The National Ignition Facility fired a 500-terawatt laser on July 5. The laser consisted of “192 beams of optically amplified, electromagnetic radiation-emitting light, all fired within a few trillionths of a second of each other.”
Perspective: 500 terawatts
500 terawatts is most impressive: 1,000 times more power than the U.S. produces at any instant, and significantly higher than the 1.21 gigawatts necessary for time travel.
Unfortunately, it’s not enough to blow up a planet.
In order to provide firepower of that magnitude, you need to build something larger. The facility is as large as three football stadiums, but creating a larger moon-sized death star would cost you approximately $852 quadrillion.
Believe it or not, the National Ignition Facility in California wasn’t designed to destory planets, or anything for that matter. That’s what the one in Seattle was designed for.
All joking aside, the NIF, conceived over 20 years ago, was created for experiments to improve national security and to achieve clean fusion energy.
In a press release, NIF director Edward Moses talks about the purpose of the NIF:
“[The NIF] is fully operational, and scientists are taking important steps toward achieving ignition and providing experimental access to user communities for national security, basic science and the quest for clean fusion energy.”