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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Big Picture - National Ignition Facility

Back in July, I posted about the NIF. It got the Big Picture Treatment last week.

This time you can see the change in scale - 1st one of the laser bays where electricity is converted to photons. 2nd the target chamber, where 192 lasers all focus their beams. 3rd - inside the target chamber. 4th - the target hohlraum, which itself holds a miniscule 2mm diameter capsule where the focused laser energy can recreate conditions of the sun to start a small fusion event.

It's pretty incredible that all that equipment to nuke something the size of a mustard seed. Makes you appreciate how much energy the sun actually generates: The NIF generates about 1,000,000 joules. In one second, the sun generates 380,000,000,000,000,000,000 joules.

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