posted on Apr, 10 2006 @ 09:00 PM
Obviously you're coming into this with the Space-Channel idea of fusion power. First, no, no Cold Fusion Reactors are currently in production. Many
people want to discover cold fusion, but no one has succeeded in TRUE Cold Fusion.
As for Fusion itself, a fusion reactor is simply a power source, not an engine unto itself. Also, it's not as self-sustaining as people think. Most
people seem to think of it like Spider Man 2, once you turn on the switch, it'll stay on indefinitely. In truth, the idea of "self-sustaining" for
Fusion Power is that the energy produced by the fusion process is enough that it keeps the heat up high enough for the fusion of other hydrogen atoms
into helium atoms to continue. There would also then be leftover heat and light that could be harvested.
However, the energy that would be harvested wouldn't be anywhere near what would be required to split the helium back into Hydrogen, and you would
still constantly need more Hydrogen to fuel the process. The sun keeps going because, simply put, it's got just massive amounts of Hydrogen and
doesn't have to worry about running out any time soon. It still will eventually though.
Now, if Fusion did come out, a Fusion Powered space craft would need to have a drive system that can turn raw energy into thrust. That's the
important thing you want to find for space travel, a sort of "warp engine". Without this, fusion-powered space-craft would be useless.
Now, we'll probably find a way to make Fusion work within thirty years, and cold fusion perhaps another century after that. Cold fusion would be
useful since you could start putting it on things like space-craft and cars and stuff without having to worry about a massive containment system like
what is currently needed (we can do Fusion currently, just not sustainable Fusion).
In the future, I think Fusion will end up being something of a pipe dream - lots of possible uses for it, but none that will actually jump right out.
Nuclear power (fission) is very useful since it can be done with a small amount of fuel, and is actually very safe.
And no, I don't think China will beat us to it - because the nations of the world will really make it a joint effort. At least I would hope so.