Well, this is interesting - the European Commission has approved the construction of three new huge research lasers, leaving the door open on a fourth that would, for a tiny instant, be several hundred times more powerful than the entirety of the power generated by the human race.
Yes, that is very, very powerful. The scientists hope to actually create virtual particules from absolutely nothing. The fourth laser when at peak power in Europe's Extreme Light Infrastructure project (ELI) would combine a total of ten beams into a single pulse at 200 petawatts. The entire Earth doesn't even generate that much power at any one moment, and if we're talking scale, it is more total power than the Earth receives from our star, the sun.
This is not the type of laser that stays on continuously, and will only use this mammoth amount of power for just 1.5 x 10^-14 second .This is the same time that "it takes for light to travel from one side of a human hair to the other, if you shave your hair down by 90%", reports Dvice.
We haven't even gotten to the good part yet! The point of this new, super-powerful laser is to explore quantum mechanics, which suggests that space itself is just a giant party of random particles that are constantly popping in and out existence too fast for us to see. The end result would be that this laser could actually be so powerful it would be capable of tearing apart the vacuum of space-time itself, which would reveal the matter and antimatter underneath.
The space-time-ripping fourth laser is set to go live in 2017.
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