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lilredrooster
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December 12th, 2022 at 2:47:28 AM permalink
_______________


the U.S. will announce on Tuesday that they have carried out the first nuclear fusion experiment to realize a net energy gain

this has been a goal since the 1950s with the aim of replicating the nuclear reaction that creates energy on the sun

it will be many years before the successful experiment shows practical value




https://www.powermag.com/u-s-officials-set-to-announce-fusion-energy-breakthrough/



.
the foolish sayings of a rich man often pass for words of wisdom by the fools around him
odiousgambit
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December 12th, 2022 at 4:04:39 AM permalink
I've been following the topic somewhat

the standing joke is that cold fusion is a decade away, and has been for decades now.

Progress has been made with tritium, a type of hydrogen with 2 neutrons as opposed to the one neutron in deuterium, the latter so far having been a complete bust, dashing hopes. Tritium is rare and radioactive, with a half-life of about 12 years. Currently it appears they would need some kind of breeder reactor or there just won't be enough. I didn't see discussion about tritium ... it will be interesting to see if that is the fuel.

The hydrogen in abundance has no neutrons, in case you didn't know

It is possible in spite of progress that cold fusion never becomes practical
the next time Dame Fortune toys with your heart, your soul and your wallet, raise your glass and praise her thus: “Thanks for nothing, you cold-hearted, evil, damnable, nefarious, low-life, malicious monster from Hell!”   She is, after all, stone deaf. ... Arnold Snyder
BillHasRetired
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December 12th, 2022 at 6:26:26 AM permalink
Quote: lilredrooster

(snip for relevance and clarity
the U.S. will announce on Tuesday that they have carried out the first nuclear fusion experiment to realize a net energy gain

this has been a goal since the 1950s with the aim of replicating the nuclear reaction that creates energy on the sun

it will be many years before the successful experiment shows practical value
https://www.powermag.com/u-s-officials-set-to-announce-fusion-energy-breakthrough/
link to original post

During these experiments, 'net energy gain' is measured from a whole lot of components: increased temperature, gamma ray production, increased pressure, MHD output from plasma, etc. Some of these can be harnessed to produce usable energy, but at wildly differing efficiencies. For example, it's far better to use fusion to boil water to run a turbine than it is to try direct conversion of plasma heat to electricity using the Seebeck effect. Some components of the total energy equation are completely unavailable, like neutrino energy. Others are very hard to harness, like the energy of emerging neutrons. You can't just punch out 1% more energy than you used and call it a win.

Plus, this is the National Ignition Facility, so that means it's using the inertial-confinement process process to produce fusion. That's the nuclear equivalent of an internal combustion engine, with total energy production dependent on the number of mini-fusion pellets they can implode. Anything that happens to the 192 beamlines risks putting the whole facility offline. That, plus the fact that only about 10-20% of the laser energy gets deposited into the pellet means that the rest of the gear heats up massively, wasting a <badword>-ton of energy, far worse than fission plants.

I dunno, frankly, if they took the Terex dumptrucks of money they've been shoveling into fusion and instead used it to a) get a Gen-IV fission design(s) approved, b) Get modular Gen-IV designs built, and c) built a liquid fluoride thorium reactor, we'd have all the power we'd need. It would not only be cleaner and proof against melting down (see c, above), but it could also 'burn' the existing stockpile of nuclear waste as additional fuel in the LFTR.

Meanwhile, when the sun goes down and the wind dies down, we'll be sitting in the hot dark and gripe.
Johnzimbo
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December 12th, 2022 at 9:10:24 AM permalink
See what happens when people use their roulette skills for the good of mankind?
Mental
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December 12th, 2022 at 11:55:38 AM permalink
The massive amount of money poured into the Apollo program gave the US bragging rights, plus produced consumer benefits such as Tang.

No doubt that these folks did a lot of useful research to improve high-power electronics and high-powered lasers. They probably helped advance stellar research. I don't expect to live long enough to benefit from fusion energy or mining the moon.
This forum is more enjoyable after I learned how to use the 'Block this user' button.
OnceDear
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December 12th, 2022 at 12:03:45 PM permalink
Quote: Johnzimbo

See what happens when people use their roulette skills for the good of mankind?
link to original post



Candle smoke and mirrors?

