Airlander 10 Hybrid Aircraft Test Flight in March

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Via the Independent:

A groundbreaking aircraft, thought to be one of the biggest ever made, will be taking off for its first test-flight in the UK in March.

The Airlander 10, a hybrid aeroplane and helicopter invention, measures 92m in length, 43.5m in width and 26m in height.

Developed by Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), the aircraft has the ability to fly at 20,000 feet. But for its maiden voyage, it will be restricted to gliding within 15 nautical-miles of its hanger in Cardington, Bedfordshire, flying no higher than 4,000ft, no faster than 45mph and for no longer than two hours.

But if all goes well in the gentle test-drive, it could mark the start of a new era of passenger-flying, said Chris Daniels, head of partnerships at HAV.

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Airlander 10 Hybrid Aircraft Test Flight in March

World’s Largest Solar Plant to Power 1 Million Home

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Via Boy Genius Report:

Solar power obviously isn’t the solution for every place on Earth, but for regions that largely consist of arid deserts it can deliver a lot of juice. Such is the case with the Noor Concentrated Solar Power that just switched on in Morocco and that is projected to produce enough power to meet the needs of 1.1 million people by 2018.

The complex uses concentrating solar power that can be stored for future use on nights and cloudy days. Right now it has an installed capacity of 160 megawatts (MW) but in two years it’s expected to have its capacity expanded to over 500 MW. Climate Investment Funds estimates that “the plant will reduce carbon emissions by 760,000 tons per year, which could result in an estimated reduction of over 17.5 million tons of carbon emissions over 25 years.”

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World’s Largest Solar Plant to Power 1 Million Home

The Next Thing for Musk? Maybe a VTOL Electric Jet

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Via International Business Times:

Speaking at the Hyperloop event, Musk answered the question of what his next “great idea” will be, by saying: “I’ve been thinking about the vertical-take off and landing electric jet a bit more. I think I have something that might close. I’m quite tempted to do something about it.” Musk’s comments were initially met with quiet laughter, then cheers and applause as the audience realised he was being serious.

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The Next Thing for Musk? Maybe a VTOL Electric Jet

Elon Musk to unveil Mars plans this year

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Via Ars Technica:

For the last few months rumors have been swirling within the aerospace community about how the company would soon unveil an ambitious architecture that will allow it to begin human missions to Mars within a decade. In response to those rumors, a company source told Ars that nothing was “imminent,” and that appears to be true.

During the forum, uploaded to YouTube, Musk said, “I’m hoping to describe that architecture later this year at IAC … and I think that will be quite exciting.” This year’s International Astronautical Conference will be held in Guadalajara, Mexico, from September 26 to 30. This may include discussion of both a super-heavy rocket as well as starships that could ferry large numbers of people from Earth to Mars, known as the Mars Colonial Transporter.

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Elon Musk to unveil Mars plans this year

France to pave 1,000km of road with solar panels

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Via globalconstructionreview.com:

Ségolène Royal, France’s minister of ecology and energy, has said that the government intends to pave 1,000km of road with photovoltaic panels in the next five years, supplying power to millions of people.

The minister told a conference of transport authorities last week that the tenders for the “Positive Energy” initiative had already been issued and the tests on the panels would begin in the spring.

According to France’s Agency of Environment and Energy Management, 4m of solarised road is enough to supply one household’s electricity needs, apart from heating, and one kilometre will light a settlement with 5,000 inhabitants.

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France to pave 1,000km of road with solar panels

China Releases True Color HD Photos Of The Moon

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Via TechCrunch:

Anyone can create a user account on China’s Science and Application Center for Moon and Deepspace Exploration website to download the pictures themselves. The process is a bit cumbersome and the connection to the website is spotty if you’re accessing it outside of China.

Luckily, Emily Lakdawalla from the Planetary Society spent the last week navigating the Chinese database and is currently hosting a suite of China’s lunar images on the Planetary Society Website.

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China Releases True Color HD Photos Of The Moon