If Pentagon whiz kid researchers at DARPA have anything to do with it, handheld fusion reactors could be more than just the stuff of science fiction. Controlling a fusion reaction, the same energy source that powers the sun, is a longtime dream of ambitious scientists. Fusion holds the key to nearly limitless energy.
Someone at DARPA must think a handheld fusion device is possible, because DARPA indicates that its Chip-Scale High Energy Atomic Beams could lead to "handheld power sources." Only problem is, the project doesn't appear in the 2010 budget, but that doesn't necessarily mean the researchers have given up on the idea.
There's little info about this mind-blowing project, but it certainly changes our assumptions about nuclear fusion. We were thinking you'd need a gigantic facility, lots of high-powered lasers, and zillions of dollars to control a fusion reaction. To hold this sort of thing in your hand? The fact that scientists are even talking about this possibility, and pursuing it with multimillion-dollar budgets, is astonishing.
Via Danger Room