I think SBF would have made a good roulette skills guru. If he can stay out of jail, can we invite him to join the forum? Make him a moderator? Sell him the forum?

Decades away from comercial application! Jam tomorrow! These shysters are trumpeting greater energy output than input while ignoring the unharvestable energy or the MASSIVE inefficiency of the energy input lasers. This isn't even in the advanced concept stage.

Fusion would be great. But Fission is needed now! Lots and Lots of modular fission reactors. Spend a few of those trillions on resolving or mitigating the waste and other potential risks.
Psalm 25:16 Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Proverbs 18:2 A fool finds no satisfaction in trying to understand, for he would rather express his own opinion.
gordonm888
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December 12th, 2022 at 12:41:52 PM permalink
I worked on related laser technology at Lawrence Livermore National laboratory and I know some of the people who are running this experiment.

The technology consists of imploding a tiny tritium target and creating a tiny fusion explosion. It is part of the DOE nuclear weapons program in which they test nuclear weapons physics without setting off an actual nuclear weapons device at the Nevada Test Site.

Surely, what they have accomplished is the explosive release of fusion energy that is greater than the laser pulse energy used to initiate or ignite the explosion.

How does one convert explosive energy into electricity and with what efficiency?
How do we go from one explosion every several years to multiple explosions per second?
Given that the cost of the National Ignition Facility has been many billions of dollars, and that it has made a tiny tiny amount of explosive energy, what does this imply for economically useful energy?

It's a science experiment and the press release is nothing more than showboating. Every hydrogen Bomb uses a small amount of standard explosive energy to create a much larger amount of fusion energy.
So many better men, a few of them friends, are dead. And a thousand thousand slimy things live on, and so do I.
OnceDear
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December 12th, 2022 at 12:52:11 PM permalink
Quote: gordonm888

I worked on related laser technology at Lawrence Livermore National laboratory and I know some of the people who are running this experiment.

The technology consists of imploding a tiny tritium target and creating a tiny fusion explosion. It is part of the DOE nuclear weapons program in which they test nuclear weapons physics without setting off an actual nuclear weapons device at the Nevada Test Site.

Surely, what they have accomplished is the explosive release of fusion energy that is greater than the energy used by the lasers to initiate or ignite the explosion.

How does one convert explosive energy into electricity and with what efficiency?
How do we go from one explosion every several years to multiple explosions per second?
Given that the cost of the National Ignition Facility has been many billions of dollars, and that it has made a tiny tiny amount of explosive energy, what does this imply for economically useful energy?

Its a science experiment and the press release is showboating.
link to original post



Exactly. But even worse. They are not saying the system energy output is greater than the system energy input. Only that the laser energy reaching the pellet was exceeded. Not the energy reaching the lasers.

The energy out would have been in multiple facets. Some gamma radiation? Some neutron radiation? Some heat? A few photons of this or that.... They summed up their estimate of those components.

They HAVE to release these press releases to keep the funding pouring in.
Psalm 25:16 Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Proverbs 18:2 A fool finds no satisfaction in trying to understand, for he would rather express his own opinion.
MrV
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December 12th, 2022 at 2:18:42 PM permalink
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a "first step."

Bravo.
"What, me worry?"
OnceDear
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December 12th, 2022 at 2:22:06 PM permalink
Quote: MrV

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a "first step."

Bravo.
link to original post


So does a wild goose chase.

I commend the successes of the scientists.
Some guy in finance said "You'd better report some progress soon..." and so they did.
Psalm 25:16 Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Proverbs 18:2 A fool finds no satisfaction in trying to understand, for he would rather express his own opinion.
ssho88
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December 12th, 2022 at 2:43:59 PM permalink
The high temperatures required for the fusion reaction in a hydrogen bomb are created by detonating an atomic bomb (which gets its energy from nuclear fission). Is that right?

Does this mean that hydrogen bombs actually involve both fission and fusion processes?

