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31.1.11

Solar power: Eric Jacqmain's 'death ray' dish was covered in about 5800 mirror tiles and had an intensity of 5000 suns

A 'death ray' satellite dish that could heat objects 5,000 times the power of the sun has got internet users hot under the collar.

Eric Jacqmain, from Indiana in the US, covered an ordinary fibreglass satellite dish with 5,800 tiny mirror tiles.

When aligned correctly it can generate a spot a couple of centimetres across, with an intensity of 5,000 suns, the 19-year-old claims.

The inventor then posted the video of his invention on YouTube, with people commenting in awe of the power of the satellite.

The ray generates enough power to melt steel, vaporize aluminum, boil concrete, turn dirt into lava, and obliterate any organic material in an instant.

Power: This piece of wood stood no chance against Eric Jacqmain's spectacular inventionIt stands at 5ft 9 and is 42 inches across.

Jacqmain, commenting on YouTube said : 'I drilled a small hole in the dish and glued a piece of PVC pipe on the back.

'Light shines through the hole and hits the translucent plastic on the end of the pipe. All I had to do was aim the dish once and mark the spot.

'As long as the target doesn't conduct heat away too fast it will melt or vaporize just about anything eventually.

'I have vaporized before carbon, which occurs above 6,500 Fahrenheit.'

The American teenager called his invention the R5800 solar 'death ray'.

Putting it into context, just the tiny fraction of the Sun's energy that hits the Earth (around a hundredth of a millionth of a percent) is enough to meet all our power needs many times over.

In fact, every minute, enough energy arrives at the Earth to meet our demands for a whole year - if only we could harness it properly.

Unfortunately for Jacqmain, his 'death ray' dish met it's own grisly end when it was destroyed in a shed fire.

Jacqmain added: 'Yeah. It "committed suicide". It's very likely that it was the cause of the fire. Nothing left of it but half melted wagon parts and the adjustable mount.'

If there was ever a case of self-destruction, this was it.

But Jacqmain's despair at the death of his 'death ray' has simply spurred him on to develop a yet more powerful alternative.

'Plans already in place for the new one, he added.

'The goal is to use about 32,000 mirrors this time.'

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