Inside the National Ignition Facility


Photo: Dave Bullock

Dave Bullock, one of our favorite photographers here on Neatorama, has just sent us his latest photos from his visit to the innards of the National Ignition Facility. Wired has the story:

It may look like one of Michael Bay's Transformers, but this mass of machinery could soon be the birthplace of a baby star right here on Earth.

Using 192 separate lasers and a 400-foot-long series of amplifiers and filters, scientists at Lawrence Livermore's National Ignition Facility (NIF) hope to create a self-sustaining fusion reaction like the ones in the sun or the explosion of a nuclear bomb — only on a much smaller scale.

Sci-fi-inspired End of Days jokes may follow this historic undertaking like they did for CERN's Large Hadron Collider, but the science behind this advanced laser system is profoundly serious.

"Completion of the NIF construction project is a major milestone for the NIF team, for the nation and the world," said Edward Moses, the facility's principal associate director for NIF and photon science. "We are well on our way to achieving what we set out to do — controlled nuclear fusion and energy gain for the first time ever in a laboratory setting."

The hope is that this reaction will release more energy than the lasers put into the target isotopes and perhaps redefine the global energy crisis in the process.

Link - Thanks Dave!


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Thanks for the kind words!

@wolfhammer: you are wrong. =] it is fusion, fusing together hydrogen atoms.

@hbouda: hydrogen bombs are fusion

@seefish: the thing is working now, they are going to try and create fusion later this year or early next year. the official dedication ceremony is may 29th.
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Fusion and Fission are quite different.
We (humans) have had no problem with fission ie Nuclear Bombs.
Its fusion that causes so many headaches.
If the Sun was using fission, it would have gone out a while back - like the moment it was born...
So why in this article does it say "self-sustaining fusion reaction like the ones in the sun or the explosion of a nuclear bomb" ?

Am I wrong or is is this article wrong?
(Probably me...)
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umm.....

Only one country in the world could do this. And amazingly that fascist Termanegger (joke) is supporting it.

Yeah, sorry, you are right...let's hope it fails so Chrysler can build more V10's.
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