How Scientists in South Korea Made a Mini Sun on Earth

How Scientists in South Korea Made a Mini Sun on Earth

Have you ever wondered how the sun produces so much energy and light? The answer is fusion, which is the process of combining two small atoms into a bigger one, releasing a huge amount of energy in the process. This is how the sun and other stars keep shining for billions of years.

But what if we could replicate this process on Earth and use it as a source of clean and abundant energy? That would be amazing, right? Well, that’s exactly what scientists have been trying to do for decades, but it’s not easy. Fusion requires extremely high temperatures and pressures, like those found in the core of the sun. It also requires a way to control and contain the hot gas where fusion happens, called plasma. Plasma is very unstable and can easily escape or cool down, stopping the fusion reaction.

However, scientists in South Korea have recently achieved a major breakthrough in fusion research. They used a special device called KSTAR, which stands for Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research. KSTAR is a doughnut-shaped machine that uses powerful magnets to trap and squeeze the plasma inside. The scientists used lasers to heat up the plasma to over 100 million degrees Celsius, which is about seven times hotter than the core of the sun. They were able to maintain this temperature for 30 seconds, which is a record for fusion experiments. They also achieved a net energy gain, which means that they got more energy out of the fusion reaction than they put in to heat up the plasma.

This experiment was a huge milestone for fusion research, as it showed that it is possible to create and sustain a stable fusion reaction at very high temperatures. However, this does not mean that we can start using fusion energy right away. There are still many challenges and uncertainties before we can build a fusion power plant that can generate electricity for our homes and industries. For example, we need to scale up the experiment to larger machines, such as ITER, which is an international project being built in France. ITER aims to produce 500 times more energy than it consumes for at least six minutes by 2025. We also need to find ways to extract the heat and electricity from the fusion reactor safely and efficiently.

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