China is trying to recreate the universe.
At least that’s how it seems lately. Just weeks after the city of Chengdu announced it would launch an "artificial moon" (i.e. a satellite lighting up the city's nighttime sky), an institute affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Sciences announced progress on its “artificial sun.”
The Academy has created a nuclear reactor that has achieved a milestone temperature of 100 million degrees Celsius, a fundamental step toward achieving sun-like nuclear fusion, CCTV reported Monday.
This, however, won’t be used to light up a city's sky. Instead, data from this "sun" experiment will support the research and construction of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), an international experiment intended to further innovation in clean energy.
The reactor goes by the name Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) – not “artificial sun.” The latter’s just a name it’s been called in the media – likely because of the buzz over Chengdu’s artificial moon.