Back in 2004, Marvel Entertainment and Columbia Pictures captured scientists’ imagination when Dr. Otto Octavious (aka “Dr. Octopus”) made fusion happen in Spider-Man 2. As we all know, he couldn’t control the fusion reaction, thereby turning him into a villain and almost destroying New York (twice) if it wasn’t for our hero, Spider-Man. But, that’s a history lesson for another time.
Seven years after the fictional experiment, GE and the Barbarian Group are out to succeed where Doc. Oc. failed, this time using weather balloons as opposed to mechanical arms with a mind of their own. In this fifth installment of “The GE Show” (we chronicled Episode 3 in November), helium balloons were filled with with 71 percent hydrogen and 21 percent helium to replicate the molecular make-up of the sun. Then, the highly-flammable balloons were lit and 24 cameras surrounding the explosion captured the “mini-suns” before they burnt out. The resulting photos are stunning, and the energy from each reaction was approximately one-millionth of the actual sun’s energy. Pretty cool, considering 100 square miles of solar panels could capture enough energy to power the entire U.S. Who says science is boring?