Many areas of modern science have reached the milestone, when you can move forward only by means of very expensive projects. Of course, we can not all be measured only in money - and now you can make a great discovery with a budget of one hundred dollars. But huge investments in different projects at least indicate what the problem is recognized by States and scholars worthy of such costs. Today, the project, whose budget is over a billion dollars, it was so much that we could not limit ourselves to traditional scores and barely stopped for a dozen.
The hostel is in orbit
International Space Station
The International Space Station (ISS)
What: Space Station
Where: in orbit, about 330-350 km from Earth
How much: more than $ 100 billion
Why: the base for a variety of space research
When: in 1998 it launched the first module. Construction is continuously
ISS - not only the most expensive scientific (or pseudo-scientific) project in history. It is also the largest man-made object in space. Or is the only place in the universe (except, of course, Earth), where there is internet access, shower and toilet. Records on account of the ISS indefinitely. With scientific problems worse.
Yes, there are grown crystals and occasionally doing a something with spiders and lizards. But breakthroughs in physics and biology, which in any way would affect the Earth's science is not done - or just are not ready to talk about them. That is why skeptics like futurist and patriarch of Theoretical Physics, Freeman Dyson, and stated that the station - a useful thing, if you just look at it as a universal human toy.
We can assume that the most valuable experience - is preparing to experience. Build a giant modules in orbit - an exciting exercise for engineers and programmers who planned it. Docking - another example of thin technologies. And traces of micrometeorites on the casing give an idea of how materials behave in a collision at incredible speeds to Earth.
But the main thing is people - doctors with unflagging influence shall ensure that in the absence of gravity changes, for example, the composition of the bones of the astronauts and how their body reacts to cosmic radiation. When is conceived to build bases on the Moon or on Mars, this knowledge is certainly useful.
International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER)
International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor
What: reactor generates energy due to the fact that the light atomic nuclei combine into heavier
Where: in France, not far from the French Riviera
How much: $ 12-15 billion
Why: to produce energy cheaply, safely and in large quantities
When: construction started in 2006. In 2016 it should be completed, then within 20 years will be conducted experiments. If they go well, then in the 2020s - 2030s begin design of commercial fusion reactors, which will begin to fully operate somewhere in 2060
Ever since the 50-ies of XX century, scientists have promised us a unique source of energy - controlled thermonuclear fusion. It was suggested to use a reaction similar to those that occur in the interior of the sun: the atoms of hydrogen isotopes (deuterium and tritium) merge into a helium atom, and as a result generated a lot of energy. Fusion fuel is millions of times our favorite high-calorie oil. Thus there is no risk of accident such as Chernobyl, and the raw materials can be produced from ordinary water.
But this scheme seems simple only on the pages of school textbooks. In reality, on the way to fusion energy was a lot of problems, both technical and financial and political.
In 2006 alone, the world's leading countries were able to agree on the construction of an experimental fusion reactor. The financial contribution is distributed as follows: China, India, Korea, Russia, the United States - each in the amount of 1/11, Japan - 2/11, the European Union - 4/11.