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apolloman
2008-Nov-05, 10:26 AM
I regret asking another question (there seem to be so many lately) but can't find any references on the web.

Would it be theoretically possible to manufacture some sort of cosmic ray panel and harness the energy of cosmic rays much like we do with solar panels ? I have a feeling they too energetic to harness but would like to understand the principles.

Thanks as always.

neilzero
2008-Nov-05, 02:04 PM
Possible, but not practical is my guess. If we are en route to Mars, One side of the ship is in sunlight and the other side is perhaps 5 degrees k. We can boil a fluid on the warm side, use the vapor to turn a turbine, and condense the vapor output from the turbine on the cold side. Besides the cosmic rays, we are using the electrons, helium nucleus, photons, etc to keep the warm side warm. If the warm side is thick enough, perhaps 1% of the energy is from cosmic rays. Neil

apolloman
2008-Nov-05, 02:07 PM
Has Tesla's Apparatus for the Utilization of Radiant Energy got anything to do with this ? From what I remember, he wanted to harness the energy of cosmic rays and even patented some designs (like the one above).

PraedSt
2008-Nov-05, 02:13 PM
Interesting question, wish I knew the answer! Cosmic rays are mainly protons I think, rather than EM radiation. And although each are individually energetic, I don't think we get enough of them to do anything useful. Also, I don't know if many of them make it through our atmosphere. Anyway, all of this might be wrong, so I'll be lurking...

apolloman
2008-Nov-05, 03:06 PM
well PraedSt I was under the impression that we are literally bombarded all the time by cosmic rays - and that these particles were so highly energized they can't be stopped.

I know there's no such thing as a free lunch but I thought this could be quite a food voucher...

Lets see what the technical guys say.

PraedSt
2008-Nov-05, 03:09 PM
You might well be right Apollo. I'm waiting for the technical guys too :)

cjameshuff
2008-Nov-05, 04:40 PM
well PraedSt I was under the impression that we are literally bombarded all the time by cosmic rays - and that these particles were so highly energized they can't be stopped.

The particle energies are high enough that it is difficult to gather that energy, but that could be done with a variation on magnetohydrodynamic generation. The problem is that though the individual particles have high energy, there aren't enough of them to provide useful power. Gathering the particle radiation from the sun would yield a tiny fraction of the power available from the electromagnetic radiation, and the particle radiation coming from deep space is infinitesimal in comparison to that. Consider the difference between a sunny day, and the auroras produced by particle radiation gathered by the Earth's magnetic field and concentrated at the poles...

mugaliens
2008-Nov-05, 04:41 PM
well PraedSt I was under the impression that we are literally bombarded all the time by cosmic rays - and that these particles were so highly energized they can't be stopped.

Perhaps, but with respect to being able to extract energy from them, the difference between solar energy and cosmic rays is like the difference between filling up a hydroelectric resevior with rainfall and trying to extract energy from micrometeorites. Individually, the meteorites pack a much greater wallop than a rain drop, but the real money when it comes to energy production is using that fallen rain to drive an electric turbine.

trinitree88
2008-Nov-05, 05:54 PM
Most of the cosmic rays at ground level are secondaries, generated when cosmic rays strike atmospheric atoms or molecules, much like in a linear accelerator...beam & targets. The absolute magnitude of it at the top of the atmosphere is ~ twice the light intensity from the CMB I believe. (My recollection is from the book..."Thinking Physics" by Epstein?, UCal SF? pete.:doh:

Yup, Epstein. here:http://www.amazon.com/Thinking-Physics-Understandable-Practical-Reality/dp/0935218084

apolloman
2008-Nov-06, 01:12 PM
So it is possible to harness the energy of these rays just that its not worth it....

Thanks guys, always something to learn.

Looks like you were right PraedSt.:)


Just had another thought: how about in intergalactic space ? could it be a theoretical idea for generating power ?

PraedSt
2008-Nov-06, 01:22 PM
Shocking, I know...

PraedSt
2008-Nov-06, 01:24 PM
Just had another thought: how about in intergalactic space ? could it be a theoretical idea for generating power ?

Intergalactic? Between galaxies? Might be less feasible Apollo, no stars there.

If you mean intragalctic, again, might be less feasible, stars are too far away.

apolloman
2008-Nov-06, 01:40 PM
yeah, thanks for the correction .. i meant intragalactic :doh:
Less stars ? hmmm, what about the galactic centre ? Aren't there like HUGE numbers of stars there.... coming to think of it, in such a case solar panels would be better with all the EM radiation about...
So no use for cosmic rays panels...well thats the end of that business enterprise.:(

John Mendenhall
2008-Nov-06, 05:23 PM
So no use for cosmic rays panels...well that's the end of that business enterprise.

(

No free lunch. (sigh) Isn't thermodynamics depressing?

Regards, John M.

trinitree88
2008-Nov-06, 07:49 PM
No free lunch. (sigh) Isn't thermodynamics depressing?

Regards, John M.

John. Actually, no. Recent simulations show that high energy impacts of cosmic rays on dust/sand cause the emission of Bremstrahlung as microwaves. Since cosmic rays have still not been firmly located. though associations for the highest energy ones with AGN shows up in the Pierre Auger stats, the distant cosmic rays ought to be sending us a diffuse background of microwaves from the surface of the distant galaxies..(there are ~ a million galaxies per square degree of sky, so thats pretty smooth).
Epstein's quote of an energy density about double that of the CMB puts the mechanism in contention for a viable source of a background.It is interesting, but not definitive that the cosmic background is of the same order of magnitude as the CMB in energy units.


see:http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1200/is_13_159/ai_75819537/pg_1

David Saltzburg, UCLA, S.L.A.C, Physical Review Letters, March 26. 2001