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United States - Antimatter

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posted on Dec, 12 2004 @ 10:32 AM

The U.S. Air Force is quietly spending millions of dollars investigating ways to use a radical power source - antimatter, the eerie "mirror" of ordinary matter - in future weapons.

The most powerful potential energy source presently thought to be available to humanity, antimatter is a term normally heard in science-fiction films and TV shows, whose heroes fly "antimatter-powered spaceships" and do battle with "antimatter guns."

But antimatter itself isn't fiction; it actually exists and has been intensively studied by physicists since the 1930s. In a sense, matter and antimatter are the yin and yang of reality: Every type of subatomic particle has its antimatter counterpart. But when matter and antimatter collide, they annihilate each other in an immense burst of energy.

During the Cold War, the Air Force funded numerous scientific studies of the basic physics of antimatter. With the knowledge gained, some Air Force insiders are beginning to think seriously about potential military uses - for example, antimatter bombs small enough to hold in one's hand, and antimatter engines for 24/7 surveillance aircraft.

More cataclysmic possible uses include a new generation of super weapons - either pure antimatter bombs or antimatter-triggered nuclear weapons; the former wouldn't emit radioactive fallout. Another possibility is antimatter-powered "electro-magnetic pulse" weapons that could fry an enemy's electric power grid and communications networks, leaving him literally in the dark.

Following an initial inquiry from The Chronicle this summer, the Air Force forbade its employees from publicly discussing the antimatter research program. Still, details on the program appear in numerous Air Force documents distributed over the Internet before the ban.

These include an outline of a March 2004 speech by an Air Force official who, in effect, spilled the beans about the Air Force's high hopes for antimatter weapons. On March 24, Kenneth Edwards, director of the "revolutionary munitions" team at the Munitions Directorate at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, was keynote speaker at the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts conference in Arlington, Va.

In that talk, Edwards discussed the potential uses of a type of antimatter called positrons.

Physicists have known about positrons or antielectrons since the early 1930s. The building blocks of atoms - electrons (negatively charged particles) and protons (positively charged particles) - have antimatter counterparts: antielectrons and antiprotons. One fundamental difference between matter and antimatter is that their subatomic building blocks carry opposite electric charges. Thus, while an ordinary electron is negatively charged, an antielectron is positively charged (hence the term positrons, which means "positive electrons"); and while an ordinary proton is positively charged, an antiproton is negative.

The real excitement, though, is this: If electrons or protons collide with their antimatter counterparts, they annihilate each other. In so doing, they unleash more energy than any other known energy source, even thermonuclear bombs.

The energy from colliding positrons and antielectrons " is 10 billion times... that of high explosive," Edwards explained in his March speech. Moreover, 1 gram of antimatter, about 1/25th of an ounce, would equal "23 space shuttle fuel tanks of energy."

It almost defies belief, the amount of explosive force available in a speck of antimatter - even a speck that is too small to see. For example: One millionth of a gram of positrons contain as much energy as 83 pounds of TNT, according to Edwards' March speech. A simple calculation, then, shows that about 50-millionths of a gram could generate a blast equal to the explosion (roughly 4,000 pounds of TNT, according to the FBI) at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

Unlike regular nuclear bombs, positron bombs wouldn't eject plumes of radioactive debris. When large numbers of positrons and antielectrons collide, the primary product is an invisible but extremely dangerous burst of gamma radiation. Thus, in principle, a positron bomb could be a step toward one of the military's dreams from the early Cold War: a so-called "clean" superbomb that could kill large numbers of soldiers without ejecting radioactive contaminants.

This new array of weapon will not only be more destructive as a weapon, and can be used instead of a nuke because of its radiation. It could also generate power for us.

[edit on 12-12-2004 by Laxpla]

posted on Dec, 12 2004 @ 11:08 AM
A-M Creation is curently horribly ineffient and you can only get out what you put in. [E=MC^2 Where E is Energy M Is mass and C is the speed of light (3*10^8)] It might be used for sotring energy as is would have a high density but not as a green energy source. Could be a while before it is used as an offensive weapon.

