Scientists working on Death Star laser … but for energy, not blowing up Aldaran

by James

The National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is working on creating a laser which can compress and heat a single fuel capsule to more than 180 million degrees in order to trigger a thermonuclear reaction. In short, they’re building a Death Star Laser. But for good, not evil. The idea is to create a kind of miniature sun on earth that would supply “limitless, safe, and carbon free energy.”

Normally, fusion – which is the bonding together of heavy atoms to create energy – takes place in hot environments like stars, but with 192 giant lasers, the NIF is attempting to create the same kind of reaction here on earth. The reaction will be accomplished by superheating the outside of a fuel capsule contining about one millionth of a pound of deuterium and tritium. This will cause the interior of the capsule to compress while the exterior explodes much like a star does. The biggest challenge? Containing the reaction as 180 million degrees will melt just about any known substance here on earth. But the reaction itself may be the key to containing it as, according to the NIF, the reaction consumes the cooler outer region faster than the capsule can release the hotter elements, thereby containing it.

Serious ignition testing is scheduled for next year. Then its’ bound to be a horse race to see if it can beat the Hadron collider in destroying the planet.

Hat Tip – Live Science

7 reviews or comments

Richard Says: April 9, 2009 at 6:21 pm

Sounding more like Spiderman 2 now instead of Star Wars

James Makepeace Says: April 10, 2009 at 2:55 am

Google “HiPER Laser” and watch their movie for the next fascinating step beyond NIF’s proof of principle for laser fusion.

Mike Says: April 10, 2009 at 4:33 am

It always starts out as “for good not evil” doesn’t it? Thats probably how the empire sold the taxpayers on it too. =D

James Makepeace Says: April 12, 2009 at 11:26 am

IT may sound like Spideman 2, but the NIF experiment and the HiPER project are real. Best pay attention to this stuff if you really are interested in mankind having any kind of long-term future on this planet. NIF is about to start the run of experimental laser shots, and as soon as they score a fusion burn with energy gain, HiPER should be ready to enter ther arena.

Bawb Says: May 5, 2010 at 9:50 am

It’s Alderaan! Get the name right….Its the least we can do for all those poor souls! The shock and shame of it all…

tj Says: June 9, 2010 at 1:33 pm

what kind of laser are we talking of to power it cus electrical would use more power then the whole planet has altogether and results could be catastrophc if it were to fail

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