Strange happening on Mars [explained]

Devil Girl from Mars (1954)

The moons of Mars are not quite like our Earth’s Moon. Phobos, the larger of the two, is much closer to its planet; compared to the Moon’s 27-day orbit, Phobos swings around Mars in line with the planet’s equator thrice every Martian day (sol).

Solar eclipses, therefore, are much more frequent than those here on Earth. Phobos passes in front of – but never entirely covers – the Sun for an annular or partial eclipse somewhere on Mars most sols. Because Phobos is moving so fast, it never transits for more than 30 seconds…

To the surprise of Mars scientists, during Phobos eclipses, the lander’s seismometer – the instrument that records ground motions to monitor possible quake activity – tilts, just an infinitesimal little bit, towards one side.

Take a guess at why this occurs. Then, RTFA, and get the real scoop. [Cripes…I almost said “nitty-gritty”. How’s that for dating myself?]

Convert coal-fired power plants to zero-emissions “Lego” blocks


New jobs for old coal-fired generating stations

…A new energy storage technology invented in Australia could enable coal-fired power stations to run entirely emissions-free.

The novel material, called miscibility gap alloy (MGA), stores energy in the form of heat. MGA is housed in small blocks of blended metals, which receive energy generated by renewables such as solar and wind…

The energy can then be used as an alternative to coal to run steam turbines at coal-fired power stations, without producing emissions. Stackable like Lego, MGA blocks can be added or removed, scaling electricity generation up or down to meet demand.

MGA blocks are a fraction of the cost of a rival energy storage technology, lithium-ion batteries.

If our electricity grid is to become emissions-free, we need an energy storage option that’s both affordable and versatile enough to be rolled out at massive scale – providing six to eight hours of dispatchable power every night.

MGAs store energy for a day to a week. This fills a “middle” time frame between batteries and hydro-power, and allows intermittent renewable energy to be dispatched when needed.

RTFA for the operational details. Cost of conversion and operational lifetime for these blocks are a couple of serious advantages the system offers. Looking forward to the pilot plant tests…starting the second half of 2021.

Thanks, Honeyman