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Lasers have usually represented weapons of mass destruction in movies such as "Star Wars," but a newly completed facility has begun harnessing lasers to create a fusion reaction rivaling the power of a miniature sun.
The National Ignition Facility has already test-fired all 192 giant lasers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California as part of this effort. The lasers will eventually focus their power on compressing and heating a single, pea-sized fuel capsule to more than 180 million degrees Fahrenheit in order to trigger thermonuclear fusion.
"One of the major activities of the NIF is to explore the basics of fusion energy, building a miniature sun on Earth that could supply limitless, safe and carbon-free energy," said Ed Moses, National Ignition Facility (NIF) program director.