Saturday, January 16, 2010

Letter from George Miley

George Miley sent this out to a bunch of IEC fans recently. I think he meant it as a bit of protest at the 100's of billions being spent on the ITER which most likely won't work, instead of the 100's of millions necessary to fund the IEC, which most likely would.

"Hi Mark and all – Happy New Year.

I would like to attend fusion day this year since the timing is very crucial as you say. However, prior commitments will prevent it.

I do have some comments about the topics you mention

1- At the FPA meeting in Dec Steve Koonin stated that fusion must move from science to engineering/tech development to have relevance in the energy crisis. He cited the NIF ignition in 1-2yrs as the signal for this chance. I asked “why wait?”. Anyway, we need to keep this in mind in the discussions.

2- As you know, I am very concerned about the alternate approach (ICC [IEC?]) funding and the US base program which have taken a big hit in recent time. I would personally argue that we we should stress the need for rebuilding this.

3- What about the fusion-fission hybrid based on the recent DOE workshop? Wonder what this is?

Just food for thought and discussion –



George H. Miley
Professor, UIUC
103 S. Goodwin ave.
Urbana, IL 61801

From: Haynes, Mark []
Sent: Monday, December 07, 2009 4:09 PM
To: a bunch o' folks...

After consulting with the just-released Congressional calendar for 2010, it appears that the best date for Fusion Day
next year will be Thursday, February 11th.

As in the past, the day will begin with a breakfast at the Tortilla Coast restaurant on Capitol Hill, followed by meetings with your Congressional delegation, a straggle-in-when-you-can lunch in the Longworth House Office Building food court, and then more meetings with your Congressional delegation.

Several things make next year a very important one for the fusion program: the ramp up of serious component fabrication and construction on ITER, the National Ignition Campaign on NIF, the unknowns of the President’s FY11 budget request, the possibility for fusion legislation in the House Committee on Science and Technology and the potential to grow more substantial fusion nuclear sciences and IFE programs. In sum, Congress will likely be seeing and presiding over a lot of change in the program in the next few years and the broader and deeper the understanding of these things, the better.

That’s where your participation in Fusion Day comes in. Those who have attended this day can testify to its importance as a means of informing Congress of the importance of fusion energy research and the issues facing it. Most (if not all) will tell you it’s a pretty interesting day and a pretty good time to boot.

So, please save the date on your calendar and plan to attend. As the date approaches, we will send you additional information. Meanwhile, let any of us know if you have any questions about the day or how to set up meetings with your delegation offices.

Chris Carter (Princeton U.) (202) 220-1365
Charlie Cooke (U of Texas) (202) 955-9091
Scott Kopple (Lawrence Livermore National Lab) (202) 947-6317
Paul Doucette (Battelle) (202) 646-7863
Abby Benson (MIT) (202) 789-1828
Mark Haynes (General Atomics) (202) 496-8209
Elizabeth Langdon-Gray (U of California) (202) 974-6310
David Sprenger (U of Colorado / Tech X) (703) 585-6810"

Sunday, June 7, 2009

13 Science Mysteries

This New Scientist article is a great overview of the following 13 mysteries, or "things that don't make sense" in science (although I don't think they should have included homeopathy):
  • The placebo effect
  • The horizon problem (of the Universe)
  • Ultra-energetic cosmic rays
  • Belfast homeopathy results
  • Dark matter
  • Viking's methane
  • Tetraneutrons
  • The Pioneer anomaly
  • Dark energy
  • The Kuiper cliff
  • The Wow signal
  • Not-so-constant constants
  • Cold fusion

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Store Your Data...For a BILLION YEARS!

Now we're talkin'; store those LOST episodes and family photos for a b-b-billion years.

So now we just need to encapsulate all our civilizations' combined knowledge in a vault somewhere with some self-replicating robot maintenance staff who can also train the sentient beings 1 gigayear hence how to read the darn stuff.

I like the comment about not buying it now because next year they'll come out with TWO billion year storage times.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

This post is sort of a collection of alternative fusion techniques (vs. tokamak) . I'll add more as I find them.

Inertial Electrostatic Confinement (IEC) reactors - aka "fusors"
The primary researchers as of late have been Robert Bussard (deceased) and George Miley. I met George at a Lockheed colloquium at the Advanced Technology Center in Palo Alto. He was trying to pitch a modified IEC that would basically have holes poked in it to create a thruster. I think his hope was that Lockheed (et al) would fund him, and then he would eventually get them to realize that, oh, by the way, if this is scaled up it's a fusion reactor! He recommended p-B11 as the fuel, because it tends to be aneutronic.

Levitated Dipole Experiment, (LDX) - MIT project that uses large suspended electromagnets.

Magnetized Target Fusion (MTF):
Saw this in the latest issue of Popular Science.
The company profiled in the article is General Fusion in Canada, led by Michael Laberge.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

On Plasma Propulsion

It turns out that the plasma cannon we were envisioning at our last meeting is pretty similar to a VASIMIR engine - notice the use of radio waves (similar to microwaves) to excite the plasma:

General definition of plasma propulsion engine:

Also, here are is an excellent paper on plasma propulsion - it has some other interesting ideas like using the magnetosphere for propulsion, and creating a mini-magnetosphere on spacecraft to protect from radiatio/cosmic rays, etc:

And then there's this recent story that's been going around, which Travis pointed out:

Also, here is an interesting site about using LTA (Lighter Than Air) technology to get to orbit, using a three step approach - A robust V-shaped wing craft to get to a floating station at 140k ft, where a lighter and more delicate (and streamlined) V-shaped wing craft with ion engines to slowly get to orbit in 5 days. It's a little hard to glean too much from their website, I had to buy their book "Floating to Orbit" to figure out what they were really up to:

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cool Science Toys Site

A potential source of future projects:

Friday, May 23, 2008

Another Lifter Link / Plasmoid Containment Idea

Lifter Link
This one's been around for a while too:
Amercian Antigravity

And hey, right at the top, there's a link to Bob Bussard's last lecture about fusors. It's all interconnected man...

Plasmoid Containment Idea
Have an idea regarding the microwave plasma experiment - possibly contain the plasma with an inverted lifter where the sides form a three-sided pyramid. Where the three planes of air currents converge, at the apex of the pyrimid, is where I imagine the plasmoid being contained. Another benefit is that the noxious Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) from the plasmoid might combine with the lifter's ozone (O3) to produce not-so-bad nitrate (NO3) and good ol' O2.