Re: [sl4] giant planets ignition - one more existential risk

From: Stuart Armstrong (
Date: Fri Dec 12 2008 - 02:23:06 MST

Thanks for an informed post on the subject. It's what was missing in
the speculations and counter-speculations.

> To fuse, deuterium nuclei have to come together physically in an area the
> size of the atomic nucleus. This takes a great deal of pressure and heat.
> More likely than two deuterium nuclei fusing is that a deuterium nucleus and
> a hydrogen nucleus will fuse to form helium 3. I doubt that the pressures in
> a gas giant are anything like high enough to support detonation of the whole
> planet. Unlike nuclear fission, where fast neutron cause fission ahead of
> the shock front resulting from the release of energy by prior fission events
> and thus generate true detonations, fusion requires extremely high pressures
> and temperatures such as are found in the centers of stars.


> Bill
> William P. (Bill) Hall, PhD
> Documentation and Knowledge Management Systems Analyst

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