Saturday, April 11, 2009

Alternative Energy

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. Essentially, they’re building a Death Star Laser (pictured above, below). The idea is to create a kind of miniature sun on earth that would supply “limitless, safe, and carbon free energy.” The reaction will be accomplished by superheating the outside of a fuel capsule containing 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. This could either be one of the most significant accomplishments in recent history or the absolute worst idea ever. This kind of sounds like Doc Ock 's sustained fusion experiment from Spiderman 2 (pictured above), which almost destroyed NYC. I just hope that next year, when ignition tests are scheduled to commence, the planet will not be destroyed because there will be no Spiderman to swoop in and save the day.

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