Life On Earth
Super-Powered X-Ray To Help in Study of Metals
Thanks to all the high-budget space programs, it's now much easier to get to Mars than to the center of the Earth, which is why the inside of our planet still remains a mystery for the most part. Scientists can estimate how metals react under the Earth's surface by heating them up, but that's far from enough because this process is inexact and difficult to execute. A super powerful x-ray facility recently built in Europe may very well change this and help us get a better look at what goes on in the center of our planet.
The European Synchrotron Radiation Facility is being prepared for experiments next Spring. It will utilize its state of the art ID24 beam to give scientists the ability to apply extreme pressures and temperatures onto metals to see how they react deep below ocean level. A powerful x-ray beam is fired at a sample of metal and then scientists observe how the metals absorb the beam. They basically heat a sample of iron up to 10000 degrees and watch what happens.
This kind of technology will be a great help to scientists doing research on metals and how they behave deep underground. This will help shed some light on the magnetic field generated by the Earth's dynamo.
The facility, located in Grenoble, France, is obscenely expensive to maintain. The ID24 beam is just part of a recent 250 million dollar upgrade to the ESRF.
Written by: Denis Ivanov
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