China creates 'artificial sun' that's six times hotter than the real thing

  • 15/11/2018

China has created an "artificial sun" that burns at 100 million degrees Celsius - over six times hotter than the original.

A team of scientists from China's Institute of Plasma Physics announced this week that plasma in its Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) had reached the extraordinary temperature.

To put that into perspective, the current natural sun has a core temperature of roughly 15 million degrees Celsius - making the artificial version more than six times hotter.

The news follows an announcement from China last month with their plans to launch an artificial moon, 8 times brighter than the natural moon to replace city streetlights by 2020.

Aside from being impressive, the success of EAST is a significant step for China's nuclear fusion programme.

Associate Professor Matthew Hole from the Australian National University told ABC News about the achievement and its significance.

"The benefit is simple in that it is a very large-scale base load continuous energy production, with zero greenhouse gas emissions and no long-life radioactive waste," he explained.

The research team responsible for EAST say it achieved this milestone through the use of various new techniques in heating and controlling the plasma, but were only able to maintain the record temperature for about 10 seconds.

Dr Hole also adds that the nuclear fusion reactors avoid the risks associated with the current nuclear fission reactors, which can be adapted into dangerous weapons and are prone to possible meltdowns with disastrous outcomes.