According to wiki; "A classic staple of science fiction and superhero stories, anti-matter
is matter composed of antiparticles, subatomic particles that have mostly exactly the same properties (mass, intrinsic angular momentum, etc) as your everyday particles, but some properties are inverted: antiprotons are negative, antielectrons (also known as positrons) have a positive charge, antineutrons and antiprotons have negative baryon numbers, etc. In some cases (photons, neutral pions) the particle is its own antiparticle.
Antiparticles do exist naturally; however, antimatter normally only exists for brief moments before coming in contact with normal matter, and it can only be formed as a product of radioactive decay, or when particles collide at very high speeds.
When electrons encounter positrons, both particles mutually annihilate and emit gamma radiation. At high energy, they can also produce other stuff. When protons and neutrons encounter antiprotons and antineutrons, they also annihilate, resulting in a star of pions shooting out. These antiparticles ultimately decay into high-energy gamma radiation.
The result of all this pure energy unleashed from mass is many times more powerful than nuclear fusion (relative to its mass; it's the purest example of Einstein's famous equation E = mc2). Antimatter is often used as either a fuel or a weapon in fiction, both cases due to its high energy potential.
How high energy? Remember that the speed of light in a vacuum (the 'c' in this equation) is 3.00*108 m/s. c2 is 9.00*1016 m2/s2. Converting 1 gram of matter to energy therefore produces 9.00*1013 kg*m2/s2 = 9.00*1013 N*m ~= 90 terajoules. "Little Boy", the nuclear weapon used against Hiroshima
in 1945, was built from 64 kilograms of uranium and released only 63 terajoules.
As noted on the Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better
page, you have to get something of mass m whipped up to .87 c to have the same amount of energy as a matter/antimatter reaction where both the matter and antimatter that you're annihilating have a combined mass of m.
This explosive aspect of antimatter is also often explored, usually in the form of planet-annihilating weapons of mass destruction.*
Alternatively, controlled matter/anti-matter reactions could be used as a source of power: given that it does not naturally occur in useful quantities, it would be something like an ultimate battery - with massed solar or nuclear power or particle accelerators powered by Dyson solar satellite systems
throughout the Milky Way producing the energy needed to synthesize large quantities of antimatter for use as fuel for Faster Than Light Travel
, weapons, matter replication
, or any application needing very high energy/power density.
Antimatter is currently the most expensive stuff on Earth, priced at about $62.5 trillion a gram*. Not that a gram of antimatter was ever produced â in fact, so far we don't know how to effectively store it. Put it in any regular container and it would annihilate against its walls. No good. Powerful electromagnetic traps have been devised, but those can only store a billion antiprotons or so. That's one millionth of a billionth of a gram. Ish.
More than this would be difficult because all these antiprotons have negative charge, and hate being close to each other. Alternatively, we could store antihydrogen atoms which are electrically neutral, but that also makes those electromagnetic traps much more difficult to use. Still, scientists have been able to store 309 antihydrogen atoms for more than 1000 seconds. Now all we need to do is store one trillion billion (ish) times more hydrogen. No small feat.."
Given the planetary destruction capability of antimatter, we strongly urge all governments around the world to avoid paying for or doing any research on planet Earth around antimatter. At the very least, antimatter is much more radioactive and dangerous than standard nuclear weapons are, and they have the capability to destroy all life on the planet already.
Just because anti matter can be made into a weapon, it will be. Just because it can be created, it will then need to be tested, just as nuclear weapons were. When nuclear weapons were tested, they did not know for sure whether or not it would lead to a chain reaction that would burn up all of the atmosphere or lead to some other planet destroying process, but they did it anyway. The same process will be followed with an anti matter weapon. It will be tested and tried out. So the only way to prevent an 'accidental' destruction of the planet Earth is to NOT go down this road.
Just because we can do something, does not mean we should just go ahead and do it. We can shoot massive over doses of heroin into someone and 'test' the resulting death, but why?
If governments want to experiment with antimatter, it should be done on another planet at some future time, such as the moon, Saturn or something else very far away from Earth, because the odds are high that the scientists involved will blow themselves and the planet up in the process of testing some device or bomb.
We only have one planet. Let's not destroy it.
Anti matter, Antiprotons, Antielectrons, Positrons, Antineutrons and Antiproton Radiation Dangers; via @AGreenroad
For more articles like this;
Nuclear Bombs, Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear War