They Invented An Artificial Sun And Set The World Record At 100 Million Degrees

South Korean scientists have been working on creating an artificial sun for years and have recently smashed a world record. They’ve been experimenting with a superconducting fusion device known as KSTAR (Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research), also known as the Korean Artificial Sun. They broke a record by sustaining high-temperature plasma for 20 seconds while maintaining an ion temperature of 100 million degrees.

To put this in context, the temperature of our sun, according to NASA (never a straight answer, as some say), is 27 million degrees. That implies that the artificial sun being created in South Korea might be four times as hot as our own sun. This might lead to a slew of queries or conclusions. One debate is if our sun was produced intentionally. Why not, if one has been developed with nearly four times the heat capacity?

Three groups collaborated to create this project. The Korea Institute of Fusion Energy is a collaboration between Seoul National University and Columbia University in the United States. The previous record was established during last year’s KSTAR Plasma Campaign with an 8-second operation. For the first time in 2018, the artificial sun was able to maintain an ion temperature of 100 million degrees. However, it barely lasted 1.5 seconds. This is a far cry from 20 seconds.

The Artificial Sun Lab in South Korea.

The fusion processes on the moon have also been recreated by researchers. This was accomplished with the assistance of hydrogen isotopes inserted within the KSTAR, which formed a plasma state in which ions and electrons were separated, heating ions to high temperatures, which was also sustained.

KSTAR isn’t the only fusion device capable of producing these reactions. It is worth noting, however, that none of the previous fusion devices have lasted more than 10 seconds. KSTAR has managed to endure a whole 20 seconds, setting a new record.

“The technologies required for long operations of 100 million- plasma are the key to the realization of fusion energy,” says KSTAR Research Center Director Si-Woo Yoon, “and the KSTAR’s success in maintaining the high-temperature plasma for 20 seconds will be an important turning point in the race for securing the technologies for the long high-performance plasma operation, a critical component of a commercial nuclear fusion reactor in the future.”

The KSTAR project’s researchers are striving to get the fusion reaction to operate continuously for 300 seconds (5 minutes straight) with an ion temperature greater than 100 million degrees. The objective is to achieve this by 2025.

“We are honored to be engaged in such an important achievement realized in KSTAR,” said Dr. Young-Seok Park of Columbia University. The 100 million-degree ion temperature obtained by allowing efficient core plasma heating for such a long time revealed the superconducting KSTAR device’s unique capacity and will be recognized as a convincing platform for high-performance, steady-state fusion plasmas.”

The sun plays a critical function in our cosmos. It maintains life on numerous levels for humans. Light photons (from the sun) entering our eyes influence our mood, energy, and sleep cycles. The sun is used by plants to perform photosynthesis, which is a process of growth and evolution. We rely on these plants for survival.

The issue is, where is this man-made sun leading? What is the commercial or human application of a man-made sun? Can it be used to maintain life? Will it be weaponized, or not?

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