Scientists plan to explore alien worlds by using laser beams on Earth

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Washington, March 7 (ANI): Scientists are planning to explore alien world conditions right here on Earth, by using laser beams to hit a tiny target, creating conditions momentarily similar to what exists in the cores of stars and giant planets and inside nuclear weapons.

According to a report in Discovery News, these experiments would be conducted in a new national laboratory in the US that has the power to compress hydrogen down to the density of copper.

"It's an extraordinary time for this type of science," said Gilbert Collins, a physicist with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, host to the new National Ignition Facility, which will use the power of 192 infrared lasers to demonstrate nuclear fusion.

Scientists plan to use the laser beams to hit a tiny target, creating conditions momentarily similar to what exists in the cores of stars and giant planets and inside nuclear weapons.

"Most of the planets we know about are outside our own solar system. They're large, they're in planetary systems that are bizarre, except well actually, it's perhaps our planetary system that stands out as being a little bit bizarre," said planetary scientist Raymond Jeanloz, with the University of California at Berkeley.

Scientists' first look at Mother Nature's planetary toolkit began with Earth, where interior pressures are about 3.5 million times higher than on the surface.

They then moved on to Jupiter, the solar system's largest world, with an interior pressure 70 million times stronger than Earth's.

Prodded by discoveries of extra-solar planets up to 10 times larger than Jupiter, physicists are beginning to explore how matter behaves at pressures that are millions or even a billion times greater than on Earth.

"We've had a real breakthrough experimentally in being able to begin to reproduce these kinds of enormous pressures in the laboratory so we can actually study the properties of matter in these conditions," Jeanloz said. (ANI)

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