Development of high-capacity antimatter storage

Howe, Steven D.; Smith, Gerald A.
January 2000
AIP Conference Proceedings;2000, Vol. 504 Issue 1, p1230
Academic Journal
Space is vast. Over the next few decades, humanity will strive to send probes farther and farther into space to establish long baselines for interferometry, to visit the Kuiper Belt, to identify the heliopause, or to map the Oort cloud. In order to solve many of the mysteries of the universe or to explore the solar system and beyond, one single technology must be developed—high performance propulsion. In essence, future missions to deep space will require specific impulses between 50,000 and 200,000 seconds and energy densities greater than 10[sup 14] j/kg in order to accomplish the mission within the career lifetime of an individual, 40 years. Only two technologies available to mankind offer such performance—fusion and antimatter. Currently envisioned fusion systems are too massive. Alternatively, because of the high energy density, antimatter powered systems may be relatively compact. The single key technology that is required to enable the revolutionary concept of antimatter propulsion is safe, reliable, high-density storage. Under a grant from the NASA Institute of Advanced Concepts, we have identified two potential mechanisms that may enable high capacity antimatter storage systems to be built. We will describe planned experiments to verify the concepts. Development of a system capable of storing megajoules per gram will allow highly instrumented platforms to make fast missions to great distances. Such a development will open the universe to humanity. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.


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