How would you like to press the “fire” button on the world’s most powerful laser?
That’s what scientists in California got to do this month, shooting 192 simultaneous laser beams to blast a tiny target with a whopping 500 trillion watts. For some perspective, that’s 1,000 times more power than the entire rest of the United States was using at the time.
The National Ignition Facility, what amounts to a 10-story laser, will hopefully be used to one day kick start nuclear fusion reactions by firing the laser at a highly compressed pellet of hydrogen—which could potentially give us some serious terawatts of energy. In the meantime, we are waiting for them to attach one of these things to the head of a giant shark.