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erichw1504's avatar

What do you think of our attempt to create a tiny star?

Asked by erichw1504 (26329 points ) April 28th, 2010

I just read through this article on CNN about the world’s largest laser attempting to create a tiny star on Earth.

What do you think about it? Will it be able to solve our energy problem? Or will it be a huge disaster? How will the world change if this works? Will it be for the better or the worse? How long do you think it will take for it to be commercialized? What effects will it have economically, socially, physically, etc…?

Are there other ways to create an infinite source of cheap energy?

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22 Answers

Nullo's avatar

Nice try, but I don’t think that this will go anywhere that previous attempts haven’t gone.

gorillapaws's avatar

I’m cautiously optimistic, although I remain skeptical about how well this could translate into a controlled, sustainable energy source. The article didn’t go into much detail on that particular aspect so it’s difficult to evaluate the feasibility of a fusion power-plant.

ucme's avatar

No, Gary Coleman’s making a comeback? Get outta town!!

Fyrius's avatar

I don’t know enough about the science and technology underlying this project to form an educated opinion. I’m going to leave it to the people who do.

Protip: I think any other layperson would be well advised to do the same.

pharaoh1991's avatar

i think the same thing about when they tried to make black holes here on earth

Qingu's avatar

We’ve already created tiny stars on earth—any hydrogen bomb test explosion would be an example.

The point of the laser is to create a fusion reaction in a way that can be contained, presumably by magnetic forces*. That’s the hard part.

*Plasma, the stuff that stars are made of, is magnetic. It’s also so hot that it would melt any “physical” container, so you need to basically keep it suspended in a magnetic field.

Draconess25's avatar

As long as they are able to contain the radiation, then I’m all for it.

I’m gonna kick her ass….

Fred931's avatar

What are they going to name it? I nominate Ralph.

Rarebear's avatar

The idea of using lasers to start a fusion reaction has been around a long time. There are two problems with it, though. The first is that so far attempts have put more energy into the attempt than was released, and the second is containment of the plasma. The theory is that if you can build a magnetic field strong enough, the plasma will be contained, but again, that takes an enormous amount of energy.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Fred931 Ralph is good, or if they wanted to be ironic they could go with Moonbeam…

Fyrius's avatar

@Fred931
@gorillapaws
I’d name it The Asterisk or Sol II.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Fyrius but what if it’s a girl star?

Fred931's avatar

Or Kelly.

Shuttle128's avatar

I believe I’ve read enough about this to say that I think they’ll have trouble replacing the fuel fast enough to sustain it as a power production plant. They might have to develop some very advanced storage techniques before distribution of power is attainable on a regular basis. For now it’s just a cool science project.

Qingu's avatar

I am looking forward to developing magnetic containment tech for plasma, and possibly reducing it to a handheld device.

Because they you could have plasma swords

Shuttle128's avatar

@Qingu That would be a helluva lot easier than containing light in a handheld device. Though I think lightsabers were retroactively classified as plasma weapons…..

WolfFang's avatar

Like we didn’t learn our lesson from Spiderman 2…

Qingu's avatar

Lightsabers certainly make more sense if you think of them as plasma swords.

mattbrowne's avatar

All nuclear fusion ideas are worth the research effort. But we should not expect a breakthrough any time soon.

Fyrius's avatar

@Qingu
I was thinking of lightsabres too. XD
But where would the plasma come from and where would it go, when the thing is turned off? Inside the hilt? Wouldn’t it melt, how would all the stuff get back in there, how much energy would it take to sustain the magnetic fields to contain it all the time under enough pressure to make it fit?
It’s not how lightsabres work in Star Wars. There are crystals in lightsabres, for some reason, and no plasma container compartment. I say it’s just pseudomagic.

Ron_C's avatar

One of the things a star needs to sustain fusion is mass. The Lazar may cause a short burst of atomic fusion but I doubt that any sustainable reaction will occur, no matter how powerful the Lazar.

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