Joined: 25 Nov 01
Quite a feat and rather interesting both for spacecraft and here on Earth:
Solar Wind Energy Source Discovered
... The discovery was made by a group of astronomers trying to solve a decades-old mystery: What heats and accelerates the solar wind?
The solar wind is a hot and fast flow of magnetized gas that streams away from the sun's upper atmosphere. It is made of hydrogen and helium ions with a sprinkling of heavier elements. Researchers liken it to the steam from a pot of water boiling on a stove; the sun is literally boiling itself away.
“But,” says Adam Szabo of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, “solar wind does something that steam in your kitchen never does. As steam rises from a pot, it slows and cools. As solar wind leaves the sun, it accelerates, tripling in speed as it passes through the corona. Furthermore, something inside the solar wind continues to add heat even as it blows into the cold of space."
Finding that "something" has been a goal of researchers for decades. ...
... hiding in a dataset from one of NASA's oldest active spacecraft, a solar probe named Wind...
Also rather interesting for fusion power to power whatever...
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Joined: 8 Feb 01
NASA has it wrong. The solar wind is not a stream of hot gas it's a plasma. Plasma is the fourth state of matter and consists of + ions and - ions. In other words, the Sun isn't a ball of hot gas but a ball of plasma.
Therefore, a stream of ions accelerating along the sun's magnetic field is an electric current. In a plasma both the + ions and - ions can flow to produce an electrical current. In a regular solid metal wire only the electrons can move from atom to atom to produce a current.
NASA seriously needs to brush up on it's Plasma Physics and Electrical Engineering.
Joined: 25 Dec 00
After you left school they found some more states of matter.
NASA said "magnetic gas" that is a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_of_matter#Magnetically_ordered state of a gas.
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