I'm guessing that the energy required to ignite a hydrogen bomb is much less than the fusion energy produced. Why can't we harness that fusion energy? Is it because of uncontrolled fusion reactions? These might just be a series of dumb questions. LOL
OnceDear
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December 12th, 2022 at 3:19:26 PM permalink
Quote: ssho88

The high temperatures required for the fusion reaction in a hydrogen bomb are created by detonating an atomic bomb (which gets its energy from nuclear fission). Is that right?

Does this mean that hydrogen bombs actually involve both fission and fusion processes?

Exactly.
Fission of Uranium give the burst of high energy Neutrons which plough into some added lithium deuteride. The neutrons react with the lithium in this chemical compound, producing tritium and helium. And a sh^^load of energy.
Quote:


I'm guessing that the energy required to ignite a hydrogen bomb is much less than the fusion energy produced. Why can't we harness that fusion energy? Is it because of uncontrolled fusion reactions? These might just be a series of dumb questions. LOL
link to original post



Harnessing fission in a typical nuclear reactor is possible because the whole process can be scaled and slowed down. But for fission, we need the incredible heat from an initial fission explosion. Then, yeah, massive energy return. But fusion needs temperatures on a par with the surface of the sun. Containing that requires magnetic control of super heated plasmas. Not currently sustainable.
Psalm 25:16 Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Proverbs 18:2 A fool finds no satisfaction in trying to understand, for he would rather express his own opinion.
ssho88
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December 12th, 2022 at 4:25:00 PM permalink
Maybe my question is not clear, hydrogen bomb uses fusion reaction, so H-bomb should be more "CLEAN" than atomic bomb(correct?), we can ignite hydrogen bomb, why can't we harness energy created from ignition of "SMALL SCALE" H-bomb ?
Last edited by: ssho88 on Dec 12, 2022
rxwine
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December 12th, 2022 at 5:11:59 PM permalink
I was curious about fusion funding. Found a paper on it here.

http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2021/ph241/margraf1/
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BillHasRetired
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December 12th, 2022 at 5:59:54 PM permalink
Numbers added to index answers to questions.
Quote: ssho88

(1) The high temperatures required for the fusion reaction in a hydrogen bomb are created by detonating an atomic bomb (which gets its energy from nuclear fission). Is that right?

(2) Does this mean that hydrogen bombs actually involve both fission and fusion processes?

(3) I'm guessing that the energy required to ignite a hydrogen bomb is much less than the fusion energy produced. Why can't we harness that fusion energy? Is it because of uncontrolled fusion reactions? These might just be a series of dumb questions. LOL
link to original post


(1). That is correct. Every fusion (or hydrogen) bomb is a two or three stage design where the first stage is a conventional fission (plutonium) bomb.

(2) Hydrogen bombs use the initial fission reaction (via a number of energy couplers) to compress the fusion fuel (usually lithium-6 deuteride, but other fuels exist) and heat the fuel until the fusion reaction overwhelms the fission one. It's really a fascinating field where you're working on micro-second timescales, million-degree temperature scales, and giga-pascal pressure scales.

(3) No--fusion reactions are an order of magnitude greater than the fission reactions that serve to 'ignite' the fusion reaction. For instance, the largest yield that I recall for a fission weapon is on the close order of one-and-a-half-megaton, while the fusion thus produced literally has no theoretical upper limit. It has a practical upper limit--the bomb has to be delivered to the target, for instance, or the crew dropping the bomb must have a reasonable chance to escape the fireball (viz. Tsar Bomba) The largest fusion bomb detonated was about 50 megatons, and at that, the fireball reached a diameter of 5 miles. It's kinda hard to tie an electrical turbine to that.
In general, one cannot harness fusion from weapons because the explosion is so powerful. The problem with fusion is that one cannot scale it down. A fusion bomb has a lower practical limit, but even that is far too powerful to be harnessed.
Dieter
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December 12th, 2022 at 6:59:52 PM permalink
Quote: ssho88


I'm guessing that the energy required to ignite a hydrogen bomb is much less than the fusion energy produced. Why can't we harness that fusion energy? Is it because of uncontrolled fusion reactions? These might just be a series of dumb questions. LOL
link to original post



Ok, from a cost standpoint... a "small" bomb costs around $40 million, if some quick searches show up anything useful.

I'm assuming that can produce around 4x1013J, or around 11000000 kwH.

