China's got a thing about controlling the weather. The country is quite literally able to 'seed' clouds to bring on or prevent rainfall, and now it looks like a group of the nation's smartest scientists have built an 'artificial sun' as part of a project to product near-limitless green energy.
Although this is not a sun as we've come to know it. The invention is actually a nuclear fusion reactor and China is locked in a race with the rest of the world to build the first operational version that will replicate the functions of the sun.
Many believe that the machine could provide endless clean energy that is worth billions and could potentially even save Earth from the burgeoning climate change crisis.
And it looks like China is racing into the lead with its groundbreaking reactor, having reached a major milestone this week. According to the Daily Mail, the machine hit 180 million F (100 million C) for the first time, which is believed to be the temperature at which nuclear fusion occurs.
Although it's meant to replicate the sun, this temperature makes it six times hotter than the core of the burning star, which peaks at around 27 million F (15 million C).
If you're wondering who's behind the project, it's the genius scientists at the China's Hefei Institutes of Physical Science. They were delighted to announce their achievement on Tuesday (November 13) of this week.
However, that's not to say the hard work is over. Despite the achievements made at the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor in Hefei, capital of Anhui province, scientist Zhang Tiankan suggested there's still some way to go before China is able to tap the energy produced by the fusion process.
The scientists said the EAST reactor had reached a plasma temperature of more than 100 million degrees, its discharge pulse was more than 100 seconds. However, Zhang suggested that to achieve sustained fusion energy, they'd need to raise the temperature to 'hundreds of millions of degrees' and lengthen the pulse to 'thousands of seconds'.
Way to piss on their sun fire, Zhang...
Just kidding. Of course the scientists themselves know this, but that's not to say this isn't a huge milestone.
So far EAST has reached an electrical output of 10 million watts, equivalent to the energy needed to power 200,000 light bulbs. Fusion power is great because it generates lots of energy with minimum impact on the environment, something this planet needs now more than ever before.Featured Image Credit: