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Anti-Matter Belt Discovered Around Earth

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the just-a-pinch-between-the-cheek-and-gum dept.

Earth 208

hydrofix writes "A thin band of antiprotons enveloping the Earth has been spotted for the first time. The find, described in Astrophysical Journal Letters [arXiv] (Note: abstract free, full text paywalled), confirms theoretical work that predicted the Earth's magnetic field could trap antimatter. The antiprotons were spotted by the Pamela satellite launched in 2006 to study the nature of high-energy particles from the Sun and cosmic rays. Aside from confirming theoretical work that had long predicted the existence of these antimatter bands, the particles could also prove to be a novel fuel source for future spacecraft — an idea explored in a report for NASA's Institute for Advanced Concepts."

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Navu SEAL:team killed in helicopter crash (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37015396)

Was this retribution for Bin Laden's attack? The world will want an answer.

Re:Navu SEAL:team killed in helicopter crash (2, Funny)

morgaen (1896818) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015466)

Turn off Fox News. They were obviously flying too close to the anti-matter belt.

Re:Navu SEAL:team killed in helicopter crash (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37015562)

I fart in your general direction!

Re:Navu SEAL:team killed in helicopter crash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37015718)

I guess that makes the score 22-1 in their favor.

antimatter (2, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015460)

the particles could also prove to be a novel fuel source for future spacecraft

That's sooooo adorably naive! Everybody knows that if it turns out to be a useful power source, the governments of the world will compete with one another to turn it into a weapon. Space Race 2.0: Fuck The Manhattan Project, Shit Just Got Real!

Re:antimatter (4, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015532)

That's sooooo adorably naive! Everybody knows that if it turns out to be a useful power source, the governments of the world will compete with one another to turn it into a weapon. Space Race 2.0: Fuck The Manhattan Project, Shit Just Got Real!

Talk about naive. SkyNet will use it against us while we bicker between ourselves whether or not to put the anti-matter weapons on sharks or just in the hands of evil corporations.

Re:antimatter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016310)

You'd need antimatter containment equipment of at least 24 millicochranes, though. Good luck with that in the 21st century, bro.

Re:antimatter (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016762)

2063 is in which century? Fail.

Re:antimatter (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015634)

Everybody knows that if it turns out to be a useful power source, the governments of the world will compete with one another to turn it into a weapon.

Wait, you think that if the anti-matter belt around Earth turned out to be a useful power source that it would be governments that compete for control of it?

Sister, you are hopelessly naive.

Re:antimatter (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37015664)

I do believe shit just got Anti-Real.

Re:antimatter (2)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015828)

Or we'll be in almost peace by then, as the internet unites nations more and more. The hate on average is going down a lot, thanks to many realizing that real people exist on the other side of the globe. And the internet is a big part of that. Perhaps not so naive.

Re:antimatter (2)

Nick Ives (317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015922)

You think the internet reduces hate? Have you seen the comments on Youtube, or even here?

Re:antimatter (2)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016018)

I know, hard to believe it was worse before isn't it?

Seriously, generally speaking, it's a lot harder for people to feel indifferent going to war, when they see others' lives on facebook, the web in general, or even through email.

Re:antimatter (0)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016258)

That hate however goes towards their own countrymen mostly.

Re:antimatter (0, Troll)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016378)

You couldn't be more wrong. The Internet is a marvelous construct that provides many benefits but it's most prolific and growing contribution today is providing the tools to promote rampant disinformation, historical revisionism, animosity, and out right hate. There exists a sizable majority who believe everything they read on the Internet and the anonymity of the the web makes manipulating these people is easy and cheap when compared against other methods indoctrinating public opinion. And please elaborate on this increase in peace throughout the world. I can only hope your comment was intended as a troll because I have a hard time accepting someone who could be that stupid.

Re:antimatter (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016482)

I can only hope your comment was intended as a troll because I have a hard time accepting someone who could be that stupid.

