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anti-matter propulsion

Posted by: carp - Sun May 30, 2004 8:20 pm
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anti-matter propulsion 
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Post anti-matter propulsion   Posted on: Sun May 30, 2004 8:20 pm
Has anyone heard of anybody doing research on anti-matter propulsion? (gov. or civilian)

I saw a small article about it in Discover magazine and was really intrigued by it. If developed, it would lead to near light speed velocities since the theoretical top speed of a space-craft is twice it's exhaust velocity. The article stated that they already have the tanks to hold antimatter, so the only other technical hurdle is to develop a magnetic nozzle to concentrate the resulting energy of combining antimatter and matter into usable thrust.

If anyone has information on this subject, I would love to hear about it.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 01, 2004 8:00 am
Here's a rather interesting article on the subject: http://science.nasa.gov/newhome/headlin ... pr99_1.htm

I wonder, where did the "2x exhaust velocity" come from? The maximum velocity is a function of mass, propellant mass percentage and ISp.


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Post    Posted on: Tue Jun 08, 2004 4:06 am
Defintely not in physical development. Way advanced in theoretical stuff though.

Antimatter will likely occur properly after we get a profitable fusion power station. Fusionis sucking all the freaky experiment money... or it was. I think its all going into global Anti-terror stuff now.

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Post Re: anti-matter propulsion   Posted on: Tue Jun 08, 2004 10:48 pm
carp wrote:
If developed, it would lead to near light speed velocities since the theoretical top speed of a space-craft is twice it's exhaust velocity...

...If anyone has information on this subject, I would love to hear about it.

some info: at near light speed any human body would be turned into jelly smear, so is this really that interesting?

btw afaik the 2x thing is just the theoretical maximum in newtonian physics and not really applicable at all


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Post Re: anti-matter propulsion   Posted on: Wed Jun 09, 2004 12:44 am
n54 wrote:
some info: at near light speed any human body would be turned into jelly smear, so is this really that interesting?

btw afaik the 2x thing is just the theoretical maximum in newtonian physics and not really applicable at all


Wouldn't that whole jelly smear thing really depend on how much acceleration it took to get to near light speed and not the speed itself. I seem to remember reading a similar sentiment expressed about cars in their early days and that the human body would not be able to handle the stress of traveling at 30 miles an hour.

Not that I think any sort of anti-matter propulsion will be happening anytime soon. I don't know what it's current price is but a few years ago antimatter was estimated to cost in excess of a trillion dollars an ounce. That's one eventual drive system that's going to need a lot of development, possibly over a 1000 years.


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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 09, 2004 1:51 am
throwing around "1000 years" isn't really saying anything, it is literally impossible to extrapolate any sort of modern trend for 1000 years except POSSIBLY population and general technology growth. 100 years, maybe, but we will not be able to imagine, by any stretch, the changes to humanity in that time. electricity hasn't been theorized about for more than 400 years, computers have barely been around 50. it is impossible to imagine the changes that will be made in that time, in the case of computers likely 100 years is too far. theoretical rocketry will come and come quickly, or it will never come in the way we now think it will.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Jun 09, 2004 2:15 am
That is true but I think that antimatter is a rather extreme technology that is about as close to current rocket technology as the invention of fire is to a typical household stove. 1000 years was simply an abritary number for me, as good as 500 or 10,000. Although I would certainly love to be wrong in that guesstimate. There's certainly a lot of science fiction about antimatter production and it wouldn't be the first time that science fiction became science fact.


