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Nuclear fusion
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saxifrage00
Normally I would be exclaiming “holy crap, Batman,” but the nuclear fusion method recently discovered at UCLA is too inefficient to ever be refined into an energy generator, apparently.

Still, it’s nuclear fusion. How cool is that.

According to the article, what this device is good for is as a source of neutrons, a byproduct of fusion. With more miniaturisation of the device (which is only a foot long already), it could serve as a reaction engine for space probes, the stream of neutrons giving the probe a gentle but steady acceleration until quite impressive velocities are reached.

Since it’s powered by thermal gradients, all it would take to power the reaction is fuel (deuterium or tritium) to last the trip, and to spin the probe such that the fusion pod is alternately heated by the sun and cooled by vacuum. Of course, I may be talking out of my ass on this point, as the thermal gradient of vacuum and sunlight may be negligible far enough out, and heat-dissipation characteristics of available pod materials may make the heating and cooling too slow relative to necessary thrust to make it work even given a significant thermal gradient. But, the possibilities of this tech are still damn cool.

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Cooled in a vacuum? How's that go then?

Cooling in a vacuum has the disadvantage of no convective cooling, but radiative cooling when there's no enclosure to reflect infrared light works like a damn since hard vacuum in this universe is currently −270.15 °C. And that's why the thermal properties of the pod material would be paramount: if it doesn't transfer allow the rapid transfer of heat, then it won't passively radiate fast enough to keep up with the desired thrust.

Still talking out of my ass, though, mind.

*nod* Well, your astronomical ass talk is very interesting. keep it up. :)

I know just enough to be interesting and dangerous. :-)

I bet there is a big market for novelty cold fusion sex toys. :)

Alas, it's not technically cold fusion, which is why I refrained from the "holy crap, Batman!" exclamation.

But, what you say is true. Heck, skip the novelty part and go right to the cord-free Magic Wand–calibre non-novelty cold fusion–powered sex toys. Never needs to be charged, take it anywhere!

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