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Anti Matter Engine Anyone? May 17, 2012

Posted by Mark Flavin in Technology.
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Image Credit: CERN

I know this sounds too Star Trek to be real but actually anti matter propulsion has been considered for a number of years by credible agencies. The latest is the European agency CERN, you know the guys with the huge super collider (Large Hadron Collider). They have turned some of their high powered particle physics simulation tools loose on the problem and have come up with a very interesting result. They believe, based on the simulations, that an anti matter rocket engine could be extremely efficient, more so that anyone has previously thought possible. This is using only the technologies available today.

The secret to achieving high particle velocity, which in turn yields high thrust is the magnetic containment of the particle stream. A Cornell University team using CERN’s simulation tool called GEANT4 believe exhaust particle speeds reaching 70% of the speed of light are possible. This velocity is not possible in conventional combustion cycle rockets used today and could enable future space craft to achieve much higher speed thereby reducing the travel time to destinations both inside &  outside our solar system.

Everything has limits and so it is with anti mater propulsion. The limiting factor is the availability of anti matter. Today it is limited to singular atoms produced in the lab but with a focused effort larger quantities could be created or captured from a recently discovered ring of anti protons which surround Earth.

Who knows, maybe Scottie could cobble up a little anti matter impulse engine to go along with his transparent aluminum and away we go!

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