# Could we use antimatter-based propulsion to visit alien worlds?

#### MiddlePillar

Antimatter-based propulsion offers a unique opportunity for missions to exoplanets.

Could we use antimatter-based propulsion to visit alien worlds? : Read more
I would like to see an in-depth look at Dr Pais' patents with the US Navy as the assignees particularly the mass reduction device which pertains to superluminal travel .
Dr Pais’ fantastical patents are for:
A room temperature semiconductor
An electro-magnetic Forcefield Generator
A High Frequency Gravitational Wave Generator
Craft using an initial Mass Reduction Device ( that one is for FTL or superluminal travel )
The Navy has warranted two of the four as having a confirmed scientific basis, and two as operational.

#### methomas

I believe faster than light travel can be done with antimatter propulsion.

#### bwana4swahili

I believe faster than light travel can be done with antimatter propulsion.

Pure science fiction for the next few centuries!

#### methomas

Pure science fiction for the next few centuries!
Okay, why ? and not 6 effete words. Use intelligence to explain if you will.

#### bwana4swahili

Okay, why ? and not 6 effete words. Use intelligence to explain if you will.
First, it would take a HUGE amount of energy and time to generate even a small amount of antimatter.
Second, the technology postulated is simply that, i.e.: a great science project with no idea how to undertake even a prototype let alone a usable drive.
Third, lots of ideas of this type thought up over the years that ultimately ended up in the trash bin.
Fourth, it is in the realm as perpetual motion and we all know that is impossible.

#### billslugg

FTL travel is not possible for any object with a finite rest mass for one overwhelming reason. The energy requirement would be infinite. Kinetic energy is 1/2 times mass times v squared. As an object goes faster its relativistic mass increases by 1/sqrt(1-(v^2/c^2)). As v squared approaches c, the quantity under the square root sign approaches zero. The reciprocal thus approaches infinity. You cannot get to FTL without going through c.
You could take all the mass in the universe, convert it into energy, apply that energy to a single electron and it still would not reach c.

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bwana4swahili

#### methomas

First, it would take a HUGE amount of energy and time to generate even a small amount of antimatter.
Second, the technology postulated is simply that, i.e.: a great science project with no idea how to undertake even a prototype let alone a usable drive.
Third, lots of ideas of this type thought up over the years that ultimately ended up in the trash bin.
Fourth, it is in the realm as perpetual motion and we all know that is impossible.
Sorry, I can't see any real science in your explanation just slogans.......

#### methomas

FTL travel is not possible for any object with a finite rest mass for one overwhelming reason. The energy requirement would be infinite. Kinetic energy is 1/2 times mass times v squared. As an object goes faster its relativistic mass increases by the reciprocal of the square root of quantity 1 minus quantity v squared over c squared. As v squared approaches c, the quantity under the square root sign approaches zero. The reciprocal thus approaches infinity. You cannot get to FTL without going through c.
You could take all the mass in the universe, convert it into energy, apply that energy to a single electron and it still would not reach c.
Please, I understand and studied Einsteins equations. I feel it falls apart in space with 99.99999% with no Matter (mass), therefore, E=MC2 theory doesn't apply.

#### billslugg

If you don't believe in the applicability of Einstein's equations then there is nothing I can do to help you. But just for the record:

Antimatter is extremely difficult to make. If we take all of the atom colliders over all of history and add up all the antimatter they have made, it would amount to about a microgram.
In order to send a human rated craft to the nearest star to the Sun within a human lifetime, something on the order of several hundred tons would be required.
It would take the energy from all the sunlight falling on the Earth over several hundred hears to make enough. And then you would have the problem of storing it. There is not really any way to do that. Even if you put a frozen chunk of it in the best vacuum we can generate, the collision of remnant gasses would generate so much heat it would give off heat faster than we could replenish it.
One assumption underlying the above analysis is that the craft would travel at 0.1c, the minimum speed needed to reach Proxima Centauri and return within a human lifetime. Going to, say, 0.99c would require around 500 times as much antimatter.

bwana4swahili

#### methomas

If you don't believe in the applicability of Einstein's equations then there is nothing I can do to help you. But just for the record:

Antimatter is extremely difficult to make. If we take all of the atom colliders over all of history and add up all the antimatter they have made, it would amount to about a microgram.
In order to send a human rated craft to the nearest star to the Sun within a human lifetime, something on the order of several hundred tons would be required.
It would take the energy from all the sunlight falling on the Earth over several hundred hears to make enough. And then you would have the problem of storing it. There is not really any way to do that. Even if you put a frozen chunk of it in the best vacuum we can generate, the collision of remnant gasses would generate so much heat it would give off heat faster than we could replenish it.
One assumption underlying the above analysis is that the craft would travel at 0.1c, the minimum speed needed to reach Proxima Centauri and return within a human lifetime. Going to, say, 0.99c would require around 500 times as much antimatter.
Did you read my theory ? Telling me about how hard it is too make anti-matter is like telling Mickey Mantle on how to hit a base ball. This is going no where. NO further replies to you.

#### bwana4swahili

Sorry, I can't see any real science in your explanation just slogans.......
Sorry, I'm an Engineer and look at the practical side of the weird things scientists think up AND this is definitely one of them! Enough said.

Pogo

#### Unclear Engineer

Having read the subject article and methomas's link, it looks to me like the energy needed to produce the anitmater is not being considered. Producing it on the space vehicle itself seems to have the problem with General Relativity that the whole mass of the space ship needs to be converted to energy in order to get to to light velocity.

Not sure how that would work with antimater created elsewhere and used to "fuel" the space vehicle. While it seems that antimatter still has mass that needs to be converted to energy, there do seem to be some disconnects between General Relativity and Quantum Theoey that I have not seen successfully bridged, so I will leave that as an unknown, at least to me.

