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Electrifying: Giant futuristic ‘Tesla Tower’ in abandoned woods near Moscow

No, it’s not an alien colony, a time machine, or even a Russian version of America’s ionospheric HAARP program. But in a forest near Moscow, this Soviet-era “lightning machine” has a capacity arguably equal to Russia’s entire electricity output.

Electrifying Giant futuristic 'Tesla Tower' in abandoned woods near Moscow

Bloggers flock to see this technical marvel, which has been dubbed the “High Voltage Marx and Tesla Generators Research Facility.” The testing range, a branch of the Russian Electrical Engineering Institute, is in the sleepy town of Istra, 40 kilometers west of Moscow.

Photo from www.jerusaleem.ru

Photo from www.jerusaleem.ru

It is situated in a relatively small forest next to the New Jerusalem Monastery on the edge of town.

Image from Google Maps

Image from Google Maps

The secret, open-air, high-voltage testing device was constructed in the late 1970s for testing insulators to protect vehicles, aircrafts and electronic equipment against lightning.

Photo from www.esosedi.ru

Photo from www.esosedi.ru

The facility is absolutely unique; nothing like it exists anywhere in the world, primarily because of its outstanding charge capacity. At its peak operating capacity the giant Marx generator, when lightning is discharged onto an isolated platform, has power equal to all power generation facilities in Russia – including thermoelectric, hydroelectric, nuclear, solar, and wind power stations combined. But only for about 100 microseconds, Rossiya-1 TV reported.

The Marx Generator was named after German electrical engineer Erwin Otto Marx, who described it back in 1924. In Russia it’s known as the Arkadyev-Marx generator, as Russian physicist Vladimir Arkadyev and his co-worker, renowned scientific film director Nikolay Baklin, constructed a so-called “lightning machine” 10 years earlier, in 1914.

Photo from www.esosedi.ru

Photo from www.esosedi.ru

The Istra “lightning machine,” unparalleled in its discharge capacity, consists of a 3 Megawatt capacity transformer cascade; a 9 Megawatt Pulsed Voltage Generator (PVG), measuring 39.3 meters high, capable of creating 150-meter artificial lightning, believed to be largest in the world; and a 2.25 Megawatt constant voltage unit.

Photo from www.4turista.ru

Photo from www.4turista.ru

The test bench discharges a lightning of a desired capacity on a special heavily isolated platform, on which a device or a material being tested is placed. The platform is full of sensors showing how exactly the electric discharge affected the tested object.

Photo from www.esosedi.ru

Photo from www.esosedi.ru

When the facility is operating, the static charge in the “hot zone” is so large that the hair of anyone present bristles. In a TV report made for Rossiya-1 TV, staff said that once a nosy observer intruded into the facility and entered the testing ground right in the middle of a experiment, when condensers were charged to the maximum.

“God only knows how this guy remained alive and wasn’t struck by a discharge,” said Vladimir Sysoev, a leading research worker at the facility.

Photo from www.esosedi.ru

Photo from www.esosedi.ru

Others say that lightning is still a matter for deep exploration, and that several trees burned to a crisp around the test bench serve as a reminder that lightning is very hard to control.

Photo from www.borshec.ru

Photo from www.borshec.ru

The Istra research center has conducted many tests since Soviet times. Among the latest carried out were lightning protection tests for Russia’s Sukhoi Superjet aircraft.

Photo from www.esosedi.ru

Photo from www.esosedi.ru

As the facility is really expensive to operate, it is only turned on for special occasions.

Photo from www.borshec.ru

Photo from www.borshec.ru

Unlike the famous High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) facility in the US, the Marx generator in Istra was never meant to modulate the weather, yet like HAARP it was involved in designing weapons for the future.

Photo from www.4turista.ru

Photo from www.4turista.ru

Next to the research facility there is another test center, called “Allure.” It is a stationary simulator of the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) needed to test the sturdiness of military and civilian aviation hardware to impulse electromagnetic fields of a natural and artificial nature.

An EMP created by a nuclear explosion is capable of terminally damaging electronic equipment, so the capability of creating an artificial EMP, particularly without exploding a nuclear device, is valuable in a military sense. That’s why an EMP weapon is a general’s dream in any country.

