US lab debuts super laser
By Glenn Chapman | YahooNews.com
A US weapons lab on Friday pulled back the curtain on a super laser with the power to burn as hot as a star.
The National Ignition Facility's main purpose is to serve as a tool for gauging the reliability and safety of the US nuclear weapons arsenal but scientists say it could deliver breakthroughs in safe fusion power.
A US weapons lab pulled back the curtain on a super laser with the power to burn as hot as a star. (AFP/File/MONICA M. DAVEY)
"We have invented the world's largest laser system," actor-turned-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said during a dedication ceremony attended by thousands including state and national officials.
"We can create the stars right here on earth. And I can see already my friends in Hollywood being very upset that their stuff that they show on the big screen is obsolete. We have the real stuff right here."
NIF is touted as the world's highest-energy laser system. It is located inside the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory about an hour's drive from San Francisco.
Equipment connected to a house-sized sphere can focus 192 laser beams on a small point, generating temperatures and pressures that exist at cores of stars or giant planets.
NIF will be able to create conditions and conduct experiments never before possible on Earth, according to the laboratory.
A fusion reaction triggered by the super laser hitting hydrogen atoms will produce more energy than was required to prompt "ignition," according to NIF director Edward Moses.
"This is the long-sought goal of 'energy gain' that has been the goal of fusion researchers for more than half a century," Moses said.
"NIF's success will be a scientific breakthrough of historic significance; the first demonstration of fusion ignition in a laboratory setting, duplicating on Earth the processes that power the stars."
Construction of the NIF began in 1997, funded by the US Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).
"NIF, a cornerstone of the National Nuclear Security Administration's effort to maintain our nuclear deterrent without nuclear testing, will play a vital role in reshaping national security in the 21st century," said NNSA administrator Tom D'Agostino.
"This one-of-a-kind facility is the only place in the world that is capable of providing some of the most critical technical means to safely maintain the viability of the nation's nuclear stockpile."
Scientists say that NIF also promises groundbreaking discoveries in planetary science and astrophysics by recreating conditions that exist in supernovas, black holes, and in the cores of giant planets.
Electricity derived from fusion reactions similar to what takes place in the sun could help sate humanity's growing appetite for green energy, according to lab officials.
"Very shortly we will engage in what many believe to be this nation's greatest challenge thus far, one that confronts not only the nation but all of mankind -- energy independence," said lab director George Miller.
The lab was founded in 1952 and describes itself as a research institution for science and technology applied to national security.
"This laser system is an incredible success not just for California, but for our country and our world," Schwarzenegger said.
"NIF has the potential to revolutionize our energy system, teaching us a new way to harness the energy of the sun to power our cars and homes."
Article from: YahooNews.com
us department of energy national nuclear security administration
Plasma Lasers for Shielding - and Advertising
Scientists Bend Laser Beams -- and Maybe Lightning
World's largest laser now ready for use
Tactial Laser Could Work Like Long-Range Napalm
'Invisible Wars' of the Future: E-bombs, Laser Guns and Acoustic Weapons
Boeing Begins Firing High-Energy Laser Aboard Advanced Tactical Laser Aircraft
Shooting clouds with lasers triggers electrical discharge
Navy Pushing Laser 'Holy Grail' to Weapons Grade
Pentagon report investigated lasers that put voices in your head
Latest News from our Front Page
Pro-Israel bias: BBC admits editorial breach in interview with Israeli defense chief
The BBC has reached a “provisional finding” to uphold complaints made by Palestinian activists that the broadcaster breached its editorial guidelines in a “soft” interview with the Israeli defense minister.
Complaints focused on BBC journalist Sarah Montague’s alleged failure to challenge controversial claims made by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon.
Journalist Amena Saleem, who works with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), wrote ...
41% of Americans Support Criminalizing "Hate Speech"
The following are from a recent poll about what some are calling on for "hate speech"
1. Support for Hate Crimes Legislation
Do you support or oppose the federal law that requires increased penalties for hate crimes committed on the basis of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, or gender of any person?
2. Support for Expanding Hate Crimes
FBI Admits No Major Cases Cracked with Patriot Act Snooping Powers
FBI agents can’t point to any major terrorism cases they’ve cracked thanks to the key snooping powers in the Patriot Act, the Justice Department’s inspector general said in a report Thursday that could complicate efforts to keep key parts of the law operating.
Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said that between 2004 and 2009, the FBI tripled its use of bulk ...
Sweetener Stevia Was Once Hailed As An Anti-Fertility Agent for Population Reduction
Maybe it's not so sweet now... If you've thought stevia, the natural alternative to sugar and artificial sweetners with aspartame, et al., is too good to be true, there may be a catch. Check out this textbook written in 1970 by Paul and Anne Ehrlich, the precursor to the textbook Ecoscience they wrote with Obama Science Czar John P. Holdren ...
TPP Aproved: Senate Republicans Give Obama New Powers - Details Remain 'Classified'
President Obama won a big victory for his trade agenda Friday with the Senate’s approval of fast-track legislation that could make it easier for him to complete a wide-ranging trade deal that would include 11 Pacific Rim nations.
A coalition of 48 Senate Republicans and 14 Democrats voted for Trade Promotion Authority late Friday, sending the legislation to a difficult fight ...
|More News » |