But, as Billslugg posted, the idea that we can create and store antimatter is going to be a problem for any design that proposes to use it. And, the idea that we can just create it on the space vehicle when needed should be factored into the weight and energy storage capability of the vehicle.

I am not seeing either of those problems being addressed by either the subject article or methomas's link. In particular, you can't just assume a space vehicle weight and then assume that it can create sufficient antimatter to develope the calculated thrust.

bwana4swahili

#### MiddlePillar

I heard an astro-physicist make the point a person in this time with existing knowledge likely does not have to tools to even conceive of advanced science. Would the knowledge of throwing a rock cause you to ponder a laser gun in mankind's early years of development?
While all the arguments against FTL or superluminal travel are valid within our knowledge frame, there is work being done on mass reduction. A gravity wave generated 'bubble' in which mass is no longer a consideration.
The US Navy has been granted some interesting patents.
And before people get their shorts in a bunch...
they are not operational, but gravity wave generators are being worked on.

#### Unclear Engineer

While I fully believe that we have some major things to learn about physics and cosmology, and am not convinced that learning those things could not provide us with a way to travel much faster and maybe even exceed the speed of light, I do have to point out that the articles we are discussing here are not benefitting from any of that yet-to-be-gained knowledge.

So, when authors present designs that we currently have no knowledge that would make them possible, it is worth noting that they fall into the realm of "If pigs could fly."

#### billslugg

The whole point of an antimatter drive is to leave the inefficiencies of its generation behind. Creating it on the spaceship would be counterproductive. Better to simply take the spacecraft fuel designated for the production of antimatter and use that energy to propel the spacecraft.

#### billslugg

Yes, we cannot predict what science might show us in the future but we can rule certain things out. FTL travel, violations of the Second Law, etc.

Yes, there are patents on such things but patent claims do not have to work. (Perpetual motion claims are an exception, any such claim must be accompanied by a working model)

Yes, people are working on such claims but that does not mean the claims will ever bear fruit.

In every case where a new solution to one of Einstein's equations is found, such that a forbidden thing can now occur, there is always a caveat the includes another impossible thing to happen.

Examples:
1)Wormholes which allow instantaneous travel to anywhere in the universe. Caveats include that you must go to the far end first, in order to make the exit of the wormhole. Also, you must completely destroy yourself by falling into a black hole.
2) FTL travel requires you to go back in time.
3) FTL travel requires negative mass.
etc etc

bwana4swahili

#### Pogo

We can’t make a magnetic field for a substantial time to contain fusion reactor fuel. It would have to be Foolproof, with a capital F, to contain antimatter, or else Poof!
That is if we ever figure out how to make enough antimatter in the first place.

bwana4swahili

#### Pogo

Anyone can apply for a patent for anything, but, until a working model is made and able to be duplicated by others, it doesn’t mean much.
Reminds me of the cold fusion thing of the 80s.

#### MiddlePillar

True enough. The patents the Navy took out are for:
A room temperature semiconductor
An electro-magnetic Forcefield Generator
A High Frequency Gravitational Wave Generator
Craft using an initial Mass Reduction Device ( that one is for FTL or superluminal travel )

They warranted two were operational, and two were preemptive so as not to have to pay royalties to foreign governments currently working on the same tech.

Apparently, (I'm not a scientist) the room temperature semiconductor is a BFD.
Pretty sure the FTL device is conceptual, I found it interesting the Navy called out royalties to other nations.
They have also gotten real touchy about inquiries on this topic.

Interesting discussion.

#### billslugg

I do have to point out that the articles we are discussing here are not benefitting from any of that yet-to-be-gained knowledge.

Yes, it is always telling that none of the discoverers of such impossibilities have ever won the Nobel Prize, nor can we find their products in Walmart.

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#### Classical Motion

If we accelerate a proton, then hit it very quickly with a hard 180 degree acceleration, so that the proton can not turn around to the hard direction, the proton will be accelerated backwards, and unwind and give off gamma and then x-ray. And it will become the same energy level, the same size, the same spin RPM as an electron. Now the positron can physically touch the electron. Normally, the two charges can not touch, because of the size difference. One would fly thru the center of the other. As a neutron is a proton inside of an electron. But now they are the same size and touch. And being that they rotate in opposite directions, they unwind each other as EM radiation into space.

If we isolate the positron from any electrons, it will absorb any jiggle or temp. from any source around it. It is a very cold sink. This sink has a huge potential for energy production.

One would ask how much power does it take to relax that proton. To release all that heat? I believe it could be very efficient. I believe a simple induction field at the right angle could unlock it.

The heat given off by cooling the proton would be EM radiation. The energy to return that heat can be any form.

Proton cooling/heating cycle.

#### Pogo

True enough. The patents the Navy took out are for:
A room temperature semiconductor
An electro-magnetic Forcefield Generator
A High Frequency Gravitational Wave Generator
Craft using an initial Mass Reduction Device ( that one is for FTL or superluminal travel )

They warranted two were operational, and two were preemptive so as not to have to pay royalties to foreign governments currently working on the same tech.

Apparently, (I'm not a scientist) the room temperature semiconductor is a BFD.
Pretty sure the FTL device is conceptual, I found it interesting the Navy called out royalties to other nations.
They have also gotten real touchy about inquiries on this topic.

Interesting discussion.

The electromagnetic generator was, I believe, an idea I read in the ‘70s that they could use an EM field to force seawater through chutes on a submarine using the moving water as propulsion, would make virtually no noise. We see how well that worked, they still make propellers.

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