China has switched on its artificial sun for a test and hoo boy was it hot.
The Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) is located west of Shanghai and is a nuclear fusion facility that is designed to hopefully one day create 'unlimited clean energy'.
Officials decided to ring in 2022 with a test of the machine and it managed to reach temperatures of up to 70 million degrees Celsius.
To understand just how hot that is, our Sun, the one that Earth rotates around in the solar system, only burns at roughly 15 million degrees C.
That means China's EAST machine can burn almost five times hotter than the thing that is literally keeping everyone on Earth alive.
South China Morning Post has revealed the latest test lasted 1,056 seconds, or 17 minutes, 36 seconds.
The test started in December and will last until June this year.
Gong Xianzu, a researcher at the Institute of Plasma Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told Xinhua News Agency: "The recent operation lays a solid scientific and experimental foundation towards the running of a fusion reactor."
Institute of Plasma Physics director Song Yuntao added: "[The experiment] once again challenged the world record. We have comprehensively validated the technology, driving it a major step forward from basic research to engineering applications."
That world record was set last year by EAST when it managed to burn plasma at an incredible 120 million degrees C, according to the New York Post.
That test only lasted 101 seconds, however it was enough to usher in a new milestone in the mission to find clean energy.
The machine is called an 'artificial sun' because it mimics the reactions that are seen on our central celestial body.
When it gets into those extremely high temperatures, it boils hydrogen isotopes into a plasma and then fuses them together to release energy.
If they're able to work out how to keep a machine like this running for longer than 20 minutes then it could provide clean electricity to loads of people.
Song Yuntao is hopeful they will be able to achieve this by 2040. It will take that long to design and build the the fusion reactor.
The recent test, however, has brought us one step closer to 'unlimited clean energy'.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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