Wow, you're just so hateful... :)

Re:antimatter (1)

plover (150551) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015832)

If these could serve as fuel, you just know that every alien civilization with space travel capabilities is already harvesting these as they go. This could serve as evidence that the earth has never been visited by extra-terrestrials, or if a significant fraction of the expected particles are missing, it's possible evidence that we were once visited.

Re:antimatter (2)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015924)

If weaponized antimatter was such a big draw, it would be in use by now.

Why? Because we can already manufacture it. (storage is the problem, and you'd bet your ass the Government(s) would be putting resources into solving that)

Re:antimatter (1)

Philbert de Zwart (1440831) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016488)

Sure we can manufacture it, but that costs a lot more energy than is contained in the antimatter produced, which kind of defeats the purpose.

Re:antimatter (1)

plover (150551) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016726)

Sure we can manufacture it, but that costs a lot more energy than is contained in the antimatter produced, which kind of defeats the purpose.

That's not really the purpose.

Think about the energy it takes to deliver a couple dozen 1,000 pound bombs to a chunk of desert: you have to make the explosives, build the bomb casings, build a jet to fly the things to whereverstan, pummel a suitable piece of ground into a landing strip, defend it with a bunch of very expensive people (including air conditioning their tents), pour tens of thousands of pounds of Jet-A into the aircraft and send it off to dodge enemy defenses, then finally drop the ordnance. Sure, most of that is reused for each weapon delivered. But the bottom line is you spend trillions of dollars and hundreds of millions of pounds of fuel to deliver a few hundred thousand pounds of explosives. "Cost effective" and "energy efficient" don't seem to be their primary design goals.

What you really want is a weapon that delivers a LOT of energy all at once to the target. Small weapons with big relative yields are preferred, so energy density is key. An atomic bomb that weighs in at less than a thousand pounds has an energy density equivalent to 20,000,000 pounds of TNT. If they didn't have the side effect of toxic radiation, they'd probably be dropping them everywhere instead of conventional munitions.

Re:antimatter (2, Insightful)

Philbert de Zwart (1440831) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016820)

Well, I will agree with you that atomic bombs require an enormous investment, but your reasoning fails on one account: in an atomic bomb, the potential energy is already there, provided by nature. Sure we had to refine it, but in the end it is supernovas that put all that energy in the Uranium (or what have you) for us. To create an antimatter bomb, we need to produce all that potential energy ourselves, in the form of antimatter. Not only do we need to put in the potential energy itself, but also excess energy to account for the inefficiency of the production process.

That is what makes antimatter too inefficient to be used as a weapon, let alone as a fuel source.

This changes if we could harvest it from space, as indeed it would be nature again who has stored that potential energy for us.

Re:antimatter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016836)

What purpose? for energy you're right. For a weapon who cares about making more energy than you spend?

Re:antimatter (1)

plover (150551) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016560)

I should think long-term storage isn't nearly as big a problem as battlefield delivery. You have to send the entire containment package to the target, because if the particles hit either their container or the atmosphere before arriving downrange, the bad things happen to the wrong people. That means the containment package has to withstand the G forces of launch and trajectory. It might work for a guided dropped bomb, but perhaps not a missile warhead and probably not an artillery shell.

Re:antimatter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016072)

Playing an armchair scientist, I predict mass production of antimatter in no time, though down on earth, once the use of nanotechnology and doped graphene is shown to be a proven and practical method of creating and storing various antimatter particles. "Everyone" would perhaps want to make antimatter bombs or orthers for creating new thermonuclear weapon designs by switching out the fissionable material for the trigger, with antimatter. :P

Re:antimatter (2)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016134)

Everybody knows that if it turns out to be a useful power source, the governments of the world will compete with one another to turn it into a weapon.

That's how you get research for peaceful purposes also. The ugly secret of humans is that porn and war drive many new technologies, if not most. Rather than fight it, take advantage of it.

Re:antimatter (1)

plover (150551) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016816)

That's how you get research for peaceful purposes also. The ugly secret of humans is that porn and war drive many new technologies, if not most. Rather than fight it, take advantage of it.

So how do you apply Rule 34 to anti-matter?

Actually, I'm pretty sure I don't want to know.

