These conditions are similar to those in the center of planets and stars and also approximate conditions when nuclear weapons are detonated. Experiments at the National Ignition Facility could lead to enhanced understanding of astrophysics, hydrodynamics, plasma physics, and other sciences, as well as play a key role in stockpile stewardship (the assessment and certification of reliability and safety of nuclear weapons). The facility may also lead to additional insight into the Big Bang Theory; this is by far the closest approximation to conditions at the start of the universe ever produced in a laboratory setting, orders of magnitude closer than any other setup in existence.
This approach to fusion reactions may eventually lead to viable fusion plants generating commercial power. However, any such applications are still in the distant future. Currently, the focus is on the scientific experiments and stockpile stewardship programs. Particular areas of interest include examining the lifecycle of stars and stellar evolution, expanding our knowledge of black holes, and exploring the instabilities in supernovae (some of which may be reproduced in the plasmas within the National Ignition Facility).