Rays of Hope: Fringe Fusion Ventures Take Small Steps Toward Energy Leap
Multibillion-dollar projects are slowly moving ahead on the nuclear fusion frontier, but less traditional efforts to harness the power that fuels the sun say they’re making progress as well.
In the most basic fusion reaction, molecules of hydrogen isotopes are smashed together under high temperature and pressure to create helium — with part of the hydrogen mass converted into energy, in accordance with E=mc² from Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity. The energy payoff can be immense, as demonstrated by the sun’s glare or the blast of an H-bomb. But can the reaction be controlled on Earth?