So, you mean ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016190)

the particles could also prove to be a novel fuel source for future spacecraft

Translation: You, for one, welcome our new antimatter overlayer!

(Sorry, folks, but the meme was just screaming for use in this discussion. It was, in fact, a screaming meme).

Re:So, you mean ... (0)

Scarletdown (886459) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016638)

the particles could also prove to be a novel fuel source for future spacecraft

Translation: You, for one, welcome our new antimatter overlayer!

(Sorry, folks, but the meme was just screaming for use in this discussion. It was, in fact, a screaming meme).

Golf Clap (x2)

one for the clever twist on the meme, and one for the metameme at the end.

Re:antimatter (1, Insightful)

DakotaSmith (937647) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016224)

They didn't find antimatter, they found anti-protons. Matter is what happens when particles arrange themselves a certain way. A few stray protons doesn't constitute matter: neither do some stray anti-protons.

Furthermore, they've found a whopping 28 of them in two years' research. Even if they'd found 28 atoms of anti-hydrogen (which would require that each anti-proton also have a positron), the amount is utterly irrelevant in terms of power generation. 28 atoms of anti-hydrogen (which I point out again that this is not) wouldn't produce a reaction capable of running a AA-battery flashlight.

I believe that the BBC has fallen victim to sensationalism and/or ignorance. It's pretty much what I've come to expect from the world press.

Re:antimatter (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016358)

They didn't find antimatter, they found anti-protons. Matter is what happens when particles arrange themselves a certain way. A few stray protons doesn't constitute matter: neither do some stray anti-protons.

Furthermore, they've found a whopping 28 of them in two years' research. Even if they'd found 28 atoms of anti-hydrogen (which would require that each anti-proton also have a positron), the amount is utterly irrelevant in terms of power generation. 28 atoms of anti-hydrogen (which I point out again that this is not) wouldn't produce a reaction capable of running a AA-battery flashlight.

I believe that the BBC has fallen victim to sensationalism and/or ignorance. It's pretty much what I've come to expect from the world press.

And I bet nobody invites you to parties anymore.

Killjoy.

Re:antimatter (2, Funny)

Scarletdown (886459) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016658)

28 atoms of anti-hydrogen (which I point out again that this is not) wouldn't produce a reaction capable of running a AA-battery flashlight.

I believe that the BBC has fallen victim to sensationalism and/or ignorance. It's pretty much what I've come to expect from the world press.

So this discovery truly does not matter. Or does it not anitmatter in this case?

Re:antimatter (4, Interesting)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016336)

Also, several articles mention "billions" of anti proton around the Earth. That is still less than a joule. Bring a sugar cube into orbit, you'll have more fuel than if you captured all the anti-particles that orbit around the Earth.

Re:antimatter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016364)

You're so naive, it's just damn cute!

We all know that if this turns out to be real, breakfast cereal companies will compete to put this stuff in tiny, edible, magnetic bottles that'll light up when you eat it! Think about the increased sales of Cocoa Puffs when they can advertise it's "amazing glowing, zapping, popping from the pure anti-matter contained in every bite!"

Advances in propulsion technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37015470)

It seems to me that we're discovering quite a lot of new things like this lately. If it keeps up, we could end up on Mars a lot sooner than we think.

Re:Advances in propulsion technology (1, Troll)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015632)

Stop being naive. The civilian research projects will all have been cut, the USA will have single A credit rating and the super rich will be paying no taxes. ;)

Hopefully it won't get that bad, but more and more it looks like it will be Russia and China getting us to Mars. The European Union may be able to make it, but it isn't really fairing much better than the USA. As for other countries, well they either don't have the budget for manned space flight or the incentive.

I want to see human space flight getting us to Mars, or even to the moon, but spacecraft need to evolve a fair bit before it becomes feasible.

no it's moving to non government space flight (3, Interesting)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015720)

no it's moving to non government space flight.

Any way I will hate to see a cheap / corner cut china space ship fall apart mid way to mars. china 3 gorges dam may fail in real big way soon.

