Comicbook World #46- Scientists To Create Star with Lasers

Nuclear fusion is the golden goose of the scientific community, As anyone with a passing interest in science or superhero comics knows. If scientists could harness its power, fusion would easily solve all the world's energy problems. To see fusion a reactor in practice, all we need to do is look up, as the daytime is lit up by the nearest working perpetual nuclear furnace: the Sun. Now a new group of scientists in California claim to be close to creating a miniature star on Earth using a massive laser...
According to CNN, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is home to the world's largest laser, which will be fired up this summer to attempt to create a star on Earth. The laser is about a mile long, and after the laser beam reaches full strength, it will be divided into 192 smaller beams and aimed at a single point, about the size of a ball bearing. The BB will be made of the radioactive isotopes deuterium and tritium, surrounded by a thimble-sized gold capsule. The scientists are hoping the lasers will fuse this speck, creating for just a moment, the world's first microscopic controlled fusion reaction.
We know that fusion reactions produce a huge amount of energy... that's what makes nuclear warheads so fearsome. These scientists swear that a "controlled" fusion reaction is possible though. If all this sounds familiar, it's because it was the plot to Spiderman 2, except the star good old Otto Octavius created generated out-of-control magnetic fields that threatened to destroy New York. Stars are not warm and cuddly cherubs, they are self-sustaining radioactive explosions. The Sun is 93 million miles away, and still doles out sunburns and skin cancer to overconfident Earthlings on a daily basis, so hopefully the scientists will step lightly.
Even if the technology doesn't blow us the hell up, the fight to control it might anyway. As hinted at in the Keanu Reeves/Morgan Freeman movie Chain Reaction, the economic implications of fusion as these cats envision it is staggering, and many factions would be willing to kill to be in sole possession and control of it. There just seems to be a billion ways this can go wrong, and an accident of mammoth proportions is just one scenario. But don't panic, skeptics say this experiment is just a really well-funded pipe dream. The project has apparently fallen off schedule, with the expected completion date for the research now at the end of 2012 (don't get me started).
On the other hand, Grant Morrisson often suggest that his comics predict (or maybe cause) the future, and he did suggest that a man-made artificial star would turn evil and tear up stuff something awful in JLA: One Million. Luckily, Superman returned from the center of the sun just in time and crushed Solaris the Tyrant Sun with his Green Lantern ring... Or if Superman is busy, maybe Aztek will save us on some World War III type isht? 
 who knows...
-samax.

7 comments:

Arkonbey said...

spoooky.

Another thing to consider. I'm certainly no fan at all of our fossil-fuel-based economy and consider it pretty destructive. However, if viable fusion power is created, the power will be nearly free after the initial costs of the reactor are defrayed.

What would nearly free power that does not need mining or drilling or refining do to our global economy?*

Note, how blithely I ignore impending quick and firey doom for drawn-out societal doom.

*thought came from a oil company CEO character this steampunk novel which I just finished last week.

Art Love said...

What would nearly free power that does not need mining or drilling or refining do to our global economy?*

---Well, it could free us all. Free us from jobs, free us from lives we loathe, free world economies from strain, and allow uncountable explorations of unknown worlds both terrestrial and in space.

Or a bunch of greedy pricks could use it to try to get one more leg up on the little people.

hmmmmm.

samax said...

I'm thinking the 'greedy prick' scenario is more likely. At least at first...

The technology would be rendered either proprietary so the company/corporation/consortium who develops it can profit, or declared classified so the government that develops it can control it.

Either way, whoever controls it will seek to keep that genie in its bottle and get fat making wishes.

Troy said...

LOL! Wasn't this the plot for Spider-Man 2. Wow. You can learn stuff from movies.

samax said...

yeah... tritium and all!

B_Steelo said...

This is most impressive. I too have worries of the effects of this type of fusion on an earth plane. Economically and physically. They have electric cars that can go 250 miles, FAST, on electricity. Now you're bringing fusion into the mix !? SHIIIIIITT...

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to finish my Flux Capacitor.

B_Steelo said...

My implication of the electric car is this: We'd all have one right now. Too many people have control and oil spills to get through

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