Ground Zero: A circular access port affords a glimpse into a 10-meter-diameter target chamber where, in the coming months, powerful lasers will be fired with the goal of setting off small thermonuclear explosions. The laser beams will enter through square ports at the bottom (and through more ports, not pictured, at the top). The circular openings allow access for instruments that will monitor the explosions. Extending into the center of the chamber is a camera used to peer back along the paths taken by the beams, examining mirrors and lenses for damage.
Kevin BullisMy reporting as MIT Technology Review’s senior editor for materials has taken me, among other places, to the oil-rich deserts of the Middle East and to China, where mountains are being carved away to build the looming cities.
Growing up, I lived for a time in the Philippines, where I knew people who lit their tiny homes with single lantern batteries or struggled to breathe through the dense diesel fumes of Manila, so I have a feel for the pressing need around the world for both cheap energy and clean energy.