Re:Advances in propulsion technology (1)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016562)

"Russia and China getting us to Mars" You have to be fucking kidding me. Russia provides simple vehicles to get into orbit and while China has announced their grandiose ambitions what have they actually done or accomplished that leads you to believe they can pass the US and other western space programs? China is sitting on a ticking time bomb right now. People continue to over estimate China's abilities and stability. Their economy has went from producing positive trade balances to deficit trade balances. They are facing stiff competition from countries like Vietnam and other emerging countries who can eliminate China's sole advantage in the world economy, labor costs. China did not gain their economic successes by providing quality or innovations. The succeeded by being able to pay their workers a dollar a day. They have already manipulated their currency to the limit trying to maintain lower export prices but that has created rapid inflation which means the Chinese citizens have to pay more for goods and services which require an increase in their income. This increase will eventually impact on the cost of Chinese exports. If the Chinese government can not mange themselves out of this situation they will be facing 3 billion angry citizens looking for some answers.

Fuel? No. (5, Informative)

ljhiller (40044) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015476)

In 2.5 years (of which they were in the south atlantic anomaly something like 5% of the time) they found 28 antiprotons.

Re:Fuel? No. (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015594)

I knew the amount had to be on that order, or we'd have noticed the gamma ray flashes of our space vehicles passing through it. Anti-matter is so very hugely energy intensive to make, we'll never use it for fuel. It's just a bad deal. We'll be using fusion for advanced space travel

Re:Fuel? No. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37015620)

And the world needs only maybe five computers. And 640K ought to be enough for anybody. And Apple should shutdown and return its value to the shareholders.

Re:Fuel? No. (2)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015684)

Those are not examples of thermodynamic law limiting something. There is a specific energy cost associated with producing an anti-proton; it is not possible to produce one without incurring that cost, else perpetual motion would be possible.

Re:Fuel? No. (2)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015790)

But if antimatter is more compact, and we get to an efficiency point where antimatter gives off almost as much energy as it took to produce, then it's not such a bad deal.

Re:Fuel? No. (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015944)

Exactly. There is a reason Star Trek proposes using antimatter engines on starships. The fuel can be created on planets using massive fields of power generators, whether fusion or solar, rendering efficiency of creation relatively unimportant, and then deployed as a high-efficiency compact power source for ships. We do something similar with the RTGs in deep-space probes.

On the other hand, antimatter IIRC only releases something like ~50% of its energy in a usable manner, and even that is spread across many energy types (X-rays, heat, light, etc.) Of course, when dealing with an order of magnitude more energy total, it's still far better than nuclear.

Re:Fuel? No. (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016082)

Only around 10x better than nuclear? I would've thought 1000x better than fusion.

Re:Fuel? No. (1)

mikkelm (1000451) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015824)

You know, most of the energy sources we use today are sources that we haven't produced. We have extracted them, combined them, or chemically altered them, precisely because of the energy costs associated with outright producing them. If there's a way to harvest anti-matter without producing it, just as we have with all of our other energy sources, then it may well become a viable energy source one day.

Re:Fuel? No. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016102)

You know, most of the energy sources we use today are sources that we haven't produced. We have extracted them, combined them, or chemically altered them, precisely because of the energy costs associated with outright producing them. If there's a way to harvest anti-matter without producing it, just as we have with all of our other energy sources, then it may well become a viable energy source one day.

humm energy is not created and can't be

Re:Fuel? No. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016452)

You do realize that the exact same argument "proves" that we will never power anything using lithium ion batteries? You know, there is an energy cost associated with charging the battery; it is not possible to charge it without incurring that cost, else perpetual motion would be possible. Since the lithium ion battery is not magically producing energy out of nothing, it follows that it will never serve any purpose (or something).

Re:Fuel? No. (2)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015846)

So, in ten years then?

Re:Fuel? No. (3, Interesting)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016662)

You have to think of anti-matter more of a battery than an energy source. Once you have workable fusion (ie "unlimited", "cheap" power), the barriers to making anti-matter essentially go away. At that point you can make it and use it for space travel for what it is - a very compact energy source, which is exactly what you need for long journeys.