Photo from www.ausairpower.net

Photo from www.ausairpower.net

The Allure complex was set to become a part of a grandiose scientific building, with a dome 118.4 meters high and 236.5 meters wide, but when the construction was nearly ready, the behemoth structure imploded, collapsing on the early morning of Jan. 25, 1985. The building was never reconstructed, though its circular base could be seen from space (coordinates 55° 55’ 8”N, +36° 49’ 7”E).

Photo from wikimapia.org

Photo from wikimapia.org

Though the dome crumbled because of mistakes in its construction, the collapse had unintended historical consequences.

The high-ranking Soviet Communist Party official in Moscow supervising the construction of the Istra dome was fired from his job and sent to a remote posting as punishment.

He was replaced with fellow Communist apparatchik Boris Yeltsin, who was invited to work in Moscow and eventually became Russia’s first president.

Science & Technology

Japan has developed an inflatable scooter that weighs practically nothing

The University of Tokyo engineers have developed the Poimo inflatable electric scooter, which is created individually for each owner. It is enough to send your photo to the manufacturers – and a personal optimized model will be assembled for you.

The scooter is designed with a special program for the body size of a particular user and his specific fit. Moreover, each owner is free to make any changes to this model. If he makes any changes to the drawing, the program will automatically redesign the electric bike to maintain its strength, stability and controllability. When the model is finished and approved, it is handed over to the manufacturer.

Scooter Poimo

The scooter consists of seven separate inflatable sections that are constructed from durable fabric and sewn with straight stitch. It remains to add electronic components – in particular, a brushless motor and a lithium-ion battery. 

The finished electric scooter weighs about 9 kg and can travel at speeds up to 6 km / h (that is, slightly faster than a pedestrian). It can work for an hour on one charge.

This is how the current version of Poimo looks like in action:

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Science & Technology

Excerpts from Elon Musk’s speech at the Martian Society convention

Elon Musk’s comments with questions relayed from the Mars Society Membership by Dr. Robert Zubrin, James L. Burk, and Carie Fay. Following Elon’s 30 min time, Dr. Zubrin took additional questions. This special event was part of the 2020 Mars Society Virtual Convention from October 14-18, 2020.

About Starship Test Schedule:

– entering orbit – with a probability of 80% -90% will take place in 2021

– the probability of the return of the ship and the 1st stage in this flight is 50%

– test of refueling in orbit – 2022

– Starship lunar version – 2022 or 2023

– Starship flight to Mars – around 2024

The goal of the Starship is to build a self-sufficient settlement on Mars as quickly as possible. Musk does not rule out the possibility that this will not be achieved during his lifetime. According to his rough estimates, to create a self-sufficient city, it will be necessary to deliver 1 million tons of cargo, which corresponds to 4-5 million tons in a low Earth orbit. Modern single-use launch vehicles are capable of removing less than 1% of this value.

“Disposable launch vehicles are completely stupid. They are a waste of time. I think people need to stop wasting time on this. If you try to sell a disposable plane, you will be thrown out of the office. If you try to sell a disposable car, you will also be thrown out of the office. “

A series of questions and answers followed:

What is the best landing site on Mars?

– I’m not sure about that. But I can name the criteria. The first of these is latitude: most likely it will be in the northern hemisphere, far enough to the north to have water ice, but to still have enough sunlight.It also needs to be low to get the most benefit from atmospheric braking.

How do you prioritize mission priorities: research, infrastructure construction, and science?

– The first will be the construction of a fuel plant.

A question from a teenager who wants to become an engineer and robot maker with a dream to work at SpaceX: what is the most important education in order to become an engineer?

– There are many varieties of this profession: you can be an aerospace engineer, in the field of electronics, software, or a chemical engineer involved in creating safe production of fuels. I think physics is a good foundation for critical thinking.

Boring Company was originally conceived as a tunnel manufacturing firm on Mars?

– No. It was originally something of a joke. I thought tunnels were a good solution to reduce the traffic problem in cities and improve the quality of life by turning parking lots into green parks. To do this, you need to go to 3d [get away from the “flat” infrastructure – approx. per.]. I think tunnels are good for Mars too. But there you need a lot lighter equipment: you don’t care about mass on Earth, but you will have to take care of it a lot when going to Mars.

