The Future of Antimatter:
More than just an obscure science fiction theory.
-The future of antimatter holds many a challenge for scientists worldwide.
-In proving the Big Bang theory, there are questions as to why the universe is relatively empty of antimatter
What's the Status of Antimatter?
(Microsoft Bookshelf 99)
-If successful, antimatter could be the world's primary energy source in the future.
-However, there are problems.
-Antimatter must be produced in stored, in such a way so that it cannot come into contact with matter before it is used
-Cost is another problem; the production of antimatter is about one nanogram for every ten years a the moment.
-To produce a milligram, it would cost about $100 trillion.
-The amound of energy needed to produce antimatter is also a reason as to why it is not a practical energy source at the moment.
-Even though the matter-antimatter reaction produes a great deal of energy, it is not enough to compensate for the amount of energy needed to produce the antimatter.
-"It would be like giving someone a river, so that they could give you a glass of water."
-Could antimatter be used as rocket fuel in the future?
-At The Space Research Institute in Stuttgart Germany, is currently attempting to inject antiprotons into a plasma drive to increase the termerature, which could be used to power some space applications.
-At the same time, a space propulsion system is being designed by Smith of Penn State.
-The idea is to apply bursts of antiprotons into a fissionable material.
-The material would increase the temperature to a point where it would ignit a hydrogen fusion burn in a microcapsule, which contains hydrogen gas or liquid at a high pressure.
-The target yield of this is projected to be 294 GJ
-Since antimatter is extremely expensive, so it is not a good choice for fuel right now or in the immediate future.
- Nuclear engine designs are, however, somewhat more realistic.
-The name concern would be safety.
-What happens if the rocket fails or explodes?
-That question plus the risk for environmental hazards from "rocket exhaust" are still trying to be answered by scientists. Until then, keep reading Star Trek.