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No. 21: May-Jun 1982

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Natural lasers in the terrestrial and martian skies?

In a current laser patent dispute, one side claims that a certain laser patent is invalid because natural phenomena cannot be patented under U.S. law. It seems that last year, Michael Mumma and colleagues at Goddard Space Flight Center and the University of Maryland discovered a 10-micrometer (infrared) laser in the Martian atmosphere. This laser is located about 75 kilometers above the surface, is optically pumped by the sun, and radiates an astonishing 101 2 watts. The terrestrial atmosphere may contain a natural 4.3-micrometer laser, for auroras are accompanied by very intense molecular emissions at this wavelength.

(Raloff, J.; "Gould Laser Patent Ruled Invalid -- So Far," Science News, 121: 199, 1982.)

From Science Frontiers #21, MAY-JUN 1982. 1982-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:

Quotes

  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987