Assuming a usual conversion efficiency of 30%, I get 3.3 million kwH per $40 million in highly specialized fuel. So, $12/kilowatt-hour, not counting the mile-wide reactor and all the power conversion stuff needed you have to build if you want it not to be vaporized. Probably $20/kwH on the bill.

I think that means that after my first power bill jumps from $150 to $6000, I quickly come out ahead to buy my own big generator and have daily scheduled jet fuel deliveries to keep the lights on.
May the cards fall in your favor.
gordonm888
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December 12th, 2022 at 7:06:49 PM permalink
Just one more aspect of fusion bomb design. The atomic bomb releases a very intense burst of gamma rays, which are reflected back (by a spherical aluminum sheet surrounding the atomic bomb) onto the centrally located tritium sphere. The spherical tritium pellet is compressed by radiation pressure, i.e. by the force of the reflected gamma rays.

So, it is not the neutrons of the atomic blast, but rather the radiation than compresses the tritium pellet, setting off the fusion reaction.
So many better men, a few of them friends, are dead. And a thousand thousand slimy things live on, and so do I.
ssho88
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December 12th, 2022 at 7:30:32 PM permalink
Quote: BillHasRetired

Numbers added to index answers to questions.

Quote: ssho88

(1) The high temperatures required for the fusion reaction in a hydrogen bomb are created by detonating an atomic bomb (which gets its energy from nuclear fission). Is that right?

(2) Does this mean that hydrogen bombs actually involve both fission and fusion processes?

(3) I'm guessing that the energy required to ignite a hydrogen bomb is much less than the fusion energy produced. Why can't we harness that fusion energy? Is it because of uncontrolled fusion reactions? These might just be a series of dumb questions. LOL
link to original post


(1). That is correct. Every fusion (or hydrogen) bomb is a two or three stage design where the first stage is a conventional fission (plutonium) bomb.

(2) Hydrogen bombs use the initial fission reaction (via a number of energy couplers) to compress the fusion fuel (usually lithium-6 deuteride, but other fuels exist) and heat the fuel until the fusion reaction overwhelms the fission one. It's really a fascinating field where you're working on micro-second timescales, million-degree temperature scales, and giga-pascal pressure scales.

(3) No--fusion reactions are an order of magnitude greater than the fission reactions that serve to 'ignite' the fusion reaction. For instance, the largest yield that I recall for a fission weapon is on the close order of one-and-a-half-megaton, while the fusion thus produced literally has no theoretical upper limit. It has a practical upper limit--the bomb has to be delivered to the target, for instance, or the crew dropping the bomb must have a reasonable chance to escape the fireball (viz. Tsar Bomba) The largest fusion bomb detonated was about 50 megatons, and at that, the fireball reached a diameter of 5 miles. It's kinda hard to tie an electrical turbine to that.
In general, one cannot harness fusion from weapons because the explosion is so powerful. The problem with fusion is that one cannot scale it down. A fusion bomb has a lower practical limit, but even that is far too powerful to be harnessed.
link to original post



Thanks for your answer

"The problem with fusion is that one cannot scale it down. A fusion bomb has a lower practical limit, but even that is far too powerful to be harnessed"
This explains everything
Talldude90
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December 12th, 2022 at 11:48:15 PM permalink
Just need some adamantine in real life and we can just make a diesel engine design that ignites from compression XD.

I've never thought the Laser Shooting method to be a practical one. Are we really focusing on this version versus toroidal magnetic confinement?

Also plasma physics and fusion theory math is a PITA #puke. I wonder how much recycling of energy is in the designs of current laser based fusion designs... Eh, I'll just stick to fission, nvm. You don't have to deal with relativity in fission (power plants) so the math is way easier.
rxwine
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December 27th, 2022 at 4:26:29 PM permalink
I was thinking of this thread today when I read that it “took decades to develop methods to recover, sequence and analyze ancient DNA from fossils”.

How many technologies and years did it take to develop all the needed equipment for man to land on the moon? You can’t even brush your teeth up there without considering implications of being in space.

It may be more naive to to think something should have been done already just because it has consumed many years already.

