Scientists work inside the target chamber for the National Ignition Facility. Physicists shoot extremely high-energy lasers into the chamber in an effort to ignite a fusion reaction. Image Credit: NIF/LLNL
Scientists at the National Ignition Facility have been shooting high-energy laser beams at a small point in the target chamber, seen above. With enough energy, they hope to heat and compress a small hydrogen fuel source, igniting a fusion reaction.
Fusion occurs when two atomic nuclei fuse together, releasing large amounts of energy. Fusion powers our universe's stars. With laser-based methods like the ones at the National Ignition Facility, scientists hope to eventually gain energy from the process, potentially leading to promising new fuel sources.