# Nasa's new and improved ANTI-MATTER space ship

1. Apr 14, 2006

### scott1

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2006/antimatter_spaceship.html" [Broken]
Where are they going get anti-matter and is this even possible with technology we have now

Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
2. Apr 14, 2006

### batboy

Stand by for superluminal motion, Jordie.

3. Apr 14, 2006

### scott1

I'am going to add into the first post.

4. Apr 15, 2006

### Rach3

Harebrained. I especially enjoyed this one:

Oh and this one:
Of course, if you can store ten positrons in an ion trap, you can easily store 10 milligrams of them! (10^28, or 10^9 coulombs)

And this:
Hehe, "safe" indeed.

5. Apr 15, 2006

### Kurdt

Staff Emeritus
not to mention the sterilisation of the earth with gamma rays produced by however much fuel they were carrying! That would be one big explosion.

To answer the original question. We can create a few particles of antimatter in particle accelerators and yes we can actually trap them for periods of time before they go annihilating things with our current technology. I still wouldn't bet on an anti-matter fuelled 'reactor' powering a rocket or anything else in the near future though, but maybe someday because as they mentioned you do get an awful lot of energy for a small volume of fuel.

6. Apr 15, 2006

### Beam me down

Why are they researching ship design? We can't even produce anywear near the number of required anti-matter particles. In fact we probably won't be able to before the end of the centuary alright, maybe not before 2050. Ship design is an inconsequential part of the quest for anti-matter fueled spacecraft: we need the fuel first!

7. Apr 15, 2006

### batboy

I thought I read somewhere we have enough to heat a cup coffee.

I'd suspect that if a facility found groundbreaking ways to make a lot, it would be kept top secret.

8. Apr 20, 2006

### JustinLevy

When people hear anti-matter most think of big particle accelerators smashing things together with new particles coming out.

Yes, you are correct that this is possible. And it is indeed inefficient. Creating the particles a few at a time would never allow one to build up milligrams worth.

However, do not forget that there are natural sources of anti-matter. For instance, when you see those colorful pictures of brain activity, it is usually done with a PET scanner (Positron Emission Tomography). The positrons come from isotropes in the tracers that naturally decay by emitting positrons.

I assume this is why they chose positrons instead of anti-protons or something. Just like we can create plutonium in macroscopic quantities using nuclear chain reactions, it may be possible to create short lived isotopes (that emit positrons) in macroscopic quantities, and then collect the positrons as they decay.

I am very skeptical of how one could store that massive amount of charge though. We have no easy way of creating anti-protons in macroscopic quantities, so we can not have neutral anti-matter. Until we do, I do not believe storage is feasible.

Just my two cents.

Last edited: Apr 20, 2006
9. Apr 21, 2006

### scott1

It's NASA they just reseach this kind of stuff because it's cool and to make it look like that there spending government money usefully.

10. Apr 21, 2006

### Pengwuino

Can't wait when some serious people start commenting on this...

11. Apr 22, 2006

Staff Emeritus

don't present you yourself as terribly serious

And why does NASA need to research antimatter propulsion when they have the Heim theory to go FTL with?

Last edited: Apr 22, 2006
12. Apr 22, 2006

### scott1

I agree but I doupt that the President ever heard of Heim theory.But he probally does know what anti-matter is.

13. Apr 22, 2006

### Chronos

Anti-matter storage is a real headache. Transporting usable quantities would make a nuclear reactor look about as dangerous as a car battery. Finding a way to produce anti-matter on demand looks like the only practical approach, IMO. Of course you still have the not so minor problem of shielding the crew from the radiation emitted.

14. Apr 23, 2006

### Pengwuino

Duh, that's why serious people need to get in here

15. Apr 23, 2006

### JustinLevy

Several posters have already explained details of how anti-matter can be generated/collected, as well as the issues of storage (safety and the huge amount of charge).

So please be more explicit. What would you want to discuss in more depth?

16. Apr 23, 2006

### Pengwuino

im waiting for astronuc or morbius to come in here and plunk down a page full of information that blows my mind again like they normally do. Up until that point, there was only 1 reply with any decent information.

I'm wondering exactly how such matter could ever be controlled and delivered to a propulsion device.

17. Apr 23, 2006

### scott1

I wouldn't be surprised if the spaaceship blows up on the lunchpad and destroy the kendey space center.

18. Apr 26, 2006

### Chronos

Do the math. The energy required to propel a spacecraft to mars would make Georgia the most southern state on the eastern seaboard if released on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral.

19. Apr 26, 2006

### Entropy

Errmm... Techniquely all you have to do is break Earth orbit and you can go to Mars. Maybe not very quickly, but you'd get there. And that kind of energy isn't nearly as devistating as you make it sound. Really it probably only destory the launch pad.

20. Apr 26, 2006

### Janus

Staff Emeritus
Merely breaking Earth orbit will only put you into an independent Solar orbit. You will have to apply additional $\Delta v$ to alter that orbit enough such that it intersects Mars' orbit.