At Boring Company, have you learned a lot of technology that might come in handy on Mars?

– I think, yes.

Do you have any tips for young people who love Mars but don’t know how to participate in its settlement?

– I think any strong advocate of the need to conquer Mars matters. People often don’t even think about it. I often talk to people who don’t even know about it. Therefore, I consider it important for humanity and consciousness in general to bring a discussion about this to society. Talking about it with friends and acquaintances – I think this is what we should do. In my estimate, we will spend less than 1% of our efforts on Mars exploration, exactly less than healthcare, perhaps even less than cosmetics – this will be enough to make life multi-planetary. But this requires people to start talking about it 100 times more often. I think this is what really matters. [the entire cosmonautics of the world is $ 424 billion a year, while cosmetics is $ 532 billion, and tobacco production is $ 849 billion – approx. per.]

What’s the coolest part about Starship development?

– I think the coolest detail is the ability to work with a great group of engineers and come up with interesting solutions. I think the best thing is the opportunity to work with smart and creative people who come up with solutions that were not available before. This is a great reward.

What do you focus on when hiring, especially with regard to engineers?

“We’re looking for signs of exceptional ability. Or at the very least, striving to do exceptional things at SpaceX.

Are you planning to make a Mars-Earth communication system like Starlink?

– Yes, I think we will use a laser, probably launched into orbit, to avoid atmospheric diffraction. Thus, it will be a laser beam going from the orbit of the Earth to the orbit of Mars. And also relay satellites in solar orbit, since the laser beam cannot be sent through the Sun [when it is between Mars and Earth – approx. per.].

Can Starship be used for other destinations like Venus and other planets?

– Starship will be able to travel to any target in the solar system that has a solid surface when fuel depots appear. It is not the kind of transport that will take us to other stars, but when we become a multi-planetary species, we will create a demand for innovation in space travel that will ultimately lead us to interstellar travel.

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Science & Technology

Cern Scientists Plan an Impressive Experiment – They Will Come Into A Parallel Universe

Cern scientists are once again preparing to impress the entire planet and become the focus of discussions with the new experiment they are planning.

An experiment that, if it brings the fascinating result that scientists have in mind,  will change the way we think about the world , will take place in the next few days at the Large Hadron Collider, the European nuclear center, Geneva CERN Research.

The astonishingly LHC complex, the largest, most energetic elemental accelerator in the world,  will be “fired” for the first time to its highest energy levels, in an effort to detect – or even create – tiny black holes. 

If it succeeds, then, a completely new universe will be revealed – rewriting not only the books of physics, but also the books of philosophy! 

It is possible, however,  that gravity from our universe will “leak” into this parallel universe, as LHC scientists say. 

From the Higgs boson to dark matter and the parallel universe

According to the British Express, the experiment is sure to “trigger” the critics, who are worried about the LHC, many of whom warn that the elementary particle accelerator will mark the end of our universe, creating a of the black hole.

Nevertheless,  Geneva has remained … intact since 2008, when the LHC began its spectacular “work”.

The first scientists at the Large Hadron Collider proved the existence of the Higgs boson – a key building block of the universe – and the LHC appears to be on track to locate “dark matter” – a previously undetectable force now considered that it constitutes the majority of matter in the universe, being, in fact, the reason why the latter is constantly expanding and moving away. 

So next week’s experiment is considered to change the game. 

The truth is out there

Mir Faizal, one of three heads of the three natural groups behind the experiment, said: 

“Like many parallel sheets, which are two-dimensional objects (width and length) can exist in a third dimension (height) , so parallel universes can also exist in higher dimensions. We anticipate that gravity can leak into extra dimensions, and if that happens, then tiny black holes can be produced in the LHC. 

Normally, when people think of the multiverse, they think of the interpretation of quantum mechanics by many worlds, where every possibility is realized. This cannot be tested and so it is a philosophy and not a science. We do not mean this with parallel universes. What we mean is real universes, in extra dimensions. The truth is out there.”

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