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When the world's most powerful laser facility flicks the switch on its first full-scale experiments later this month, a tiny star will be born on Earth.
It is this last area that has got the attention of scientists around the world, who hope to use the machine to study distant phenomena, such as the formation of planets or the violent explosions of supernovae, from the comfort of the lab.
To understand where we find ourselves in the Universe and what we find ourselves made of, one really needs to understand exploding stars," explained Professor Paul Drake of the University of Michigan.
The challenge is to do experiments that reproduce the conditions that occur and then scale the results to the astrophysical environment
The world's largest and highest-energy laser was certified to operate by the U.S. Department of Energy on March 27, 2009. In 2010, NIF will focus the intense energy of 192 giant laser beams on a BB-sized target filled with hydrogen fuel — fusing, or igniting, the hydrogen atoms' nuclei in the world's first controlled thermonuclear reaction. This is the same fusion energy process that makes stars shine and provides the life-giving energy of the sun.
"Hydrocarbons would actually decompose to a mixture of hydrogen and a carbon," explained Professor Jeanloz. "The end result being that diamonds would actually be hailing out of the atmosphere."
Originally posted by AntiConspirator
This doesnt sound very safe to me. Why do we want a star on the Earth? Would that be very bad? What about UV rays? It may be small, but when this little sar explodes, will it not do alot of damage still?