Re:Fuel? No. (1)

alendit (1454311) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016034)

You are right about the Earth's belt, but wouldn't it be possible to find similar belts around bigger space objects with stonger magnetic field and 'mine' them for anti-matter? No idea, how to size of the belt scales with the strenth of the magnetic field of the object, though.

Re:Fuel? No. (1)

kolbe (320366) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016432)

Jupiter has a mass of 1.8986×1027 kg, making it the largest body next to the Sun in our Solar System. So, why not take a stroll over there to see what kind of antimatter rings it has? THEN we might be able to talk about future fuel extraction (assuming we can even travel that reach on a regular basis without it taking 6 years, like it took Galileo).

Re:Fuel? No. (2)

slashqwerty (1099091) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016716)

(assuming we can even travel that reach on a regular basis without it taking 6 years, like it took Galileo

Juno [wikipedia.org] was launched two days ago and is expected to take five years to reach Jupiter.

New Horizons [wikipedia.org] reached Jupiter in just over two years. If it had anti-matter fuel it probably could have stopped. If it had anti-matter fuel it would have completed the trip even faster.

Really, it doesn't matter if it takes one month or one decade as long as there are enough craft in transit at one time to maintain a steady supply.

Re:Fuel? No. (0)

DakotaSmith (937647) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016142)

Wow, 28 whole anti-protons.

So if we could move CERN into orbit (impossible), capture the anti-protons (impossible), and get 28 positrons to orbit them (impossible), we might wind up with 28 whole atoms of anti-hydrogen.

Once again, the world press displays its complete scientific ignorance. This ain't even antimatter, just some anti-protons.

Re:Fuel? No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016212)

Wow, 28 whole anti-protons.

So if we could move CERN into orbit (impossible), capture the anti-protons (impossible), and get 28 positrons to orbit them (impossible), we might wind up with 28 whole atoms of anti-hydrogen.

Once again, the world press displays its complete scientific ignorance. This ain't even antimatter, just some anti-protons.

OK, so what you are saying is that if we put CERN into orbit, capture the anti-protons, and get 28 positrons to orbit them, we have a fully working improbability drive?

Re:Fuel? No. (1)

DakotaSmith (937647) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016354)

We're getting close, yes, if you consider that each of those actions is virtually impossible -- and therefore represent some finite improbability. Consequently, all we need to do to make the Improbability Drive at this point is some calculations and a nice, hot cup of tea.

Re:Fuel? No. (1)

Scarletdown (886459) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016764)

OK, so what you are saying is that if we put CERN into orbit, capture the anti-protons, and get 28 positrons to orbit them, we have a fully working improbability drive?

And then if you go on to do 3 more impossible things that day, you can reward yourself with a nice breakfast at Milliway's.

Re:Fuel? No. (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016616)

Anti-protons are not considered a form of matter? Do you have some prejudice against ions? Maybe you're just pissed off because anti-protons are always so negative.

Planning Office (5, Funny)

Uncle Robert (1667285) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015524)

Has anyone checked at the planning office to see if they are planning to put in a bypass?

Re:Planning Office (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015552)

Has anyone checked at the planning office to see if they are planning to put in a bypass?

Our requests for information seem to be disrupted by some as-of-yet unknown atmospheric disturbance. I'm sure they'll get back to us at their earliest convenience.

Re:Planning Office (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015658)

I tried finding out and it turns out the intergalactic freedom of information act excludes beings that are not part of the council. Then again maybe it was something along the lines that they were out to lunch? My intergalactic translator was marked "as seen on TV", so I should be careful about it's use for diplomatic purposes.

Re:Planning Office (4, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015650)

I did. The plans were on display, but I had to go down to the basement to find them. It was in a locked Microsoft Word document, saved on a 360 KB floppy disk, stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "Beware of the Ponies".

Re:Planning Office (1)

DakotaSmith (937647) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016036)

I've been trying to contact the Planning Office at Alpha Centauri without any success. Apparently the sub-ether network employs a protocol other than TCP/IP. I'm beginning to suspect that the system isn't even based on binary.

