In 2009, when the National Ignition Facility reaches its full operative capability, it will have the most powerful laser in the world at 500 trillion watt.
On final approach, 192 laser beams will zing into a million-pound target chamber 33 feet in diameter, with 20-inch walls. To prevent any radiation from escaping, the chamber is encased by walls that are six feet thick. Each 20-nanosecond laser burst will blast target materials in the chamber with 500 trillion watts of power—1,000 times the electrical output of the entire U.S. over the same period of time. All that awesome power will be used in fusion research, in astrophysics (for example, studying what conditions might be like at the center of Jupiter), and in generating thermonuclear detonations for weapons research.