ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Fusion the true solar power.

Updated on November 19, 2015
Fission reaction
Fission reaction
Fusion reaction
Fusion reaction

Fission fusion what's the difference

So fission and fusion reactions what's the difference and why should anyone really care? let's begin with fission. In a nut shell it is the splitting of atoms with high powered collisions, a process that rarely occurs in nature. Fusion is the creation of a new atomically heavier element by fusing two or more lighter ones; a process that is and has been occurring naturally for billions of years. Lets break each one down.Like I mentioned above, fission occurring naturally is quite rare mainly due to the many factors having to be present for a sustained fission reaction. The proper fissionable elements must be present and also, water. Why water? Well fissionable elements are ones that are what we call radioactive meaning that they are giving off high speed particles in a decay process. These particles are moving very fast. Here comes the need for the water. It actually slows the particles down enough to have a self sustaining reaction. One particle hitting another and sending that particle on to hit another rather than just flying off into the surrounding space. Fusion, however is occurring and has occurred and will continue to occur for billions and billions of years all throughout our universe. It's the true solar power it powers every star in the cosmos that has ever been or will ever be. There is a technical term for the period we live in; starliferous kind of self explanatory, simply put we inhabit the period of time when stars light the universe. There was a time when there was only darkness and gas. There will come a time when the last star has been created and the clock will begin ticking in earnest for another dark time to arrive. Once this star has burned through its fuel and it's life is over darkness will once again rule the universe. Don't fret though that's so far into the future no human will witness this time.


Scientist agree mostly anyway our universe sprang into existence around thirteen and half billion years ago. From an infinitely dense point called a singularity the how and why this occurred is still being debated, hotly I might add, in the world of theoretical physics all around the world. I personally believe we will never truly know why this occurred. In the young universe there was only gas, mostly hydrogen and some helium. There were no stars, no planets, nothing of what we see today. In fact it took around two hundred million years for the universe to cool enough so that gravity began to exert itself. The very first star was born and we had light spilling out into the darkness for the first time. These first stars were gigantic; many, many times larger than our closest star, the sun. These giant stars fused their fuel very quickly creating all the while heavier and heavier atoms. Think of a union with layers very good analogy of how a star would look if you could slice one in half. This process continues until the element iron is produced. Once this occurs the star is finished iron kills the fusion process. Once fusion, the heart beat of the star has ended, gravity takes over and in less than a second the star collapses in on itself. Resulting in a super nova explosion. It is this super high energy and temperature explosion that creates all the heavier elements than iron. Which explains why those heavier elements such lead, gold, uranium are relatively rare compared the elements from hydrogen to iron. So we have those early stars to thank for our very existence every element that our bodies are built from was created in these early stars or by the resulting super nova. Just a quick note on our star it is a second or perhaps third generation star about half way through its life. It is not going to die in a giant explosion but it will first expand as it loses grip on its gasses then shrink into what's called a white dwarf. It will then simply get cooler and cooler over time and if the outer planets survive they will continue to orbit a ghost till the universe ceases to exist.

Fusion harnessed

So we see that fusion is the most important process with the exception of the big bang itself, to our existence. It may also be our savior and energy source that could allow us travel the local galaxy anyway. Mother nature harnesses fusion easily enough right? Stars fill the sky and in fact we have one ninety three million miles from us is fusing about 400 million tons of hydrogen per second. It has been doing this for about four and half billion years and should continue doing so for another five billion years. So why can't we humans get some hydrogen heat it up and squeeze together and get a fusion reaction? After all like we just read above, mother nature seems to have no trouble whatsoever accomplishing this many times over. Mother nature has something we humans do not; gravity. It takes an enormous amount of material to compress the center to the point where the temperature and pressure is high enough to kick off fusion. There is, however, a way around this and physics has proven it. There are currently several experimental fusion reactors on the planet today. However, the problem all of them have is the energy needed to sustain a reaction for a very small amount of time far outweighs the energy produced. Since we can't reproduce pressures that naturally occur inside stars using gravity, we use light. Light you say? Yep, light actually has a small amount of push behind it far less than one can feel. After all ,we don't walk out on a sunny day and get knocked down by sunlight. But it is there so if we can focus light and direct it into a small area with the right amount of fusionable material, voilĂ  fusion! Sounds easy enough, right? But remember, it takes the combined gravity of a star to ignite and sustain fusion. Our sun comprises approximately 99.9 percent of all the mass in our solar system. So therein lies the challenge. We haven't yet found a way to compress the fuel to start the fusion process that doesn't consume far more power than it produces. I have faith in human ingenuity and I do believe the answer is there. The real question is when will it be discovered? I'd like to believe it will happen in my lifetime but that may be optimistic. Most futurists believe that in the next century or so our technology will catch up to our desire.

Fusion where can it take us?

So fusion is the power source of the universe. If we do indeed overcome the mostly engineering challenges, what will it do for humankind. The benefit that will be felt by most people will be that energy will be abundant, cheap and non polluting. The day that we make the switch, like I said, is at least fifty years away and in all likelihood a century give or take a decade, is a blessing. Most people fail to realize our economy is based on petro-chemical production. So we need time to move away from this type of economy slowly so we don't have a complete collapse in our economy. If aliens showed up today and gave us the technology putting aside the implications of aliens landing, our whole way of life would crumble. We indeed need time to change the way our economy works in a protracted way not overnight. So we've done it what happens now? The entire world will open up to exploration and habitation. There are many uninhabited areas of our little blue world, mainly because we have no easy way of providing power to these areas. From the highest peaks of the Himalayas, to the incredible landscapes under the seas and lakes. Imagine if you were able to spend a week under the sea with the great barrier reef as a back drop, or the mid-ocean ridges where we find the hot water seeps and vents where some of the most alien type life we have living on the planet. Perhaps spending a weekend at the top of the world where to date less than a thousand people have ever seen. Then you have the rest of the solar system that would open up. Fusion rockets would allow for travel times to be shortened from days to hours to the moon. Mars in as little as thirty days instead of months. The asteroid belt would easily become our source for raw materials needed for further exploration or used back on earth for a myriad of projects and production of goods. The outer solar system is a gold mine of rare earth elements. The atmospheres of the gas giants are loaded in helium 3 which is used as fuel for the fusion reactors. There are at least three moons out there that actually may be inhabited now with at least primitive life. The most exciting of which, in my opinion, is Titan. We have evidence now there may actually be exotic life floating in lakes of paint thinner. Plus, Titan is the only moon that has a thick atmosphere it is actually very Earth-like with the biggest exception being the lack of oxygen. So, one could walk around on Titan with simply a mask for oxygen and warm clothing and explore a world that would seem very foreign but somehow be very familiar. In short, our ability to explore and live anywhere on the planet or our truly amazing solar system boils down to the ability to produce power. Fusion reactors would be the answer to our energy demands and give us the ability to spread across our solar system then to the rest of our galaxy.

Landing on Titan


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)