Making Stars on Earth

Nuclear fusion is the reason our sun shines. It’s the process by which two atomic nuclei fuse into one, heavier nuclei—and the process by which stars produce energy. The heart of our Sun is a vast powerhouse, where the nuclear fusion of two hydrogen atoms into one helium atom radiates huge amounts of energy. Earth’s current nuclear reactors use nuclear fission, which produces energy by splitting one atom into two. This process creates harmful radioactive waste, but nuclear fusion is cleaner, safer, and more efficient. If we could effectively build our own star here on Earth—our own celestial power plant—we would have access to unlimited clean energy, but although decades of research has created glimpses of fusion reactions such as the JET (Joint European Torus) experimental fusion reactor pictured above, we have yet to learn how to usefully harness this energy. But what we’ve managed to create so far is still amazing. In Brian Cox’s words: “Scientists have learned how to create and hold star matter—a cocktail of gases heated to 100 million degrees. For a moment, a little piece of the sun springs into life on the Earth.”

(Image Credit: Wonders of the Universe)

#ActOnClimate because our kids and grandkids should be able to enjoy beautiful places like these.

The EPA today released a proposal that will set the first-ever national carbon pollution standards limits for America’s existing power plants. Find out how the rules will make our communities healthier, and learn more about the President’s plan to cut carbon pollution in America.

Today, post photos of your favorite places, of places where you and your family get outdoors, and tag with #ActOnClimate.  We’ll post our favorites here on My Public Lands Tumblr!

View more beautiful BLM-managed places on the BLM’s My Public Lands Flickr site; photos here by Bob Wick, BLM Wilderness Specialist.
Watch on markruffalo.tumblr.com

4-7 million people die a year from fossil fuel pollution. A Fossil Fuel Free World is Possible.


World’s largest concentrated solar plant switches on in the Sahara

Morocco has switched on what will be the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant.

The new site near the city of Ouarzazate – famous as a filming location for Hollywood blockbusters like “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Gladiator” – could produce enough energy to power over one million homes by 2018 and reduce carbon emissions by an estimated 760,000 tons per year, according to the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) finance group… [+]

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World’s Largest Solar Farm

This is an image of the Topaz Solar Farm in California - the largest photovoltaic power station on Earth.

Construction began in 2011 and was completed in November 2014. The surface area of the farm is over 25 square kilometres - about a third the size of Manhattan - and can power 180,000 homes.

From the ground, the rows and rows of solar cells seem to stretch on forever. But this Landsat photo shows the true extent of the farm.


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Image: Jesse Allen/Earth Observatory/NASA