Re:Planning Office (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016184)

And that was in Arther Dent's sandwich, which was annihilated when the mice checked out.

oh ho ho ho (0)

rdpratt (1854096) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015536)

FUEL?! FUCK YEAH FUND IT. But screw that James Webb bullshit they've got going on. Useless.

arXiv is not paywalled (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37015586)

that's the point!

Anti-Matter (5, Funny)

cob666 (656740) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015608)

In other news. General Products press conferences states that visiting Earth could void the warranty on your GP hull.

Re:Anti-Matter (2)

DakotaSmith (937647) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016090)

I dunno, I'd chance it given the fact that what they've found wouldn't even make one Nickel atom. Those tanj Puppeteers are doing the usual corporate spin so as to avoid paying out the indemnity.

Re:Anti-Matter (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016266)

If hull damage were a possibility, how would our space program have worked? Luckily antiprotons react with protons, and most of the matter sandwiching it are full atoms, covered in electrons, which are the same charge. So to utilize this fuel, they're going to have to strip the electrons off matter and then combine it with these antiprotons.

Re:Anti-Matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016448)

Niven reference, move along.

Preemptive strike (0)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015612)

Oh, no, bring W. Bush back, we need to strike into this new enemy's lair before it attacks the American way of life (and also these may be used to power up SUVs somehow, GM, GE, Boeing and Lockheed Martin should look into this right now.)

I knew it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37015636)

I knew the moon landing was a hoax, and here is the proof.

Re:I knew it (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015892)

Proof of what. The density is very low. It poses no risk to transiting spacecraft.

You missed the obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37015640)

It's Commodore Decker's "Planet Killer".

Decker: "We saw this thing hovering over the planet, slicing out chunks of it with a... force beam."

Kirk: "Did you run a scanner check on it? What kind of a beam?"

Decker: "Pure... antiproton. *Absolutely pure*!"

Moon landing hoax confirmed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37015678)

Moon landing conspiracy buffs got a shot in the arm today when it was found the Earth is surrounded by antimatter. Many of the conspiracy theory buffs being Star Trek scholars realized any ship passing through it would explode confirming their belief that we never went to the Moon. Actual scientists pointed out the low density of the particle band but they were unswayed and hope one day that the information can help disprove the evolution hoax as well.

Not much more efficient than fusion (2)

tp1024 (2409684) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015732)

Even if there were huge quantities of anti-matter (implying that the spacecraft would have been vaporized in a short bright flash of light) and we could store it somehow (ignoring the safety implications of the storage failing) and in any way efficiently convert the resulting hard gamma radiation into anything useful at all, pure anti-matter still only has about 1000 times the energy density of fission fuel and about 100 times that of fuel for nuclear fusion. (Compare that to a factor of about 10 million between chemical and nuclear fuel.)

No, not even anti-matter will be able to do miracles.

Re:Not much more efficient than fusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37015920)

Well as you should know. First you have to channel the mater - antimatter reaction though the dilithium crystal matrix. Then you can use it to power your warp field. Then you get your miracles.....

 

Yeah so (1)

h4x0t (1245872) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015882)

We found this thin layer of stuff enveloping our planet, haven't confirmed it envelops the other desolate planets in the neighborhood, don't have good predictions as to what it actually does there... and we want to talk about harvesting it for fuel?
Go team go.

Anti-matter suspenders (0)

clyde_cadiddlehopper (1052112) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015902)

In a related story, the Department of Redundancy Department has announced funding for a new project to confirm the existence of the Earth's antimatter suspenders. A spokesman for the department explained that current theory requires both to exist. A second spokesman for the department explained both must exist, according to current theory.

Reality Check (0, Flamebait)

DakotaSmith (937647) | more than 2 years ago | (#37015996)

If I read this correctly, researchers have found anti-protons, not anti-matter. There's a difference.

Matter is the result of particles organizing themselves in a particular way. Hydrogen is one proton with one electron orbiting it. Anti-hydrogen (assuming any exists in nature -- an idea that is totally theoretical at this point) would consist of an anti-proton with one positron orbiting it.

