The world may be on the cusp of limitless energy, on the heels of a groundbreaking success this week. Some hardworking scientists at the Max Planck Institute fired up their fusion reactor, the Wendelstein 7-X stellerator and were able to sustain a Hydrogen plasma; Chancellor Angela Merkel was the one to initiate the process.
This marks the second instance of enganging the fusion reactor, as top scientific minds from leading world powers in the race to sustain nuclear fusion. The payoff for being able to replicate the inner workings of stars is an endless supply of energy. Unlike in Spiderman 2, there is no mad Dr. Octavius, but the ramifications of a world where sustainable fusion is a physist's dream.
The first time the Wendelstein reactor sustained a helium plasma, but even with millisecond the hydrogen plasma was sustained is what has the scientific community abuzz. Hydrogen fusion generates a substantially larger amount of energy compared to Helium fusion thus being able to sustain hydrogen plasma is a gigantic breakthrough on the quest to replicate celestial furnaces.
"We’re not doing this for us, but for our children and grandchildren," were the words of John Jelonnek, a physicist at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and one of the members who installed a crucial aspect of the reactor.
The reactor itself cost around 1 billion dollars, 19 years to complete, and while it has shown the ability to sustain the helium, now hydrogen plasmas, it is not designed to create useable energy. This initial reactor's purpose is to create the conditions found in the middle of stars like our sun, the sustained, million degree hot plasmas are hallmarks of nuclear fusion.
This truly is a remarkable accomplishment, one that should delight all peoples of the world. This being just the initial steps, sustainable fusion would revolutionize how humanity powers everything. Fossil fuels would come to be obsolete, interstellar space travel through wormholes; who knows? In the words of Squidward Tentacles: