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AntiMatter Engine on Kickstarter (LOLWUT)

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http://www.popularmechanics.com/space/a19728/kickstarter-interstellar-antimatter-engine/

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I promise you, this isn't something from Coast-to-Coast AM: A former FermiLab researcher thinks he can make an antimatter engine, one that could accelerate a spaceship to 40 percent of the speed of light. And he intends to start a Kickstarter to help him build the proof of concept.

For the paltry price of $200,000, Gerald Jackson and Steven Howe (formerly of Fermilab and Los Alamos, respectively) say they can create a thrust measurement device. That device will be used to measure the thrust between a conventional thrust engine and a lightsail that would be bombarded with antimatter to push a spacecraft. They already have some pieces of their elaborate puzzle dreamed up under the banner of Hbar Technologies, LLC, but funding dried up a few years ago. 

Keep in mind the $200,000 kickstarter is just for the measurement device. The entire system (minus antimatter) would apparently cost $100 Million.

And the antimatter fuel? $100 Billion per gram.

 

I wish them luck :P. They'll need it.

Edited by YumonStudios

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Design a antimatter engine is (relatively) easy, design a viable antimatter container not, and produce antimatter less yet.

I think that we should develop more near and cheap propulsion systems, like airspike, ramrocket, and, beyond, nuclear pulse propulsion.

Why try to develop antimatter engine if we did not want develop nuke engines (when are more safe and less destructive than antimatter engines, and has a more near and cheap utility)? This is a little weird...

Edited by Angeltxilon
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Hopefully he stays to be an employee. Kicked out of FermiLab would kill out the only way he can have antimatter.

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A canister with antimatter is very nice when an electrical blackout happens.
It will provide with a bright light a whole country, or even a continent.
 

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Well, the article stated that they could harvest antimatter from space, there's antimatter in Earth's magnetic field, but I have no idea how much there is, or how we could contain it, but it means Alpha Centauri before 2080, good luck :)

Edited by Spaceception

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I'm picturing it now, a scientist kicked out of two national labs because his ideas went to far, decides to rely on public support but the rejection there makes him bitter. He's forced to rob banks and put it together himself, but something goes wrong, turning him into Dr. Antimatter! 

Back to real life, there seems to be a growing trend in science to try and get crowd sourced funds with mixed results. Considering being in an academic lab is essentially being a professional begger I'm not surprised. 

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4 hours ago, todofwar said:

Back to real life, there seems to be a growing trend in science to try and get crowd sourced funds with mixed results. Considering being in an academic lab is essentially being a professional begger I'm not surprised. 

Relevant vid:

 

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5 hours ago, Spaceception said:

but I have no idea how much there is, or how we could contain it

1 kg of antimatter = 40 megatonnes, btw
The more they collect — the farther we'll be seen by E.T.

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Just now, kerbiloid said:

1 kg of antimatter = 40 megatonnes, btw
The more they collect — the farther we'll be seen by E.T.

Well, they only need 17 grams to get to .4 c.

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Even apart from the proposed propulsion system, the idea that the other systems of an interstellar probe could be $100 million is... not too credible. NASA's smallest interplanetary probes (those from the the Discovery programme) are capped at about $450 million.

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1 hour ago, Spaceception said:

Well, they only need 17 grams to get to .4 c.

Well that's a relief. We only need to expand global production by a factor of a billion then. :)

 

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Just now, KSK said:

Well that's a relief. We only need to expand global production by a factor of a billion then. :)

 

Well, it's not in the kilos, so that's something :P

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3 hours ago, RainDreamer said:

Relevant vid:

 

Nice to see an accurate description of the science funding process. We take our best minds and rather than let them actually do experiments they're forced to spin every result into the next grant, leaves little room for true long term research projects. That is starting to change a little bit, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute is a bit more farsighted for example. The thing the video didn't mention is that everything always has to be applied, to be honest this guy is selling his antimatter device a little hard but it's not the biggest stretch I've seen. Using nanotubes? Say it has applications in space elevators or nano scaled robots that are almost as impossible as that space elevator. Doing anything related to graphene? Throw out how a single atom thick layer can support the weight of a cat without mentioning how we have no ability to make pieces of graphene that size. My own research got funded that way, but if the funding agencies are reading this and track down who I am than please ignore everything I just said, we're totally going to accomplish everything we said we would.

