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Dr. Evil would be proud of The University of Texas's petawatt laser.
The lasers at night, are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas

The most powerful laser in the world was announced at the University of Texas at Austin last week. The massively powerful laser is rated at one petawatt and is the only petawatt laser operating in the United States.

A petawatt is one quadrillion watts and when the laser is turned on it generates the power output of more than 2,000 times all of the power plants in America according to Todd Ditmire a physicist at the university.

Ditmire goes on to say that the laser is brighter than sunlight on the surface of the sun when activated. For those wondering how exactly the university keeps from bursting into flames when the laser is on Ditmire says that the laser is activated for a 10th of a trillionth of a second (0.0000000000001 second).

Researchers at the University of Texas plan to use the massive laser to create environments similar to extreme conditions in the universe. The researchers plan to study gases at temperatures greater than those in the sun and solids at billions of atmospheres of pressure.

The researchers also say that they plan to create mini-supernovas, tabletop stars and very high-density plasmas that mimic brown dwarfs. The powerful laser will also allow the study of advanced ideas for creating energy by controlled fusion.



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RE: Pew pew pew!
By freeagle on 4/8/2008 3:55:36 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
(Titan has more oil than Earth)


AFAIK, you need plants, corpses, biological material in order to create crude oil... I havent heard of any extra-terrestrial life-forms


RE: Pew pew pew!
By therealnickdanger on 4/8/2008 4:06:03 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Pew pew pew!
By Etsp on 4/8/2008 4:14:14 PM , Rating: 2
Thats hydrocarbons, not oil. Oil is formed from decomposed plant life, hydrocarbons are atoms that consist solely of Hydrogen and Carbon, and are usually(almost always?) flammable(in the presence of O2). An example of hydrocarbons would be Methane, or Ethane, and also Octane. "Titan has hundreds of times more liquid hydrocarbons than all the known oil and natural gas reserves on Earth" This does NOT mean oil. It is an oil alternative, like natural gas (natural gas being a combination of hydrocarbons, it is exactly like it).


RE: Pew pew pew!
By masher2 (blog) on 4/8/2008 4:35:46 PM , Rating: 1
> "Thats hydrocarbons, not oil. Oil is formed from decomposed plant life"

Not quite. A small portion of the petroleum even here on earth is formed through non-biological processes. There is even a controversial theory (which I do not subscribe to, for the record) that the majority of terrestial oil is abiotic in origin, formed in a similar process to those hydrocarbons on Titan.


RE: Pew pew pew!
By freeagle on 4/8/2008 6:08:07 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
A small portion of the petroleum even here on earth is formed through non-biological processes


That's also a theory, but with very little support


RE: Pew pew pew!
By masher2 (blog) on 4/8/2008 6:26:17 PM , Rating: 1
> "That's also a theory, but with very little support "

The fact that trace amounts of petroleum have abiotic origins is well established.

What has very little support is the theory that those amounts are significant, with a (very) few geologists believing they comprise the majority of deposits.


RE: Pew pew pew!
By KaPolski on 4/9/2008 3:21:38 PM , Rating: 2
Erm the Fischer-Tropsch process allows you to artificially create petroleum and the likes, it was developped during the second world war...


RE: Pew pew pew!
By Etsp on 4/8/2008 4:09:25 PM , Rating: 2
I think what he was referring to is the lakes of hydrocarbons near the polar regions. Of which there is quite a bit of.


RE: Pew pew pew!
By xxsk8er101xx on 4/8/2008 10:10:04 PM , Rating: 2
Not to mention that its a joke to begin with.

Gas oil w/e it's energy - the joke makes sense.

Now move on...


RE: Pew pew pew!
By xxsk8er101xx on 4/8/2008 10:05:16 PM , Rating: 2
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassini/media/ca...

"Titan is just covered in carbon-bearing material -- it's a giant factory of organic chemicals," said Lorenz.

... ya


RE: Pew pew pew!
By CubicleDilbert on 4/9/2008 4:25:46 PM , Rating: 2
I think that, after so much scientific research in the past 15 years, it is safe now to claim the fact that oil is of geological and not of fossil origin.

Types of coal (black, brown, anthrazit etc.) are 100% of fossil origin. Their layers reflect exactly their geological source from old forests 200-250 Mio years ago, along with all various sedimentations.

Oil, on the other hand is mainly found in depths were never ever have been any biological remnants to form oil. Actually, most oil wells are found in cracks in the earth's upper crust. Oil rises from a much deeper depths to the surface due to its lighter weight and intense geological pressure in 100-10kms.
Unfortunately we still learn in school the very same old theory just like 100 years ago when oil and coal were discovered.
The fact that vast amounts of complex carbon molecules can nowodays be found in comets and various other moons around Jupiter simply proof that oil can certainly be of non-biolgical origin. That's what I learned from reading a lot of scientific literature about that topic.


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