After fake moon, China trying to create an artificial sun

After fake moon, China trying to create an artificial sun

One of the few hurdles to unleashing nuclear fusion as an energy source is sustaining the fusion reaction for longer than a handful of minutes.

On Monday, officials from China's Hefei Institute of Physical Science announced that it sustainably reached over 100 million degrees Celsius in its Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST).

The news comes after China shocked the science community last month with plans to launch an "artificial moon" bright enough to replace city streetlights by 2020.

As per Futurism, comparing it to the natural sun, the core of it reaches about 15 million degrees Celsius, which makes China's artificial sun over six times hottest than the real sun.

Nuclear fusion is the process which powers the sun.

It used nuclear fusion to create its vast heat - racking up a $15,000 (£11,700) bill just by turning it on.

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The goal of this reactor is to replicate the process that the sun uses to produce energy. Nuclear fusion programmes like EAST are working to reach that state on Earth and harvest the energy produced, potentially providing an unlimited amount of clean energy. The facility is 11 meters tall, with a diameter of 8 meters, and a weight of 400 tons.

A fusion reactor works in the opposite way, harvesting the energy released when two smaller atoms join together, releasing tiny, fast-moving particles smaller than atoms.

The researchers conducted the experiment earlier this year at the Institute of Plasma Physics in China's Anhui province.

The high temperatures inside a fusion reactor tear electrons away from their atoms and form a charged plasma of hydrogen ions.

However, 100 million degrees Celsius is said to be the minimum temperature required for self-sustaining nuclear fusion on Earth, making the task tougher for the research team but not impossible.

He said that the achievement by EAST will be important to the development of the next major experiment in global nuclear fusion science: the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER).

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