[edit on 12-12-2004 by DiceMan]

posted on Dec, 13 2004 @ 12:35 AM
I think that once we find a way to produce anti-matter fast and in large amounts we will use it as an energy source, I would suggest putting large anti-matter powerplants in orbit though, imaginif a a-m popwerplant that produced five pounds a second blew up.
I do not advocate the use of a-m as weapons unless its the power source.

posted on Dec, 13 2004 @ 02:42 AM

Originally posted by iori_komei
I think that once we find a way to produce anti-matter fast and in large amounts we will use it as an energy source, I would suggest putting large anti-matter powerplants in orbit though, imaginif a a-m popwerplant that produced five pounds a second blew up.
I do not advocate the use of a-m as weapons unless its the power source.

what you suggest will never happen because you dont get any 'free' energy from antimatter. you would put more energy into making it than you would ever get back out. now antimatter would be a way to STORE tremendous amounts of energy, such as for example, use as an exotic fuel for long distance space flight...

with regards to antimatter weapons. i cant see any logical reason why you would say that you wouldnt support them. such a weapon has the potential to be the most green weapon the planet has ever seen since sticks and stones. there is no radioactive fall out like what would be seen with nukes, and unless the containment device for the antimatter has some toxic compounds in it, there wouldnt even be any pollution like you get from conventional explosives.

posted on Dec, 13 2004 @ 02:48 AM
- input=output, when nuclear fusion becomes cheaply available, it really wouldn't matter how much energy the creation of antimatter costs, might take a few decades though....

One of the other big challenges is keeping the stuff trapped, Penning Traps are capable of holding a few particles for several weeks, but these traps are large and the number of partivles contained is relatively few, however there is much progression in the containment of antimatter, currently oone is able to construct anti-hydrogen from anti-protons and positrons, one would need to take this a step further and create higher number anti-matter elements, so that these antimatter atoms could be fused together to form a complex anti-molecule wich would be much denser than confining a cloud of repulsing anti-protons.

Just imaging the scalling down of rockets, grenades and nearly undetectable mines!
One could fire bullets containing antimatter from a small machinegun, with the same impact as a hellfire missile (wouldn't want to use that in confined spaces hehe) , the possibillities are truely amazing and scary

[edit on 13-12-2004 by Countermeasures]

posted on Dec, 15 2004 @ 12:35 AM
I htink that eventually a way to create anti-matter that has a larger amount of energy production than it would need to work will be made.
I do not believe weapons should be used period, If people have to use weapons, use weapons that are effective but dont cause huge amounts of damage, like microwave guns and EM weapons.

posted on Dec, 15 2004 @ 03:50 AM
Antimatter is not a new topic. The theory of anitmatter has been around since 1918. There are two kinds of matter that were created in the much disescted "big bang theory". Ome matter is the kind we see here, in our universe. it makes up rocks, trees, people. The other is its inverse-identical to matter in all respects except that the charges of its particles are reversed. Anti matter is highly unstable. Energetically speaking, antimatter is the mirror image of matter, so the two instatnly cancel each other out if they come in contact. Keeping antimatter isolated from matter is a challence, of course, because everything on earth is made of matter. The samples would have to be stored without ever touching anything at all-even air. Antimatter has osme astonishing characteristics, which make it quite dangerous. A ten milligram smaple-the volume of a grain of sand-is hypothesised to hold as much energy as about two hundred metric tons of conventional rocket fuel. A thousand times more powerful than nuclear energy. One hundred percent efficent. No byproducts. No radiation. No pollution. A few grams could power a major city for a week.

posted on Dec, 15 2004 @ 04:53 AM
This already been posted several times. Sorry, but you should search before you post.

posted on Jan, 2 2005 @ 10:46 PM
Basically all matter has huge amounts of energy in it. What we observe is only the change in the energy, in order to see it all you need some substance (antimatter) to completely destroy the matter.

posted on Jan, 3 2005 @ 09:31 AM
Yeah, been posted before.

Instead of this post being about "Antimatter", maybe we can change it to "Doesntmatter" and lock it?

posted on Jan, 3 2005 @ 02:45 PM
Actually.. if you made a weapon of mass destruction from antimatter would it build buildings and like make dead people alive again?

Okay its stupid but.. for the person who said...

"i cant see any logical reason why you would say that you wouldnt support them."

.. um perhaps because I just don't see an unaccountable and out of control governement holding another terrible weapon in their hands as a "good thing"?

Just my innocent two cents on that issue.

STARK: I want! I want! My side, your side! All of you-- I want!

RORF: What's the matter with you, frek face?!

STARK: Matter, matter, I'll tell you "matter". Anti-matter-matter-matter-matter-matter!

[edit on 3/1/2005 by Vis Mega]

posted on Jan, 3 2005 @ 09:00 PM
Before we go on, I shall laugh at this topic.

