The Smart Grid

An IEEE Spectrum Special Report

1 min read

Taking the latest in computing and communications technology to make the electrical system more interactive, efficient, and robust is not a new idea. What’s new is that suddenly more than 10 billion federal dollars are being poured into it. But all that money will be well spent only if regulators are as inventive and intelligent as transmission and distribution engineers have been.

Read The Smart Grid special report here

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China Aims for a Permanent Moon Base in the 2030s

Lunar megaproject to be a stepping-stone to the solar system

6 min read
Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

On 3 January 2019, the Chinese spacecraft Chang'e-4 descended toward the moon. Countless craters came into view as the lander approached the surface, the fractal nature of the footage providing no sense of altitude. Su Yan, responsible for data reception for the landing at Miyun ground station, in Beijing, was waiting—nervously and in silence with her team—for vital signals indicating that optical, laser, and microwave sensors had combined effectively with rocket engines for a soft landing. "When the [spectral signals were] clearly visible, everyone cheered enthusiastically. Years of hard work had paid off in the most sweet way," Su recalls.

Chang'e-4 had, with the help of a relay satellite out beyond the moon, made an unprecedented landing on the always-hidden lunar far side. China's space program, long trailing in the footsteps of the U.S. and Soviet (now Russian) programs, had registered an international first. The landing also prefigured grander Chinese lunar ambitions.

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Air Quality: Easy to Measure, Tough to Fix

Wildfire season shows the limits of air purifiers

3 min read
Harry Campbell

Illustration of a phone with with a sensor on top. Harry Campbell

The summer of 2020 brought wildfire to Portland, Ore., as it did to so many other cities across the world. All outdoor activity in my neighborhood ceased for weeks, yet staying indoors didn't guarantee relief. The worst days left me woozy as my lone air purifier, whirring like a jet engine, failed to keep up.

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Safety in the Spotlight: Hendrix Covered Conductors

Safety-related contact currents for humans touching tedium voltage covered conductors

1 min read
Hendrix Aerial Cable Systems

This white paper explores what happens when humans come into physical contact with medium voltage covered conductors under a range of conditions. Safety thresholds, lab tests of charging currents, and CEATI testing of covered conductors are discussed. Authored by experts at Hendrix Aerial Cable Systems.

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