(I’m considering everything that had to come into being and possibly be modified, not just when Kennedy announced the plan)
There's no secret. Just know what you're talking about before you open your mouth.
BillHasRetired
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December 28th, 2022 at 12:51:09 AM permalink
Quote: rxwine

(snip to relevant part)
How many technologies and years did it take to develop all the needed equipment for man to land on the moon? You can’t even brush your teeth up there without considering implications of being in space.
(More snippage)
(I’m considering everything that had to come into being and possibly be modified, not just when Kennedy announced the plan)
link to original post

About forty years, and it all started in a snowy pasture almost one hundred years ago--March 16, 1926, when Robert H. Goddard launched the world's first liquid-fueled rocket. Of course, you could go to the 'n'th-degree on this, that because the fuel was gasoline, you couldn't have the launch until gasoline was invented, which meant crude oil dirlled, and when was that first big gusher? But the seminal event was indeed the first flight of a liquid-fueled rocket, and it took place some 43 years before Apollo 11 lifted off from Florida.
DogHand
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December 28th, 2022 at 1:40:07 AM permalink
Quote: BillHasRetired

<snip>Of course, you could go to the 'n'th-degree on this, that because the fuel was gasoline, you couldn't have the launch until gasoline was invented, which meant crude oil dirlled, and when was that first big gusher?<snip>link to original post


BillHasRetired,

The first big gusher was Spindletop in Beaumont, Texas on January 10, 1901:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spindletop

Dog Hand
odiousgambit
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December 28th, 2022 at 3:27:38 AM permalink
Quote: rxwine

How many technologies and years did it take to develop all the needed equipment for man to land on the moon? You can’t even brush your teeth up there without considering implications of being in space.

It may be more naive to to think something should have been done already just because it has consumed many years already.

(I’m considering everything that had to come into being and possibly be modified, not just when Kennedy announced the plan)
link to original post

Most people don't realize the chances the astronauts/cosmonauts were taking in order for one side to beat the other to the moon. These men were expendable to a degree.

One example is the first ‘space walks’, with the Russians beating us to it. Both instances were rushed, basically just sending somebody outside because they could use a tether. In each case the suits were not designed for it, ballooning out. The cosmonaut, Alexei Leonov, got stuck getting back in and had to lower the pressure in the suit, risking the Bends. He also overheated.

We also were not ready for it at all, either, but had to match the Soviet feat, so we shoved an astronaut out into space anyway ... Ed White. His suit, ballooning, was in layers of course and an inner protective layer ripped open in the back, and he came home with a sunburn there and obviously overheated too. Houston was trying to tell him to get back in, but couldn’t communicate directly, and for some reason his partner, James McDivitt, wasn’t relating the concern. White also had difficulty getting back in due to the ballooning. A glove came off and may be still floating around up there. Additionally, an unexpected problem with the hatch developed, initially preventing proper closure, which would have been a death sentence for these two.

Looking at the links, you might wonder about my source for some of the above. It was covered in a series I watched on the space program, one that highlighted these dangers. Looking for another source, I got tired of trying to find some of these same details. The US program played down the dangers the astronauts were facing, for some reason, same as the Russians. People sometimes complained it was boring to watch, no wonder. The hush hush of those days may have remnants still, as you can see there is really no mention of these things other than the glove and the hatch. You might conclude the American walk went better, but I don’t think this is the case at all. Maybe you can find a link covering these other things, I gave up.

https://airandspace.si.edu/stories/editorial/walking-space-our-favorite-facts-about-first-us-spacewalk

https://spacecenter.org/this-day-in-history-ed-white-becomes-first-american-to-walk-in-space/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extravehicular_activity
the next time Dame Fortune toys with your heart, your soul and your wallet, raise your glass and praise her thus: “Thanks for nothing, you cold-hearted, evil, damnable, nefarious, low-life, malicious monster from Hell!”   She is, after all, stone deaf. ... Arnold Snyder
gordonm888
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December 28th, 2022 at 10:10:13 AM permalink
Quote: Talldude90


I've never thought the Laser Shooting method to be a practical one. Are we really focusing on this version versus toroidal magnetic confinement?
link to original post



No, the thrust of US and international fusion energy research is in plasma confinement devices. The scientists who are promoting laser-driven fusion are the individuals working on the large laser system at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory who are motivated by wanting additional funding to operate their expensive experiments.

