The National Ignition Facility (NIF) [E. I. Moses, J. Phys.: Conf. Ser. 112, 012003 (2008); https://lasers.llnl.gov/], completed in March 2009, is the highest energy laser ever constructed. The high temperatures and densities achievable at NIF will enable a number of experiments in inertial confinement fusion and stockpile stewardship, as well as access to new regimes in a variety of experiments relevant to x-ray astronomy, laser-plasma interactions, hydrodynamic instabilities, nuclear astrophysics, and planetary science. The experiments will impact research on black holes and other accreting objects, the understanding of stellar evolution and explosions, nuclear reactions in dense plasmas relevant to stellar nucleosynthesis, properties of warm dense matter in planetary interiors, molecular cloud dynamics and star formation, and fusion energy generation.