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Star in a Jar

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1 Star in a Jar on 12/9/2016, 11:19 am

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http://www.seeker.com/star-in-a-jar-fusion-reactor-works-and-promises-infinite-energy-2134228965.html


For several decades now, scientists from around the world have been pursuing a ridiculously ambitious goal: They hope to develop a nuclear fusion reactor that would generate energy in the same manner as the sun and other stars, but down here on Earth.

Incorporated into terrestrial power plants, this "star in a jar" technology would essentially provide Earth with limitless clean energy, forever. And according to new reports out of Europe this week, we just took another big step toward making it happen.

In a study published in the latest edition of the journal Nature Communications, researchers confirmed that Germany's Wendelstein 7-X (W7-X) fusion energy device is on track and working as planned. The space-age system, known as a stellerator, generated its first batch of hydrogen plasma when it was first fired up earlier this year. The new tests basically give scientists the green light to proceed to the next stage of the process.

It works like this: Unlike a traditional fission reactor, which splits atoms of heavy elements to generate energy, a fusion reactor works by fusing the nuclei of lighter atoms into heavier atoms. The process releases massive amounts of energy and produces no radioactive waste. The "fuel" used in a fusion reactor is simple hydrogen, which can be extracted from water.

However, to achieve fusion, scientists must generate enormously high temperatures to heat the hydrogen into a plasma state. The plasma is so hot, in fact, that it would instantly burn material used to contain it. That's where the stellerator design comes in. The W7-X device confines the plasma within magnetic fields generated by superconducting coils cooled down to near absolute zero. The plasma — at temperatures upwards of 80 million degrees Celsius — never comes into contact with the walls of the containment chamber. Neat trick, that.

2 Re: Star in a Jar on 12/9/2016, 12:24 pm

Interesting and thought/question-provoking. Will watch for more info on this.

The only term that was rather jarring to see in scientific reportage such as this was the word "forever." Planet Earth will not last forever.

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3 Re: Star in a Jar on 12/9/2016, 12:36 pm

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RealLindaL wrote:Interesting and thought/question-provoking.  Will watch for more info on this.

The only term that was rather jarring to see in scientific reportage such as this was the word "forever."    Planet Earth will not last forever.

It'll probably only be habitable for any life another billion years. We could get wiped out at any moment tho. I keep saying that earth's a dangerous place... we should leave... lol.

4 Re: Star in a Jar on 12/9/2016, 4:04 pm

Lockheed Martin is also working on a fusion reactor in its famed Skunk Works.

This will be an amazing leap forward for technology.

The only weak link is that cracking hydrogen from water is energy intensive by itself. Most commercial hydrogen used today is cracked from natural gas.

But the fusion reactor will be one of those advanced nuclear technologies that will give us electricity with no carbon emissions. Climate change proponents should like this.

I also see fusion rectors being employed in space flight to allow travel between planets without using chemical rockets.

It will herald a major leap forward in technology no matter how you look at it!

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5 Re: Star in a Jar on 12/9/2016, 4:13 pm

PkrBum wrote:
RealLindaL wrote:Interesting and thought/question-provoking.  Will watch for more info on this.

The only term that was rather jarring to see in scientific reportage such as this was the word "forever."    Planet Earth will not last forever.

It'll probably only be habitable for any life another billion years. We could get wiped out at any moment tho. I keep saying that earth's a dangerous place... we should leave... lol.


Stephen Hawking agrees with you, leave.

http://bigthink.com/dangerous-ideas/5-stephen-hawkings-warning-abandon-earth-or-face-extinction

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6 Re: Star in a Jar on 12/9/2016, 4:21 pm

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Telstar wrote:
PkrBum wrote:
RealLindaL wrote:Interesting and thought/question-provoking.  Will watch for more info on this.

The only term that was rather jarring to see in scientific reportage such as this was the word "forever."    Planet Earth will not last forever.

It'll probably only be habitable for any life another billion years. We could get wiped out at any moment tho. I keep saying that earth's a dangerous place... we should leave... lol.


Stephen Hawking agrees with you, leave.

http://bigthink.com/dangerous-ideas/5-stephen-hawkings-warning-abandon-earth-or-face-extinction

We're going 67,000 mph around the sun too. We should be wearing helmets or sumthin.

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