Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Science of Science Fiction--Fusion Power!

Fusion power, in which energy is released by combining particles instead of smashing them apart, is going to be the energy source of the future. At least, it will be in Across Two Universes. Fusion power, if it ever becomes available, would help solve our energy problems. You can find the readily available ingredients in seawater to obtain power levels found in the sun with effectively little radioactive products. (The neutrons that do carry some radioactivity can easily be stopped by a thick concrete wall.) But to get it started requires the energy of 192 laser beams. Some people say fusion won't work as an energy source, but labs all over the world are still working on it. Here's an article from CNN about Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's fusion project.

I don't think I need to say much here about the implications for science fiction. I use fusion power to drive the starship Sagan in Across Two Universes, but you could also use it to power cities, planets, artificial habitats, you name it. Can fusion power serve as a point of conflict in a story instead of part of the backdrop? I personally don't like showing technology gone wrong, though of course it can and does happen. But by studying fusion on Earth, we can learn more about our sun and other stars.


elizabeth mueller said...

Hi Sandra! I'm so happy to have found your blog! I feel smart reading it. *Grinning* Reading your blog has just reminded me just how much I love science.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

Hi Elizabeth! Nice to meet you too! If you don't mind me asking, how'd you find me?

Site Meter