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originally posted by: intrptr
This time everyone is wary of the "Unidentified Lying Object" problem, called such because if there is even the tiniest debris - a nitrogen particle - the beam could be disrupted. Such an object would be unidentified because the beam pipe is a sealed vacuum.
Read more: www.science20.com...
As I understand these things the vacuum in vacuum systems is many times purer than in space. The smallest particle of anything can disrupt the works, but shouldn't present a problem if it doesn't enter the beam.
ETA:Like a mass spectrometer, any other elements would give false readings. They want to smash subatomic particles together after all. Personally, I think they will just end up developing better weapons and maybe space drives but what do I know?
A strangelet is a hypothetical particle consisting of a bound state of roughly equal numbers of up, down, and strange quarks. Its size would be a minimum of a few femtometers across (with the mass of a light nucleus). Once the size becomes macroscopic (on the order of metres across), such an object is usually called a quark star or "strange star" rather than a strangelet. An equivalent description is that a strangelet is a small fragment of strange matter. The term "strangelet" originates with E. Farhi and R. Jaffe. Strangelets have been suggested as a dark matter candidate.