove the Pirs docking port from the station this week (which will burn up in the atmosphere) to make room for Nauka, suggesting that confidence is high that the module will arrive as planned.

Learn more: Jeff Foust, “Russia launches Nauka module to International Space StationSpaceNews.

Featured Image: Nauka’s launch on July 21. Roscosmos/NASATV.

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Elon Musk's SpaceX lands NASA launch contract for mission to Jupiter's moon Europa – Euronews

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Elon Musk’s private rocket company SpaceX was awarded a $178 million (€151 million) launch services contract for NASA’s first mission focusing on Jupiter’s icy moon Europa and whether it may host conditions suitable for life, the space agency said on Friday.

The Europa Clipper mission is due for blastoff in October 2024 on a Falcon Heavy rocket owned by Musk’s company, Space Exploration Technologies Corp, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, NASA said in a statement posted online.

The contract marked NASA’s latest vote of confidence in the Hawthorne, California-based company, which has carried several cargo payloads and astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA in recent years.

In April, SpaceX was awarded a $2.9 billion (€2.46 billion) contract to build the lunar lander spacecraft for the planned Artemis program that would carry NASA astronauts back to the moon for the first time since 1972.

But that contract was suspended after two rival space companies, Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin and defense contractor Dynetics Inc, protested against the SpaceX selection.

Evidence of life?

The company’s partly reusable 23-story Falcon Heavy, currently the most powerful operational space launch vehicle in the world, flew its first commercial payload into orbit in 2019.

NASA did not say what other companies may have bid on the Europa Clipper launch contract.

The probe is to conduct a detailed survey of the ice-covered Jovian satellite, which is a bit smaller than Earth’s moon and is a leading candidate in the search for life elsewhere in the solar system.

A bend in Europa’s magnetic field observed by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft in 1997 appeared to have been caused by a geyser gushing through the moon’s frozen crust from a vast subsurface ocean, researchers concluded in 2018. Those findings supported other evidence of Europa plumes.

Among the Clipper mission’s objectives are to produce high-resolution images of Europa’s surface, determine its composition, look for signs of geologic activity, measure the thickness of its icy shell and determine the depth and salinity of its ocean, NASA said.

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Boeing Starliner Orbital Flight Test 2: Live updates – Space.com

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2021-07-23T00:18:15.531Z

(Image credit: Kim Shiflett/NASA)

The CST-100 Starliner capsule has passed its flight readiness review (FRR) for the upcoming liftoff, which will kick off the uncrewed Orbital Flight Test 2 (OFT-2) mission to the station, NASA and Boeing representatives announced today (July 22). Read the full story here.

Over the weekend, engineers mated the Starliner spacecraft to its Atlas V rocket, marking a key milestone ahead of the mission’s launch next week. See the photos here.

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