posted on Nov, 19 2007 @ 06:27 AM
Very clear and interesting PDF, begins off mentioning how antimatter could be used for propulsion and some basics behind antimatter itself, finishing
with a few problems about the production of antimatter and how pure antimatter propulsion is not being considered too much due to the large quantities
needed. It also mentions how antimatter is created and how it is be stored.
The mutual annihilation of antimatter and matter contains the highest energy density of any reaction known in physics.
Technology developments underway in the Advance Space Transportation Program of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Centre could “left”
an antimatter-powered starship into the realm of reality before the close of the 21st Century.
Antimatter is the mirror image of normal matter and is composed of subatomic particles that mirror the mass of their ordinary
counterparts-electrons, protons, and neutrons but with the opposite charge and spin. If the burst of energy produced when particles meet
antiparticles could be harnessed, a near term concept for space propulsion might produce speeds capable of traversing the distance
between the Earth and the Moon in about 7.5 minutes or between Mars and Earth in a day. Missions beyond the outer planets and even to the
stars could be within reach.
The Energy released from proton-antiproton annihilation is 10 billion times greater than oxygen-hydrogen combustion and at least 100
times more energetic than fission or fusion. In other words, one gram of anti-hydrogen (the mirror image of a hydrogen atom) reacted with
an equal amount of normal hydrogen provides the equivalent energy as of 23 space shuttle external tanks.
The energy from the antimatter-matter reaction could be used to heat or accelerate a working fluid to propel a spacecraft.
Engineers at the Marshall Centre are studying the feasibility of hybrid antimatter propulsion concepts that could use antimatter
annihilation as a “spark igniter” for a fission or fusion reaction. Propulsion concepts that derive all their energy from antimatter
annihilation arent getting much considered due to the amount of antimatter required.
Antimatter is very rare in the universe so it has to be created in a laboratory. For almost half a century, antiparticles have been
created in labs with only two being U.S. Labs (Brookhaven National Labs in New York & Fermi National Accelerator Labs in Illinnois).
[note: if antimatter is the opposite mirror image of matter, then surely antimatter is as abundant as matter itself throughout the universe?]
The antimatter is produced by accelerating particles, such as protons near light-speed and ramming them into a
target.[note: using particle accelerators such as CERN?)
The current world annual production of antimatter is only about 2 billionths of a gram.