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Could Spacecraft of the Future Be Powered By ‘Lattice Confinement’ Nuclear Fusion?

schwit1 writes: Researchers at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have now demonstrated a method of inducing nuclear fusion without building a massive stellarator or tokamak. In fact, all they needed was a bit of metal, some hydrogen, and an electron accelerator.

The team believes that their method, called lattice confinement fusion, could be a potential new power source for deep space missions. They have published their results in two papers in Physical Review C

“What we did was not cold fusion,” says Lawrence Forsley, a senior lead experimental physicist for the project. Cold fusion, the idea that fusion can occur at relatively low energies in room-temperature materials, is viewed with skepticism by the vast majority of physicists. Forsley stresses this is hot fusion, but “We’ve come up with a new way of driving it.”
The article contains a good description of the technical details, and end by summarizing the hopes of the project’s analytical physicist and nuclear diagnostics lead. “This method of fusion offers a potentially reliable source for craft operating in places where solar panels may not be useable, for example.

“And of course, what works in space could be used on Earth.”

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