Antimatter Rocket

Spaceship Engine Future









As is known, consists of antimatter particles that differ from their normal "relatives" opposite charge. Thus "the opposite of" electron - positron - across like him, but has a positive charge, and antiproton, in contrast, negatively charged. The collision two opposing particle annihilation, providing energy gamma quanta. In other words, a meeting of matter and antimatter leads to a complete transformation of their mass into energy, in full accordance with Einstein's famous formula (E = mc2). This makes the most efficient antimatter fuel: in a few milligrams of this substance contains energy sufficient to fly to Mars and back.

The idea of antimatter engine for the first time put forward a German physicist Eugen Zenger (Eugen Sänger) in 1953 That researcher, has long been working for Nazi Germany, has left behind a lot of interesting developments. In the engine Zenger gamma rays produced by the annihilation of ordinary matter and antimatter should have been reflected off special mirrors are interpreted ship in the right direction. True, as in those times, and today create such mirrors is not possible: so far there are no materials capable of effectively reflect the gamma-rays - it thoroughly permeates every screen.

Nevertheless, possible engine for antimatter, and its development today engaged in a wide variety of scientific organizations. Among them are owned company Positronics Research, funded by the Institute of advanced concepts (NIAC) NASA. The specialists of the company believed that fuel for engines should be no anti-protons, as has been suggested before, and positrons - "anti-electrons". When the anti-proton annihilation gamma quanta allocated more high-energy, but use them to ship traffic is very difficult. They represent a great danger to the crew and require heavy protection systems. Annihilation positrons birth to gamma rays with the energy of roughly 400 times smaller, allowing the ship and to facilitate and simplify the design of the engine.

In Positronics Research proposed three options for the layout engine. The first option is to use the combustion chamber of refractory tungsten matrix, serves as a heat exchanger. With high frequency in a cell injected small portions positrons, until then, to temporarily stored in special magnetic traps. Faced with electrons, they annigilation, heating tungsten matrix. In parallel to the cell served working body, such as hydrogen. Entering into contact with heat exchanger, and leaves it to glow outwards through nozzles - the same as in conventional jet engines. The benefits of this design include its simplicity and manufacturability. However, the ultimate effectiveness of the installation will be significantly lower than the theoretical limit, because the speed of departing from the gas nozzle limited melting temperature of tungsten.

The second option provides for direct heat a working body of gamma rays, without using the heat exchanger. This decision avoids temperature limit, the inherent design with tungsten matrix. The inverse side of the coin are possible overheating problems with the camera itself: its walls can simply to burn.

Finally, there is a third approach based on the phenomenon of ablation - ash particles from the surface of its Solid State faired flow of hot gases. True, this is not about gas, but of gamma rays, which will be a special plate bombing eliminated from the particles of matter. Thus, as a working body will make a solid screen, gradually tapered in the process of flight. This concept is also not without flaws: half of gamma photons flying past the screen and, hence, efficiency of such installations restricted 50%.

Scientists have yet to solve a lot of problems associated with receipt and possession of antimatter, but specialists Positronics Research indicate that in this area recently, significant progress is noticeable. According to their estimates, the first flight to Mars on positronium transmission could take place as early as 2030.