There are few things more deceitful than a scientist searching for funding.
So many better men, a few of them friends, are dead. And a thousand thousand slimy things live on, and so do I.
DRich
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December 28th, 2022 at 2:31:21 PM permalink
Quote: gordonm888

Quote: Talldude90


I've never thought the Laser Shooting method to be a practical one. Are we really focusing on this version versus toroidal magnetic confinement?
link to original post



No, the thrust of US and international fusion energy research is in plasma confinement devices. The scientists who are promoting laser-driven fusion are the individuals working on the large laser system at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory who are motivated by wanting additional funding to operate their expensive experiments.

There are few things more deceitful than a scientist searching for funding.
link to original post



I might disagree. I was taught in college that you must always spend every dollar of a grant issued to you or else they will cut it the next year. One year we had close to a million dollars of unspent grant money going into the last week of December. Basically we were given a blank check to spend a million dollars before the end of the week. It was fun and we completely wasted the majority of that million dollars.
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TumblingBones
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December 28th, 2022 at 3:02:42 PM permalink
Quote: BillHasRetired

Quote: rxwine

(snip to relevant part)
How many technologies and years did it take to develop all the needed equipment for man to land on the moon? You can’t even brush your teeth up there without considering implications of being in space.
(More snippage)
(I’m considering everything that had to come into being and possibly be modified, not just when Kennedy announced the plan)
link to original post

About forty years, and it all started in a snowy pasture almost one hundred years ago--March 16, 1926, when Robert H. Goddard launched the world's first liquid-fueled rocket. Of course, you could go to the 'n'th-degree on this, that because the fuel was gasoline, you couldn't have the launch until gasoline was invented, which meant crude oil dirlled, and when was that first big gusher? But the seminal event was indeed the first flight of a liquid-fueled rocket, and it took place some 43 years before Apollo 11 lifted off from Florida.
link to original post


My rule of thumb has been that it takes about 30 years to go from the first crude steps by some isolated innovator to becoming a mainstream technology that the general public hears about in the evening news. Goddard was March 1926 and Sputnik was Oct 1957. That's 31.5 years so definitely in the ballpark.

For comparison:
  • Work on satellite-based navigation started in 1958 and GPS become fully operational ~1990 with the Gulf War
  • First demo of Voice over IP (VOIP) was 1973; Skype came out in 2000
  • Invention of the mouse by Doug Englebart was in 1963; 1st PC with mouse was 1983 although it didn't really catch on until the Apple Lisa the following year
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December 28th, 2022 at 5:19:45 PM permalink
This is the mainline fusion program:

ITER Fusion Facility in France
So many better men, a few of them friends, are dead. And a thousand thousand slimy things live on, and so do I.
odiousgambit
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December 29th, 2022 at 4:59:23 AM permalink
Quote: gordonm888

This is the mainline fusion program:

ITER Fusion Facility in France
link to original post

it's possible that the recent Lawrence Livermore feat is an unwelcome distraction, pointing to an older idea of how to do this that has few advocates today.
the next time Dame Fortune toys with your heart, your soul and your wallet, raise your glass and praise her thus: “Thanks for nothing, you cold-hearted, evil, damnable, nefarious, low-life, malicious monster from Hell!”   She is, after all, stone deaf. ... Arnold Snyder
RideTheEdge
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January 2nd, 2023 at 1:09:49 PM permalink
Quote: gordonm888

This is the mainline fusion program:

ITER Fusion Facility in France
link to original post



ITER is probably the most expensive and time consuming fusion program. There are other efforts that may (will IMHO) lead to more dramatic advances.

Fusion startups have started to get funding in the past few years. There are many companies with a variety of approaches. The MIT spinoff Commonwealth Fusion Systems has lots of money and an aggressive schedule (for this space.) The Canadian company General Fusion is also well funded and has an interesting approach to dealing with proximity of the hot plasma to the inside of the vessel. They spin up molten metal inside, let the reaction heat it up, and then extract the heat. Both these companies have sites for their initial reactors.
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