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IPFS News Link • Energy

News Feature: Small-scale fusion tackles energy, space applications

• by M. Mitchell Waldrop

On July 14, 2015, nine years and five billion kilometers after liftoff, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft passed the dwarf planet Pluto and its outsized moon Charon at almost 14 kilometers per second—roughly 20 times faster than a rifle bullet.

The images and data that New Horizons painstakingly radioed back to Earth in the weeks that followed revealed a pair of worlds that were far more varied and geologically active than anyone had thought possible. The revelations were breathtaking—and yet tinged with melancholy, because New Horizons was almost certain to be both the first and the last spacecraft to visit this fascinating world in our lifetimes.

Unless, that is, Samuel Cohen succeeds with the offbeat fusion reactor that he's developing at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory in New Jersey.