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Post Re: anti-matter propulsion   Posted on: Wed Jun 09, 2004 11:21 am
TJ wrote:
Wouldn't that whole jelly smear thing really depend on how much acceleration it took to get to near light speed and not the speed itself.

correct, it depends on the acceleration, but the idea behind travelling at such speeds isn't portrayed as using a millenium to get up to "cruising" speed :D

as to a 1000 years into the future i really hope we've evolved our technology further than having to use brute force to travel as opposed to more elegant solutions (i'm using brute force as a relative term: aerodynamic lift is a more elegeant solution than a rocket for the low atmosphere etc.). those future solutions could be pure science fiction stuff like gravity creation/displacement/bending, inertia fiddling or other waaaay-out ideas - but only the future will show :D

here's one idea (i have no idea whatsoever if it's practical at all): http://members.shaw.ca/mike.anderton/


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Post Re: anti-matter propulsion   Posted on: Thu Jun 10, 2004 1:29 am
carp wrote:
the only other technical hurdle is to develop a magnetic nozzle to concentrate the resulting energy of combining antimatter and matter into usable thrust.


Not true :cry: We first have to get antimatter in amounts greater than a few zilloinths of an ounce.

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Post Re: anti-matter propulsion   Posted on: Thu Jun 10, 2004 7:49 am
SuperShuki wrote:
carp wrote:
the only other technical hurdle is to develop a magnetic nozzle to concentrate the resulting energy of combining antimatter and matter into usable thrust.


Not true :cry: We first have to get antimatter in amounts greater than a few zilloinths of an ounce.

I thought Fermilab could produce, at great expenditure of power, something in the order of nanograms per year. I also thought that portable containment of antimatter was still a considerable "technical hurdle" that people are working to improve.

For carp here is a bit of info ...
http://physics.mercer.edu/seminars/Anti ... inment.htm

Although halfway through the first paragraph of this (it's less than a page of info) my eyes started to cross.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jun 10, 2004 3:39 pm
nanograms are, almost literally, nothing :D

until the day they can produce grams for a reasonable price antimatter will be confined to highly specialised scientific experiments


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Post    Posted on: Thu Jun 10, 2004 3:51 pm
True ... nanograms are almost nothing, apparently we need much more ... here's a quote ...
Penn State U wrote:
it would take only 100 milligrams of antimatter to equal the propulsive energy of the Space Shuttle

So it would take Fermilab ... uh ... quite a while, to come up with enough of the stuff (assuming they fail to improve production rates).

That quote came from here ...
http://www.engr.psu.edu/antimatter/introduction.html
... there's a nice table comparing specific impulse achieved with various propulsion types.

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Post    Posted on: Thu Jun 10, 2004 4:27 pm
thank you for that very interesting link, i hope their aim engine becomes a success


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Post    Posted on: Thu Jun 10, 2004 4:44 pm
Well, I don't know if that group is still together and working on it. Those pages haven't been updated since early 2001.

Ah but wait ... a little sluething has uncovered that the project leader of the above effort is now heading Positronics Research in Santa Fe, still working on antimatter containment (among other things) website here ...

http://www.pr-llc.com/

... but they don't have much on their pages beyond a mission statement. Booooring!

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Post    Posted on: Mon Aug 07, 2006 10:53 am
Under www.wissenschaft.de there is an interesting article today regarding the possibility to store antimatter without annihilation with the storage walls.

Swiss scientists of the ETH Zurich have developed a technology to decelerate atoms by a strong electric filed gradient. It can be compared to an electromagnetic mirror.

The atoms are decelerated not only but move back into the opposite direction.

The atoms must have a strond dipol-moment. to create it an electron of the atom is set into the Rydberg-state by a laser beam. The dipol-moment is established so that it is anti-parallel to the decelerating field.

The experiment has been conducted using a beam of cold hydrogen atoms moving by 720 m/s and a field-intensity of 2000 Volts/cm.

The scientists think that this can be used in production of antimatter and in storing it - a proper configuration of the decelearting fields prevent the antimatter from colliding with the walls of their container and thus from being annihilated by a collision.

The article refers to Edward Vliegen of the ETH Zurich and Physical Review Letters, Vol. 97, article 033002 ( link.aps.org/abstract/PRL/v97/e033002 )

Of course- at this stage it is of use for quantum-experiments only - but it is a step further also to fit into the requirements of antimatter-propulsion.



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