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TinWiki: Antimatter Propulsion

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posted on Jul, 10 2009 @ 11:24 AM

The future of space exploration will require massive amounts of energy. The destruction that follows when antimatter and matter collide, may prove to be just the source of energy that is needed. Once known only in the realm of science fiction, the development of antimatter technology is now underway in the Advanced Space Transportation Program at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, ALA. It is thought that the first antimatter propelled spacecraft could be launched before the end of the 21rst Century.

Antimatter is the mirror image of all the matter that surrounds us. The difference is the sub-atomic particles that make up antimatter, protons, neutrons and electrons, spin in the opposite direction of ordinary matter. The collision between the two releases an unbelievable amount of energy. If this energy could be harnassed to be used for space travel, we could reach all of the planets within our solar system in a matter of days rather months and years. One study predicts we could reach the Moon in 7.5 minutes, and Mars in one day.

The energy released from proton - antiproton collisions is at least 10 billion times more energetic that the energy released from oxygen-hydrogen combustion. One gram of antihydrogen, reacted with normal hydrogen, can produce the same amount of energy as 23 Space Shuttle External Fuel Tanks.

The heat produced by a matter - antimatter reaction could be used to heat or accelerate a fluid to propel a spacecraft. At the Marshall Center, engineers are working trying to find ways to use a the reaction as a "spark igniter" to help ignite a fusion or a fission reaction. Theories that use large amounts of antimatter are not really being considered seriously because of the difficulty in producing antimatter. Currently, worldwide production of antimatter is only two billionths of a gram. Antimatter produced in the laboratory is created by accelerating protons to the speed of light and then colliding them with a target. There are only two accelerators in the United States that can produce the collisions right now: Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois.


Related links

Antimatter: Mirror of the Universe
The Reality of Antimatter
Air Force pursuing antimatter weapons
Antimatter is mass-produced

Relevant discussion threads

Tunguska Theories
Nitrogen Energy added with Anti matter could become new Bomb??!
Does anyone really understand antimatter?
Where Is All The Antimatter ?!

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