Okay, okay, okay. The rovers lasted longer than required. The panels were exceptionally efficient and lasted longer than was required for the mission.Quote:
Not really. They lasted longer than planned because spacecraft are always designed very very conservatively. The cost of a service call is high. In the case of solar panels (all, not just NASAs), there is a large standard deviation in the lifetime. To ensure that the device will function long enough to complete the mission, all the components in the craft are designed in consideration of the failure rate statistics so that in the worst case, the machine will last long enough. They fully expected the panels to last much longer than the design life. If the failure rate data was gaussian, the expectation was probably 3x-6x longer (not really an expectation so much as aconsideration of the probable lifetime) than planned, and no one would be terribly shocked to see them running longer than that. But it makes for great press releases.
There now, was that so hard? You almost agreed.Quote:
Your point is okay, but your statements are not quite true. Current PV cells are optimized to be more efficient at one wavelength, but it isn't true that they 'process' only at a single wavength.
Huh? Who was talking about current lack of viability. I said that economic viability is a poor excuse to not pursue technology. Oil prices are currently, and have been for a while now, artificially low. When the cost oil is no longer being subsidized by our military presence, a lot of these technologies will suddenly be economically viable. We can wait till that juncture and start to weed out the operational bugs or start now.Quote:
I don't think the discussion is about not developing the technologies based on their current lack of viability. It's about large scale implementation of current technologies that are still not economically viable. Big difference.
Bloom Energy has so far received $400 million in venture capital. This product is a step in the right direction. It may not be ready for residential use but it makes sense for large campuses like Google and Ebay.Quote:
The problem is that the finance rules of the game do not incentivize the private sector to make the massive investment needed to develop the technology. Which is why the pace is maddeningly slow or in some cases stopped. A lot of this is only going to happen with public money - the overall rate of return isn't there, and risk is too high, for private business to fund it.
Unfortunately, the nuclear fuel limitations are not widely appreciated, although it's not new information. At this point I don't see a lot of sense in starting reactor projects that will take upwards of 5 and probably closer to 10 years to commission, unless the military is willing to part with some of its fissionable material to extend the useful life of the reactors to at least 2030 or 2040.
You guys need to look at the Hyperion mini nuclear power plants meant to be installed in neighborhoods and they are operator free. The military is looking at installing them in bases so they are off the grid.
We are not sunk, unless we choose to waste more time. We need to give this priority, we need a plan, we need money, we need commitment, and we need to get started.
Disappointed that they're building an assembly plant in the UK, though! They're also considering a plant to service the Asian market.
Nuclear could be useful ... if breeder reactors, thorium fuel or other techniques can be safely deployed to extend the fuel supply.
I had lunch with my brother today and he said the other thing to watch is methane hydrates. Apparently there are thought to be vast sources of it. If they can figure out how to harvest it could be an alternative energy instead of a pollutant.