First Look at the Tesla Roadster

Tesla_roadster_300
This doesn’t really have anything to do with fusion, but most of the visitors and regulars here, in addition to being Philo-files, are also well aware of the contributions that Nikola Tesla has made to electrical science.  And this doesn’t really have anything to do with Tesla, either, except that his name is being used as the marque for a new, 100% rechargeable electric car called the Tesla Roadster

One of the editors PC Magazine has had a chance to examine one of the prototypes and reports his findings here:

Due
on the market this fall, at a price of $92,000, the Tesla is powered by
the same lithium-ion battery cells that drive the average laptop or
smartphone, and you can charge it from an ordinary wall socket. There’s
even a grate under the rear fender where the car expels hot air, just
like the typical desktop PC.

Several prototypes are already assembled, and last night, I was
invited down to the company’s Silicon Valley offices for a spin down
the freeway. No, I didn’t get to drive. Each prototype was built at a
cost of over a million dollars, and only the lucky few covered by the
company insurance policy are permitted behind the wheel. But I did get
the rush of sitting in the passenger seat of this Lotus-like two-door
convertible. And what a rush it is!

On second thought, maybe there is a fusion connection to this story.  I mean, if we’re going to have a world of non-polluting electric cars, the electricity is going to have to come from somewhere, and unless we find some source other than coal or gas fired generators (and fission reactors), there will be no net-gain in reduced emissions if the cars are the only things running on electricity.  So the sooner somebody comes up with practical fusion generation, the sooner cars like the Tesla Roadster will make  any kind of real environmental sense. 

Link: Tesla Roadster: Test Driving Your Electric Dream Car – News and Analysis by PC Magazine.

Bussard in DefenseNews.com

Link: DefenseNews.com – Fighting for Fusion – 03/05/07 17:52.

He completed low-power tests in September and October and began high-power testing of the reactor in November.
After four tests Nov. 9 and 10, an electromagnetic coil short-circuited as electricity surged through it, “vaporizing” part of his reactor, Bussard said, and bringing his tests to an end.
“The following Monday, we started to tear the lab down. Nobody had time to reduce the data that was stored on the computer. It wasn’t until early December that we reduced the data and looked at it and realized what we had done,” he said.
Bussard said he and his small team of scientists had proven that nuclear fusion can be harnessed as a usable source of cheap, clean energy.

Discuss this article in the forums

More “Fusioneers” In the News

Hallamnobel_1

and this time from across the pond. 

Physics Web, the online journal of the Institute of Physics in the UK, has run a very nice article about the Fusor and people in the UK and Ireland who are building them.  Comparing the Fusor to the humongous ITER now being built in France, author Edwin Cartlidge writes,

the device that sits on a bench in the corner of a quiet laboratory at Cambridge University. Like the reactors built by professional scientists, this machine can be used to create fusion reactions – tens of thousands of deuterium–deuterium reactions per second. But this device, known as a “fusor”, cost about £3000 and was put together by two secondary-school students in the garage of one of their parents’ houses in Torquay.

Download the entire article in .pdf format from the link in this post in the forums

Mainstream Media Notices the Fusor!

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This article in Today’s Science section of the New York Times  might be the most prominent, mainstream mention of the Farnsworth Fusor that I have seen in the more than 30 years since I first learned of the device myself on a hillside in Santa Cruz, California.  Money quotes:

Other researchers already have working desktop fusion devices, including ones that are descendants of the Farnsworth Fusor invented four decades ago by Philo T. Farnsworth, the television pioneer.

Robert W. Bussard, an independent scientist, advocates a return to the Farnsworth Fusor, otherwise known as inertial confinement fusion. Farnsworth and Robert L. Hirsch, who later ran the Office of Fusion Energy for the Atomic Energy Commission, developed a fusor consisting of two electrically charged concentric spherical grids. They accelerated charged atoms, or ions, to the center.

“It’s like the electron guns in your TV tube,” Dr. Bussard said.

Well, yes, I suppose… if you still have electron guns in your TV tube.  Mine has a mega-mirrored micro chip and a spinning color wheel.  Don’t anybody tell John Logie Baird…

Yeah, but… how are they gonna GET there?

Moon
Link: starbulletin.com | News | /2007/02/18/.

SAN FRANCISCO » In this city famous for the Gold Rush, a University of Hawaii researcher joined a former Apollo astronaut yesterday in touting the mining of a resource on the moon that holds the promise of cheap, clean abundant energy on Earth.

The resource is helium-3, a rare isotope on Earth that is plentiful on the lunar surface due to billions of years of exposure to the solar wind.

Napa Valley Register | The Family Computer: Will streaming movies be next big thing?

Link: Napa Valley Register | The Family Computer: Will streaming movies be next big thing?.

It’s true the pace of change has accelerated, but this kind of  change is nothing new. Three big trends formed around Marconi’s invention of radio, Edison’s invention of motion pictures and Philo T. Farnsworth’s invention of the cathode ray tube, and they’ve been competing — and cooperating — ever since.

Fusion by Remote Control

Link: People’s Daily Online — China’s "artificial sun" discharged in transnational experiment.

China recently conducted a transnational remote controlled plasma discharge experiment with its new generation "artificial sun" device, formally known as an Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST), which has been built in Hefei, Anhui province. Through a dedicated data network, experts from General Atomics USA were easily able to start the nuclear fusion experimental installation from the other side of the globe with the click of a mouse.

Sono-fusion Mystery Persists

Link: The Strange Case of Dr. Rusi Taleyarkhan.

The Money Quote:

It would appear that Purdue University has done a thorough and careful investigation of claims of research misconduct in the case of Rusi Taleyarkhan, the scientist who claims to have used sonoluminescence of deuterated acetone to produce table-top-scale fusion. In the spirit of scientific openness and transparency, Purdue has decided to not make public the result of its investigation. So, either Taleyarkhan is legit, and Purdue is content to let his reputation suffer, or they think he’s a fraud, but are content not to tell the scientific community, or some mysterious third alternative. What on earth is Purdue’s administration thinking with this? Did they assume no one would notice?

Department of Energy Requests $24.3 Billion for FY 2008 Budget

You can’t live on $428-million/yr, but it’s a start…

Link: Department of Energy Requests $24.3 Billion for FY 2008 Budget.

DOE’s Office of Science budget also incorporates $428 million in funding for basic research in nuclear fusion, including the international fusion energy experimental reactor agreement, known as ITER;