Hydrogen plasma was produced for the first time on Feb. 3 in Germany’s Wendelstein 7-X fusion device, which has been called the “reactor designed in hell” as well as the“pretzel that could save Planet Earth.”
The Wendelstein 7-X was built at the Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics in Greifswald at a cost of €1 billion ($1.1 billion). The device, known as a stellarator, is built to contain superheated plasma inside a magnetic chamber with a tangled, pretzel-like configuration.
Physicists at the institute are hoping that the crazy-looking design will keep the plasma stable for extended periods within the magnetic field. That’s been an issue for plasma chambers with a more typical doughnut-like design, which are called tokamaks.