That's not what they found. They found anti-protons -- which can be created by any number of nuclear reactions. I would submit that on a planet this size, it wouldn't be unexpected to find some anti-protons from time to time. If there's any real news here, it's that they seem to have found some trapped anti-protons.

Furthermore, there's no empirical evidence to support the notion that matter and anti-matter actually annihilate each other when they come into contact. It's a theory that dates back to 1898 when Sir Franz Arthur Friedrich Schuster whimsically wrote about it. It has been popularized in science fiction, most notably the Star Trek franchise in which M-AM reactions power warp drive.

We have never seen antimatter in nature, neither on Earth nor anywhere we've pointed telescopes. We see some radioactivity in deep space that might be the result of M-AM annihilation. They could also be the result of any number of other processes. The universe is an extremely large place, and it's sheer folly to think that Earthbound observations adequately explain everything we see. There's a hell of a lot more going on out there than we imagine stuck on the ground on Earth. I point to Earthbound observations of Venus that produced theories about the planet that were totally at odds with observations made by probes as an example.

Antimatter annihilation reactions are almost certainly the stuff of fiction, much like the scientists assigned to the Manhattan Project occasionally worried that they'd inadvertently set the entire planet's atmosphere aflame. See also anthropogenic global warming. While it's true that the best math may indicate that these things could occur, observation disagrees with theory.

Re:Reality Check (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016056)

Hm, you seem to be stupid. Is that a problem for you in everyday life? I mean, when you go to the hospital to get a PET scan, do you unleash your ignorance on the staff? Do they punch you in the eyes with icepicks like they should? If they don't, I will.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electron%E2%80%93positron_annihilation [wikipedia.org]

Or I've been trolled by a superlative master. In which case, teach me?

Re:Reality Check (0)

DakotaSmith (937647) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016306)

Sorry, I should have been more clear:

Yes, there are reactions when electrons and positrons collide. However, getting them to collide requires a linear accelerator (think Fermilab or CERN).

Only in science fiction do you get collisions without an enormous amount of assistance. Even if I had a brick made of anti-granite, the electrons in my hand and the positrons in the brick wouldn't collide without first holding one of us down and then firing the other at it with such accuracy and velocity that sub-atomic particles would actually collide.

For all intents and purposes, the space between sub-atomic particles is like the space between galaxies. From the right distance, the Magellanic Clouds are indistinguishable from the Milky Way. They are not, however, actually touching.

I'd be considerably more interested in the movement of positrons through, say, a wire made of anti-copper. :D

Re:Reality Check (1)

Tanuki64 (989726) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016390)

You are aware that anti-protons and protons just like anti-electrons and electrons have opposite charges? And what do opposite charges?

Re:Reality Check (0)

DakotaSmith (937647) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016502)

You get a reaction -- if you can get them to collide. You still need a linear accelerator to do it.

Again, the subatomic distances between particles are as comparably vast as the distance between galaxies. If you could shove a star from the Milky Way accurately enough, it would eventually hit a star from the Lesser Magellanic Cloud.

If anyone actually produces anti-matter in quantities large enough to be visible to the naked eye, I'll be happy to test this idea. Let's say CERN finally produces a balloon full of anti-hydrogen. I hereby volunteer to breathe in the entire quantity and exhale it in the next breath. I predict absolutely no harm to my body or any of the surrounding atoms. Even under those circumstances, the subatomic particles will not collide.

Re:Reality Check (1)

Tanuki64 (989726) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016558)

You get a reaction -- if you can get them to collide. You still need a linear accelerator to do it.

You need an accelerator to get two protons to collide. Two protons have a positive charge, so they repel each other. The acceleration is necessary to overcome this repellent force. Between a proton and an anti-proton there is no repellent force. They actually attract each other.

There is absolutely no open question when it comes to matter/anti-matter annihilation. It has been done with anti-hydrogen and container walls more than once.

Re:Reality Check (2)

Caraig (186934) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016788)

The only problem though is getting them to collide. While the OP is dramatically off the mark in a lot of areas, they are relatively correct in the need for acellerated streams being needed to cause particle collisions.

