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will humans colonize other planets? - Page 2

post #41 of 53
[quote]Think, for example, if someone develops a way to make anti-matter easily from, oh lets say regular matter. <hr></blockquote>

Uh-oh. Antimatter explosions (more accurately, the energy released from matter/anitmatter annihiliation) are totally efficient (all mass converted to energy) and leave no fallout.
Stoo
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post #42 of 53
Antimatter-matter interactions produce only photons (electromagnetic energy in gamma frequencies) and depending on the energy involved in the interaction (speed of the particles) maybe some other long and short lived particles.
post #43 of 53
My understanding is that we really don't know much at all about what these kinds of reactions require / leave behind, because we don't really understand anti-matter that well in the first place. Do we?

BR: I see what you're saying. I'll add the book to my Amazon list and buy it once I have money.

gobble: good points all. I don't have the answers but hopefully NASA and others are considering the questions as you point out.
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post #44 of 53
[quote]Originally posted by Moogs:
<strong>My understanding is that we really don't know much at all about what these kinds of reactions require / leave behind, because we don't really understand anti-matter that well in the first place. Do we?
</strong><hr></blockquote>

Anti-matter is understood quite well actually. An anti-proton is the exact opposite of a proton. It has a charge of -1 instead of +1 and it spins in the opposite direction. A positron (anti-electron) is a +1 charged electron spinning in the opposite direction. Even the neutral neutron has an anti-particle. The anti-neutron is also neutral (0 charge) but has opposite spin. And the mass stays the same. Only fermions (hadrons and leptons) have anti-particles. Bosons do not have anti-particles since they are gauge (force carrying particles) particles. Some scientists have theorized that as many as half the galaxies in the universe may be made of anti-matter. Their starts would burn anti-hydrogen in the same way, and gravity would work in the same way.
post #45 of 53
Hmm. So you're saying these anti-particles you're describing are all now fundamental components of physics and chemistry (in the same way the atom itself is), rather than being theorhetical particles? They have been proven to exist and their properties can be repeatedly observed and demonstrated in the lab (Fermi-lab anyway)?

To your knowledge are these kinds of particles and their theories / applications described at at all in either:

"The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory - Brian Greene"

or

"The Inflationary Universe: The Quest for a New Theory of Cosmic Origins - Alan H. Guth" ?


Both are in my Amazon cart. I'm trying to create a list of must-have books on cosmology, future space travel, and the like. Hopefully I'll be able to purchase them this summer so I can really dig into this stuff a little more.
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post #46 of 53
They are known to exist and can be fabricated in mass to some extent. It is very expensive though. One way to make some is to use a high energy particle accelerator and smash 2 protons together at high speeds.
post #47 of 53
Antimatter is a good example of why some of this should wait until we are working in space more. Research should probably be done away from the earth's surface. One small mistake could make a hole the size of New York. It could also be that we will discover another safer power source. :eek:

[ 07-11-2002: Message edited by: jimmac ]</p>
Without the need for difference or a need to always follow the herd breeds complacency, mediocrity, and a lack of imagination
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Without the need for difference or a need to always follow the herd breeds complacency, mediocrity, and a lack of imagination
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post #48 of 53
" What was the best thing before sliced bread "?

The bread knife. <img src="graemlins/lol.gif" border="0" alt="[Laughing]" />

[ 07-11-2002: Message edited by: jimmac ]</p>
Without the need for difference or a need to always follow the herd breeds complacency, mediocrity, and a lack of imagination
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Without the need for difference or a need to always follow the herd breeds complacency, mediocrity, and a lack of imagination
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post #49 of 53
[quote]Originally posted by jimmac:
<strong>Antimatter is a good example of why some of this should wait until we are working in space more...One small mistake could make a hole the size of New York.</strong><hr></blockquote>


A hole the size of New York...state? Elaborate. What precisely do you mean by "hole"? Crater? Swiss Cheese? I assume you're talking about some sort of anti-matter chain reaction that basically vaporizes everything in its path?
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post #50 of 53
It doesn't even vaporize. It mutually turns into pure energy; photons. Gamma, infrared, micro, visible, X-ray, etc.
post #51 of 53
<img src="graemlins/hmmm.gif" border="0" alt="[Hmmm]" /> You're saying everything would just spontaneously disappear and turn into...light? Maybe we should screw up on purpose.
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post #52 of 53
Moogs,

Do you like have a deathwish or something?

The thing about a matter-antimatter reaction is that it has a very high matter to energy conversion ratio. A very small amount would release energy that would be much more powerful than any bomb we've exploded to date. This makes it attractive for the kind of fuel to energy yield you would need for interstellar travel.

So far we've only experimented on the microscopic level. The fact that it releases so much energy makes it difficult to harness and maintain..... so far.

We haven't mastered hydrogen fusion yet but, perhaps research in that area will lead to new techniques that could be applied to antimatter.

[ 07-12-2002: Message edited by: jimmac ]</p>
Without the need for difference or a need to always follow the herd breeds complacency, mediocrity, and a lack of imagination
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Without the need for difference or a need to always follow the herd breeds complacency, mediocrity, and a lack of imagination
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post #53 of 53
Another problem with anti-matter is that it is very difficult to contain. you would have to have it in a perfect vacuum and suspended magnetically so it doesn't touch any matter containment. This requires constant problems and a simple black out to power would be worse than Chernobyl.
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