Overview of Progress in Compact Magnetic Fusion Reactors
Nov. 10—Fusion powers the Sun, and all the stars in the universe. It is the process whereby lighter elements, such as hydrogen, are fused, to form heavier elements, such as helium. As described by Einstein’s E = mc2 , the less than 1 percent of mass that is “lost” in the process is converted to a very large amount of energy, over a million times more than is possible in any chemical reaction.
According to one standard theory, our Sun has had the great gravitational mass to provide the heat—15 million degrees Celsius at its core—density of plasma, and containment time, to allow this process to continue for over 4.5 billion years.