A-M will be extremely inefficient, except for storing energy. Creating A-M cost several trillions of dollars, so yea, never going to happen.

Shattered OUT...

posted on Jan, 3 2005 @ 09:07 PM
It costs trillions now if possible, but think about the future, BTW shattered you need to check out the archimedes mirror topic to see what i meant.

posted on Jan, 3 2005 @ 09:38 PM
Actually in some circles they beleive that a equal or near equal amount of anti-matter as matter already exists in our universe.

As for us finding or reaching it if we did find it.. thats way beyond fairy tale land at the moment.

Anti-matter's best use will be for powering and propelling spacecraft. Its the only thing I can think of that might make the end result be worth the effort put in.

It is the only thing also that I can think of that will make lifter technology actually viable. The problem with that technology at the moment is that what is used to provide it energy weights hundreds even thousands of times more then its payload capacity. As its scaled up this does lessen somewhat but not enough to become useful.

If a anti-matter/matter reactor was succesfully made and attached to such a device scaled WAY up. I do beleive it would produce yet unheard of thrust capabilities and be viable for flight. The lifters thrust capabilities are fairly equal to the area their elements cover, and the power pushed through those. They also opperate as effiecently in a vaccuum as with normal conditions. They can also be convereted to work under water hull is made to allow no water near the engines. (Basically the travel medium doesnt matter as long as it won't fry the circuits.)

posted on Jan, 4 2005 @ 03:37 PM
This is a very sensitive and misunderstood topic, I believe only people who have done extensive research should post on this thread from now on.

This topic is very difficult to comprehend and so there many misleadings and misinformation. It is too hard to say what A-M can be used for.

Shattered OUT...

posted on Jul, 15 2005 @ 03:16 PM
Really with the instability of antimatter it would be foolhardy to even attempt any physical research on the planet. If it's so immensly powerful a few pounds might vapourise the entire planet.

posted on Jul, 15 2005 @ 03:29 PM
I don't understand how they would develop it or how much it would cost but if it is as powerful as they say then as a military weapon would be amazing and really destructive at the same time. No go back in time about 500 years and tell people about nuclear weapons, to all the people who say it will never happen never say never

posted on Jul, 15 2005 @ 03:31 PM

10 Ways to Destroy the Earth


Feasibility rating: 5/10

You will need: 2,500,000,000,000 tons of antimatter

Antimatter - the most explosive substance possible - can be manufactured in small quantities using any large particle accelerator, but this will take some considerable time to produce the required amounts. If you can create the appropriate machinery, it may be possible - and much easier - simply to "flip" 2.5 trillion tons of matter through a fourth dimension, turning it all to antimatter at once.

Method: This method involves detonating a bomb so big that it blasts the Earth to pieces.

How hard is that?

The gravitational binding energy of a planet of mass M and radius R is - if you do the lengthy calculations - given by the formula E=(3/5)GM^2/R. For Earth, that works out to roughly 224,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Joules. The Sun takes nearly a WEEK to output that much energy. Think about THAT.

To liberate that much energy requires the complete annihilation of around 2,500,000,000,000 tonnes of antimatter. That's assuming zero energy loss to heat and radiation, which is unlikely to be the case in reality: You'll probably need to up the dose by at least a factor of ten. Once you've generated your antimatter, probably in space, just launch it en masse towards Earth. The resulting release of energy (obeying Einstein's famous mass-energy equation, E=mc^2) should be sufficient to split the Earth into a thousand pieces.

Earth's final resting place: A second asteroid belt around the Sun.

Earliest feasible completion date: AD 2500. Of course, if it does prove possible to manufacture antimatter in the sufficiently large quantities you require - which is not necessarily the case - then smaller antimatter bombs will be around long before then.

That last sentence is what interests me.

Link to entire list

[edit on 15-7-2005 by NWguy83]

posted on Jul, 15 2005 @ 03:43 PM

Yeah, been posted before.

Has it been posted within the past 10 days???

If not, then no biggie...but it'd be nice to at least provide some links, so the poster could benefit from the other conversations on it...

posted on Jul, 15 2005 @ 04:00 PM
Look there is an article published in the June or July edition of "Scientific American" which dealt with the upcoming ideas on how to create and store antimatter- they havent even done experiments yet on their "antimatter storage devices" but also they said event if they could produce millions of these antimatter atoms an hour, if they ran it all year they would only have like 20 pictograms of antimatter.

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