Can this mini-star mimic the sun and provide clean solar energy for the future? If so, it may finally end our dependency on fossil fuels.

A project known as the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, or ITER, has been spearheaded by scientists and engineers in Southern France to create a mini-star that will produce the same natural process as the sun--nuclear fusion--in hopes of moving humanity toward a new future of energy. Nuclear fusion happens when two atomic nuclei collide with each other, releasing energy in the form of photons that can then be harnessed and re-used.

Project ITER began in 1987 and has been no small feat. Bumps in the road have slowed down it's progress until now. With the help of seven entities, including the US, EU, Russia and China, the project is finally on its path to completion. The mini-star is expected to be up and running smoothly sometime during the 2020s. It will weigh twenty-three thousand tons (three times as much as the Eiffel Tower) and be as large as 60 football fields. 

ITER, which means “the way” in Latin, highlights the possibilities of replacing unsustainable dirty energy forms of today (like fossil fuels) with clean solar energy. Commercial reactors modeled on the star could generate power with no carbon, virtually no pollution, and scant radioactive waste.

What do you guys think about this project? Will it work? Leave us a comment and let us know. 

 Illustration by Jacob Escobedo

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