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19 minutes ago, todofwar said:

Nice to see an accurate description of the science funding process. We take our best minds and rather than let them actually do experiments they're forced to spin every result into the next grant, leaves little room for true long term research projects. That is starting to change a little bit, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute is a bit more farsighted for example.

Your sense of the direction of history is reversed. The exceptions are dinosaurs, not innovations.

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Is it even possible to create and bottle anti matter like in Angels and Demons? 

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Just now, Motokid600 said:

Is it even possible to create and bottle anti matter like in Angels and Demons? 

Yes.

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12 minutes ago, Motokid600 said:

Is it even possible to create and bottle anti matter like in Angels and Demons? 

Theoretically, yes. In practice, nobody has actually been able to store antimatter for longer than about 20 minutes (for 300 atoms), and the actual amounts produced are extremely tiny.

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2 hours ago, Jovus said:

Your sense of the direction of history is reversed. The exceptions are dinosaurs, not innovations.

Except that the dinosaurs were around for tens millions of years. One can argue they're still here, but in different niches. We're closer, historically, to T-Rex than T-Rex  is to other dinosaurs that are also famous.

10 hours ago, Spaceception said:

Well, the article stated that they could harvest antimatter from space, there's antimatter in Earth's magnetic field, but I have no idea how much there is, or how we could contain it, but it means Alpha Centauri before 2080, good luck :)

Around Saturn there's a few hundred milligrams. But Jupiter doesn't have as much despite being stronger magnetically.

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Just now, Bill Phil said:

Except that the dinosaurs were around for tens millions of years. One can argue they're still here, but in different niches. We're closer, historically, to T-Rex than T-Rex  is to other dinosaurs that are also famous.

Around Saturn there's a few hundred milligrams. But Jupiter doesn't have as much despite being stronger magnetically.

What about Earth? How much antimatter could it have?

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33 minutes ago, Kryten said:

Theoretically, yes. In practice, nobody has actually been able to store antimatter for longer than about 20 minutes (for 300 atoms), and the actual amounts produced are extremely tiny.

What amount would you say they had in the book/movie to be that visible little orb? Is this even an accurate representation?

A-canister-of-antimatter--003.jpg

 

 

Edited by Motokid600

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5 minutes ago, Motokid600 said:

What amount would you say they had in the book/movie to be that visible little orb? Is this even an accurate representation?

A-canister-of-antimatter--003.jpg

 

 

If it's just antihydrogen I would assume that it would be a colorless gas like hydrogen. But the slow leaking in of gasses might cause constant annihilation at the surface, giving off a constant glow. I highly doubt any container would end up looking like that though. 

2 hours ago, Jovus said:

Your sense of the direction of history is reversed. The exceptions are dinosaurs, not innovations.

I'm not sure what you mean by this, are you suggesting that people are being pressured even more into short term gains rather than the bigger picture? I would certainly hope not, and I wouldn't call that innovative. 

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8 minutes ago, Motokid600 said:

What amount would you say they had in the book/movie to be that visible little orb? Is this even an accurate representation?

A-canister-of-antimatter--003.jpg

 

 

No need to guess, we know from the book it's a gram. That's 50kt TNT equivalent worth of energy... but we'd need to put in 100kt worth of energy to produce that much at theoretical max efficiency, which we aren't remotely close to. It'd take thousands of years to produce that much with any near-term technology.

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16 hours ago, YumonStudios said:

a lightsail that would be bombarded with antimatter

Does this sound like a great way to ruin a light sail to anyone else?

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55 minutes ago, HebaruSan said:

Does this sound like a great way to ruin a light sail to anyone else?

It's not really a lightsail; they are using a different and more specialized design, albeit one that works on similar principles (the original paper is here), so although it will technically ablate the lightsail over time, that's actually intended. 

With regards to the impracticality of producing large quantities of antimatter, it's not so much physically unachievable so much as beyond our current technology. If we could find a good way to contain the antimatter, and make something better at producing it than our current accelerators (they are highly inefficient at it), then a device attached to a 1 Gigawatt power plant could produce more than 100 grams/year--still very small, but not 10-20 grams small.

Edited by Three1415
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4 hours ago, Spaceception said:

What about Earth? How much antimatter could it have?

Maybe a few micrograms..

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