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Trek Tech Pass me the quantum flux regulator, will you?

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Old September 18 2013, 09:43 PM   #1
zDarby
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Location: NorCal
Mining antimatter

Antimatter can be collected instead of made.
Suddenly an antimatter Pheonix is no longer so inconceivable.
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Old September 18 2013, 10:13 PM   #2
Robert Comsol
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Re: Mining antimatter

That's very interesting. Thanks for sharing this with us.

Looks like I should finally publish my article from last year, where I speculated that the "stem" of Earth Spacedock from ST III (etc.) is essentially a large antimatter production facility.

Bob
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Old September 18 2013, 11:28 PM   #3
Praetor
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Re: Mining antimatter

Wow, interesting. And indeed you should, Bob.
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Old September 19 2013, 06:21 AM   #4
zDarby
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Re: Mining antimatter

Bob: please do publish! The idea fascinates me. And I think you are probably right, though I'd love to hear your explanations and considerations on the subject.

The linked article has made me reconsider my previous statements at the end of the Rom BOP thread concerning different power technology. I need to give it more thought but the implications of antimatter induced nuclear reactions was not on my mind when I made my previous statements. That thought changes nearly everything....

I will post more later, but it's exciting, the things that are going through my head!
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Old September 19 2013, 10:52 AM   #5
Robert Comsol
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Re: Mining antimatter

I'll try to publish my "little" () treatise tonight. But I didn't focus on how antimatter would be produced but rather on concerns for safety and logistics.

Praetor might perhaps want to reconsider the placement of antimatter aboard the Excelsior Class should he find the speculations agreeable.

zDarby wrote: View Post
I will post more later, but it's exciting, the things that are going through my head!
No doubt they are. I really liked Lawrence Krauss' The Physics of Star Trek but each time it really got interesting he unfortunately changed the subject. I therefore consider your observations to be somewhat the much anticipated sequel to his book.

Bob
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Old September 20 2013, 08:44 PM   #6
drt
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Re: Mining antimatter

My pet theory was always that naturally occuring antimatter was much more prevelant in the Trek universe. Maybe there are "mining ships" etc. That are responsible for harvesting antimatter out in deep space somewhere. But I do like Bob's idea that the Spacedock is more of a refueling depot, which seems like a reasonable place to store the antimatter collected by the mining ships.
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Old September 20 2013, 09:49 PM   #7
Nob Akimoto
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Re: Mining antimatter

Given that the marginal cost of energy in Trek seems to be extremely, even ludicrously low, I don't know if you even need naturally occuring antimatter. You just need to have a decent way of generating it, and a lot of other generating capacity. With the sort of orbital sublight flight capability they have, the cheapness and reliability of fusion (you never hear about any of the fusion reactors on a ship having problems) and well functioning bussard ramscoops, you can probably do a lot of antimatter generation without resorting to exotic sources of it.
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Old September 21 2013, 11:01 AM   #8
zDarby
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Re: Mining antimatter

In 2006, Bickford published an article about where the current theories say we would find antiprotons and in what Lamont's. I've not finished the article but it claims Jupiter should be collecting kilograms worth of antimatter a year and that seturn should collect more than Jupiter. (Or so I understood.)

One of the really exciting things about having quantities of antimatter is that you can use it to produce and control a fission reaction in less-than-critical amounts of fission fuel. This may seem Luke no big deal or even a complete waist of antimatter but it promisses the possibility of currently impossible or very impractical engineering, such as making a refrigerator sized thorium breeder reactor that could power every aspect of your 100 year life from a basketball sized chunk of thorium; a material as common on Eartg as lead. (These numbers are being pulled from my behind on a late night so don't take them too seriously.)

The reason for this is that a heavy nucleus struck by an antiproton will force the nucleus to fission. The byproducts will be neutrons as usual to make other nucleus split. But, since it's not a critical mass, not enough of those neutrons will be captured on average to keep the reaction going. So the pile can't melt down.

But all those fission reactions will create more energy than there would have been if all the antiproton did was annihilate with a proton and by placing much of its annihilation energy onto fission fragments, the process makes it far easier to colllect that energy.

For near-term antimatter collection, I could see a company, launching with Space-X, put up a satellite that collected antiprotons around Earth in order to fuel a laboratory spaceship to travel to Saturn to collect the antimatter there.

In the star trek era, I could see a space station that used cosmic rays to produse large amounts of antimatter
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Old September 21 2013, 11:54 AM   #9
Mycroft Maxwell
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Re: Mining antimatter

All tech manuals and Blue prints have always showed that the Enterprise-D had a large (heavy) Antimatter generator on board. It was always suggested that this wasnt the primary source of antimatter though. More of an emergency thing.
Problem is STILL, we have really no way to contain a large quantity of antimatter. And it has to be a certain type of antimatter (Anti-Hydrogen). Then theres the process of combining it wit the right normal matter (Deuterium aka heavy Hydrogen). Also, you have to find something that can cool a matter/anti-matter reaction, and something that can contain the reaction itself, and a material that can with stand the high heat of high energy produced (aka Plasma conduits). But even then, the faster you go, the more you have to worry about time dilation.

Be a hopeful good way power reactors. IF I recall, matter/antimatter reactions (especially the 1:1 ratio ) doesnt produce any radiation. Everything is annihilated . Even the subatomic particles are all turned into useful energy.
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Old September 21 2013, 08:19 PM   #10
zDarby
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Re: Mining antimatter

"Radiation" is litterally any sub-atomic particle moving so fast that it can not be connected to anything else until it collides with something and transfers its kinetic energy. This means all frequencies of light, electons, atomic nuclei, their constituents or the antimatter equivalents of any of these particles are radiation.

In this way you can correctly say that antimatter reactions create nothing but radiation. Proton-antiproton reactions tend to make gamma-rays and pions. (Pions are a class of particles made up of quarks. Basically, quarks don't like to be alone so they always pair up. But when energies are high, they pair up in random ways, ignoring everything about the partner. Instead of trying to list all the different possible combinations, it's easier to just say, "pions".)

And with that kind of particle zoo exploding outwards, any particle you don't capture to use for power will strike a nucleus somewhere and put it in an excited state, making it at least temporarily radioactive. And, in some cases, will take a stable nucleus and set it down the road of a decay chain, making it spew out particles several times before it can get back to a new stable state.

I didn't want to just say, "Yes. M/AM is radioactive." I wanted to describe what that means and why. I hope I succeeded.
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Old September 21 2013, 11:34 PM   #11
Mycroft Maxwell
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Re: Mining antimatter

I would say you succeeded. I was thinking after I posted...Well if it didnt release radiation it would have no light or energy what so ever. I was trying to think that I was looking to say. Thanks very much
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Old September 22 2013, 10:08 PM   #12
publiusr
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Re: Mining antimatter

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
I speculated that the "stem" of Earth Spacedock from ST III (etc.) is essentially a large antimatter production facility.

Bob
The Fed's own cloud city, so I guess we know what Tibanna gas is now...
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Old September 23 2013, 09:20 AM   #13
Robert Comsol
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Re: Mining antimatter

^^ Interesting idea. You force Tibanna gas into the outer layer of the antimatter pod and its anti-gravitational / repelling effect makes sure that the antimatter is not touching the solid parts of the pod.

Bob
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