Nature: The details of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s request for further funding for the National Ignition Facility show a shift toward lower-energy tests with the ultimate goal of initiating thermonuclear fusion. And the three-year deadline set by the plan isn’t for achieving successful fusion, but for determining whether fusion will actually be possible using the techniques employed by NIF. The plan is to perform reduced-power tests and to refine computer simulations in an attempt to understand why the facility has failed so far. Researchers at the facility will also examine alternative methods for initiating fusion, including directly striking the fuel pellets with the lasers, and using magnetic fields to squeeze the fuel pellets. The NNSA’s plan says that if this three-year period passes without evidence of progress or evidence that the facility would be able to initiate fusion, future funding would likely be eliminated.