The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) is an unprecedentedly large and ambitious scientific project – still in the works -- that hopes to one day help solve the world’s energy crisis.
The goal of ITER is to mimic the sun by using thermonuclear fusion to create energy. But to do this, the reactor will need to be able to contain and withstand materials that will hit temperatures ten times as hot as the sun’s core.
To work toward a solution, an international collaboration of 35 countries is putting in billions of dollars and countless hours into building the reactor in the south of France. The end goal is to have a reactor that produces more energy than is put into it – what scientists call ‘net energy gain.' If successful, the project could be a historic step towards solving the world’s energy crisis.
ITER is thought to be the most challenging scientific project ever, even more so than any space mission. It is hoped that it will be ready to run its first experiment in 2020.
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