Did you know: the Earth produces 44 trillion watts of heat

core-movie-poster

In these boiling days of July, it’s easy to blame the sun for our high electric bills, but scientists have discovered that 44 terawatts, or 44 trillion watts, of heat continually flow from inside the Earth’s core and mantle into space. Using 20,000 boreholes across the globe, researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and KamLAND are figuring out exactly what causes our planet to produce so much heat.

While we know (or we’re 97 percent certain) that the radioactive decay of potassium, thorium, and uranium comprise about half of the Earth’s heat, KamLAND scientists have published findings in Nature Geoscience (press release) that give a far more precise look at what goes on deep below our feet. Using what’s called a KamLAND anti-neutrino detector, which is a vessel filed with a thousand metric tons of scintillating mineral oil and linted with 1,800 photomultiplier tubes,” the researchers continually look for neutrinos (they’re practically invisible) by detecting antineutrinos. We’ll save you the complicated science behind it all, but using this detector, we now have a much more precise breakdown of what causes the Earth’s heat. The problem is that we can still only account for about half of it.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Uranium and Thorium: 20 terawatts
  • Other isotope decays: 3 terawatts
  • Still unknown: 21 terawatts

Before this study, we had far more imprecise estimates that still accounted for only 20 terawatts of heat. So what’s causing all this heat? Well, we don’t exactly know yet, but now we can rule out one culprit: “One thing we can say with near certainty is that radioactive decay alone is not enough to account for Earth’s heat energy, said Stuart Freedman of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Berkeley Lab. “Whether the rest is primordial heat or comes from some other source is an unanswered question.”

Emerging Tech

Brightest quasar ever seen discovered by Hubble, may be star-producing machine

The brightest quasar even seen has been observed with the Hubble Space Telescope using a technique called strong gravitational lensing. The quasar is enormously energetic and may be producing thousands of stars per year.
Emerging Tech

Scientists debate mysterious flash of light in space, known as ‘The Cow’

On June 16, 2018 there was an unusual flash in the sky which puzzled astronomers around the world. NASA researchers have been collecting data on the event and have shared two competing theories for what could have caused it.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Norsemen’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Emerging Tech

Robots can now carry out plutonium production process for space exploration

Plutonium-238 is a crucial component in deep space exploration to the outer reaches of our Solar System. The only problem? We've been running low on our stockpiles. Perhaps until now.
Emerging Tech

Lasers and bovine breathalyzer help determine how much methane cows produce

Cow farts and belches don't sound like catastrophic threats, but they contribute to the massive amounts of methane in the atmosphere. Recently, scientists set out to establish the numbers.
Emerging Tech

Researchers discover a way to make 3D printing 100 times faster using light

Researchers at the University of Michigan have invented a new method of 3D printing which is up to 100 times faster than conventional 3D-printing processes. Here's how it works and why it could prove a game-changer for 3D printing.
Emerging Tech

Yamaha’s new app lets you tune your motorcycle with a smartphone

It used to be that if you wanted to tune your motorcycle’s engine and tweak its performance, you needed specialized tools and even more specialized knowledge. Yamaha’s new Power Tuner app changes that.
Emerging Tech

Why wait? Here are some CES 2019 gadgets you can buy right now

Companies come to CES to wow us with their cutting edge technology, but only a few products are slated to hit the market right away. Here is our list of the best CES 2019 tech you can buy right now.
Emerging Tech

Drones: New rules could soon allow flights over people and at night

With commercial operators in mind, the U.S. government is looking to loosen restrictions on drone flights with a set of proposals that would allow the machines greater freedom to fly over populated areas and also at night.
Emerging Tech

Short film celebrates New Yorker’s amazing robot costumes

New York City resident Peter Kokis creates stunning robot costumes out of household trash. His designs are huge, heavy, and extremely intricate, and never fail to turn heads when he's out and about.
Emerging Tech

In a first for humankind, China is growing plants on the moon

Having recently landed a probe on the far side of the moon, China announced that it managed to grow the first plant on the moon, too. Here's why that matters for deep space travel.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.
Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Emerging Tech

Want to know which drones are flying near you? There’s an app for that

Want to know what that mysterious drone buzzing over your head is up to? A new system developed by AirMap, Google Wing, and Kittyhawk.io could soon tell you -- via a map on your phone.