A microscopic chunk of antimatter in Earth's atmosphere, however, is something else entirely. It WILL get smacked with molecular collisions. (It is not likely to 'explode' so much as 'boil' though) For this reason, I do not recommend that OP inhale a balloon full of antihydrogen. Hydrogen is toxic and does obscene things to certain gases found in the lungs; antihydrogen can't be any better. The trick, of course, is getting a microscopic chunk of antimatter. Penning traps have only been able to capture individual small amounts for only a short time, on the order of seconds, maybe minutes. Definitely not enough to use for chemical experiments with antimatter a possibility.

But beyond that, can you imagine positron shells trying to interact with electron shells? What a covalent bond between 2 antihydrogen and 1 oxygen might be like? I can't; it probably can't happen, but I'm pretty sure that it would not be good if it could; Uncle Heisenberg is crying himself to sleep in Neils Bohr's arms thinking about it. OP's lungs would get a nice dose of gamma radiation, and he would most certainly NOT turn into the Hulk. I would imagine he wouldn't die from cancer, however; his lungs would be charred into coal from the heat generated by the thermal effects of dumping that much gammas into the residual gasses in his lungs and the cellular walls. (Oh, hey, OP, by the way: All that antihydrogen would NOT be expelled in the next breath, unless you can somehow turn your lungs inside out. This is partly why inhaled corrosives are so nasty: They linger. Coughing won't get them out entirely. The most you can hope for is that they dilute quickly in normal atmosphere and don't do something even worse like bond with molecular gates in the cells of your alveoli.)

Also... WTF? What does this have to do with AGW?

Re:Reality Check (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016774)

Unless I'm mistaken, an anti-proton would also qualify as an anti-hydrogen ion yes?

Re:Reality Check (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016800)

Nah, the matter label is really applied to anything which is a fermion. So a positron is considered anti-matter as well as an anti-proton. Doesnt need to be in a bound state.

And trust me, we damn well know that matter and anti-matter annihilate. This has been observed countless times in countless experiments. See recent CERN press releases about storing anti-hydrogen. Why can they only store for a short time, its because it annihilates when it touches matter.

Send Out More Harvesters! (1)

tunapez (1161697) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016128)

We must gobble it up and hoard as much as soon as possible! We don't know what we'll do with it all we just know we need more. HURRY!

Re:Send Out More Harvesters! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016480)

If we are not careful the space worms come and eat our harvesters before our carryalls arrive. One has to deploy scouts to detect the worm signs.

Take a look (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016286)

at the names of the scientists who published the article. Notice something?

Re:Take a look (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016394)

They're all either Italian or russian (with the exceptions of Dr. Wu and Dr. Bruno).

What are you trying to say?

Re:Take a look (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016672)

They're all named John!

Mining Jupiter and Saturn for antiprotons (1)

msheekhah (903443) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016294)

You know we're gonna do it.

Not paywalled (4, Informative)

History's Coming To (1059484) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016330)

Unless the summary is talking about the journal instead of the arXiv article it's not paywalled, I don't think I've ever seen anything on arXiv that is. It's kind of the point. Anyway, if you can't be bothered looking for the PDF link (top right) this will take you straight to the paper. [arxiv.org]

Re:Not paywalled (3, Informative)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016920)

There's no such thing as a paywall on arXiv -- you submit full preprints to it, and paywalling isn't an option. That is the point. :-)

Warp speed Mr. Scott! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37016342)

Now all we need is a method to contain that anti-matter that doesn't result in matter coming into contact with it. ;-)

GOTO page 54 (2)

roger_pasky (1429241) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016460)

Nice NASA IAC document. You can avoid Sheldon-level buzz wording going directly to page 54 where average Howard Wolowitz engineers can understand a great summary.

It is not true ... (1)

chessweb (1110761) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016794)

... that the full text is not available on arXiv.

The Belt... (1)

Heed00 (1473203) | more than 2 years ago | (#37016870)

It holds the tachyon pants up.
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