If it’s not a massive particle accelerator it has to be a mini star, at least that’s what the scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory thought back in 1997 when this new facility begun its construction…
The National Ignition Facility (NIF) is the world’s largest and highest-energy laser and this fall NIF is conducting integrated ignition experiments that will focus the energy of 192 giant laser beams on a BB-sized target filled with hydrogen fuel. NIF’s ultimate goal is to fuse the hydrogen atoms’ nuclei and produce more energy than the laser energy required to spark the reaction. This is the same fusion energy process that makes the stars shine and provides the life-giving energy of the sun.
To us it looks more like X-men’s danger room, but to most scientists this little-huge installation could achieve fusion by 2012!!!
You may well visit the Boston page where you’ll find many many more photos & explanations… not easy to understand (any) part of the process but you can still try. If reaching Fusion power is a chimera this facility might just help… or as many say… it may just be a waste of time… and a lot of €€€€.