The breakthrough in nuclear fusion energy announced this week by U.S. scientists made major national news headlines.

What does it mean? It could pave the way for abundant clean energy in the future after more than half a century of research into nuclear fusion.

Researchers at the U.S. National Ignition Facility in California said fusion experiments had released more energy than was pumped in by the lab’s enormous, high-powered lasers, a landmark achievement known as ignition or energy gain. The technology is far from ready to turn into viable power plants – and is not about to solve the climate crisis – but scientists hailed the breakthrough as evidence that the power of the stars can be harnessed on Earth.

Read more: U.S. announces nuclear fusion energy breakthrough: “One of the most impressive scientific feats of the 21st century”