Chasing Fusion

By John Lippert - 2013-05-03T11:09:30Z

Photograph by Jake Stangel/Bloomberg Markets

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8. Intense Focus

On the right side of this picture, a robot holds the target assembly steady as a camera (above) makes sure the piece is being put together properly. NIF scientists say that after they've achieved ignition, they may be able to mass-produce fuel pellets instead of building each one according to a unique blueprint. A laser at a commercial power plant would have to fire ten times a second, instead of once or twice a day as they currently do.