When the world's most powerful laser facility flicks the switch on its first full-scale experiments later this month, a tiny star will be born on Earth.
how they do it:
A pea-sized spherical capsule is filled with fusion fuel
This comprises a 150-microgram mix of deuterium and tritium
The NIF laser set-up pulses for 20 billionths of a second
For that time, it generates about 500 trillion watts
That's equivalent to five million million 100-watt light bulbs
All the laser power is focused on to the capsule's surface
The fuel is compressed to a density 100 times that of lead
It is heated to more than 100 million degrees Celsius
Under these extreme conditions, fusion is initiated
I think I'll give that a go in my shed.