NATIONAL IGNITION FACILITYLAWRENCE LIVERMORE NATIONAL LABORATORY
DOCUMENTING A MINIATURE SUN IN VIRTUAL REALITY
We were given a unique opportunity to spherically shoot and document the largest engineering project in the US, the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore Labs in Northern California funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).
One of the least publicly known efforts in the search for future energy sources, but most monumental in terms of ramifications, NIF had entered a crucial testing phase after 20 years of design and construction.
Enormous in its implications for clean, safe, and controllable inertial fusion energy, it is the world’s largest optical device, consisting of 192 of the world’s most powerful lasers, all concentrated on a central target chamber, which in effect create a microcosm of the surface of the sun.
The spherical panoramas were captured at a high 35k resolution for an immersive fulldome presentation at the impressive Morrison Planetarium in the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, where NIF chief Ed Moses presented the images to a TEDxSF event audience.
Special thanks go out to John Densberger at LLNL.
THE WORLD’S LARGEST LASER POWERING FUSION REACTIONS
The National Ignition Facility (NIF) uses the world’s largest laser to compress and heat BB-sized capsules of fusion fuel with the goal of thermonuclear ignition.
NIF experiments produce temperatures and densities similar to those in stars and nuclear weapons.