That’s what Lockheed wants to make happen in your home. Fusion-powered vacuum cleaners. Fusion-powered toasters. Fusion powered cars if Tesla – I mean Elon Musk – has his way, and fusion-powered remote control rechargeable batteries. Everything will be fusion-powered, with a big L on it. I bet the connector into the huge fusion thing from the enormous power plug (I am assuming this fusion reactor has an enormous power plug on it somewhere) will even be in the shape of a big stylized cartoonish possibly-evil L (Think Despicable Me).
Welcome to the fusion age!
If Lockheed gets to have the big L brand, or whatever their brand is, on the machine that powers the future, well. I hope the executive deciders of our future up at Lockheed are amenable to our having a country with freedom and minimal lawful evil ruling systems.
But if you’re seriously worried about Lockheed having a lock on seriously cheap energy, well, University of Washington researchers also just published their research on a realistic fusion reactor design. So it looks like the fusion age is here, and the news is going to be filled with fusion races for the next while in a mad bid for attention against the media flop that is midterm elections 2014.
By the way, I don’t know if you knew, but we’ve had fusion reactors for a long time. You can build one in your garage if you want.
But it’s going to run up your power bill unless, apparently, it contains many billions of dollars worth of engineering time and resources – time spent with lots of obsessed people scratching their heads and figuring out how to make physics and math eat an elephant made of intractable plasma dynamics problems that are probably more akin to wizardry than not. One bite at a time, like any other elephant, an engineer would tell you.
If we have a fusion reactor that’s cheaper than fossil fuels and zero emissions, by the way, that is the best news since paper. At least. Maybe since the wheel, though not this wheel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ne5WGTFHjgE
Fusion reactor that’s cheaper than fossil fuels and zero emissions means all the petroleum products can be saved to make us more science and life stuff. And medical stuff. And maybe we can figure out how to better recycle it and generally protect life from the negative impact it generally has on the environment. Maybe we’ll have a fusion-powered garbage spaceship that swings around to pick up a huge load from Earth orbit every few weeks. A fusion-powered space elevator with robotic arms to catch people who fall from it.
Speaking of fusion, I shouldn’t talk about “cold fusion,” but I will anyway, because today is fusion day. I spent about a half an hour thinking about how Andrea Rossi might be getting Nickel to fuse to Ni-62 before realizing I don’t really know enough about fusion to talk about it. So that’s a new project. I want to see why people think it’s bullshit, because scientists and engineers (and probably mostly physicists, they’re the really loud ones about almost anything) seem to think the E-Cat is the world’s biggest scam.
That should get you started on a long web-surfing wave of interest if you’re curious about someone who claims to get something 100x more energetic than gasoline out of a mix of nickel and lithium and undisclosed other ingredients.
Of course, we still won’t be able to make fusion-powered devices that make people give a shit about humanity. But a fusion-powered garbage in which to toss Ayn Rand’s ideas would be a good start.
Credit to http://www.gizmag.com/simulation-fusion-breakeven-sandia/21990/pictures
for finding the stock photo by Sandia National Laboratories. That’s the Sandia Z accelerator fusing things in magnetic plasma awesome science talk-ness.