Sometimes referred to as "star in a jar" technology, the concept of the nuclear fusion power plant has obsessed physicists and engineers for generations. Instead of splitting atoms apart, like traditional nuclear power systems, fusion reactors smash atoms together, just like the sun and other stars. The idea is to essentially form a small mini-sun down here on Earth, generating limitless energy by fusing hydrogen nuclei together at 100 million degrees Celsius.
As you might imagine, generating such temperatures on Earth is a bit tricky. The superheated plasma would instantly burn through any containment materials, and so can only be contained in powerful magnetic fields. Incredibly, physicists can already do this, by way of experimental fusion reactor devices known as tokamaks and stellerators. In today's superheated DNews dispatch, the intrepid Trace Dominguez profiles the Wendelstein 7-X stellarator, which recently fired up to 80 million degrees Celsius. Breezy!
Popular Mechanics: Germany's Wildly Complex Fusion Reactor Is Actually Working
Phys.org: Plasma physicist discusses the Wendelstein 7-X stellarator
Duke Energy: Fission vs. Fusion - What's the Difference?