A recent discovery of antimatter in the Earth’s upper magnetic fields have scientists claiming that these tiny specks of matter might one day be used to fuel inter-planetary spacecraft. Tremendous potential energies are tapped matter and antimatter interact (or, “annihilate“) in a reaction that produces energy more efficiently than the nuclear fusion at the sun’s core.
While the science involved is way over my head (despite having watched antimatter-heavy Angels and Demons movie twice for the ultra-sexy Lancia Delta scenes), Gas 2.0 is here to cover new and exciting sources of non-fossil energy. That said, exotic spaceborne antimatter is about as far removed from “up from the ground come a bubblin’ crude” as it gets! The discovery, then, that such a promising potential energy source exists in such a relatively accessible place means that future missions to Mars, the Moon, etc. (which may be somewhat more necessary sooner than later) won’t require as much of our terrestrial resources as scientists thought they would just a few short weeks ago.
This discovery (specifically, the discovery of orbital antiprotons approximately 200 times more massive than the previously discovered orbital positrons) probably won’t lead to Star Trek levels of interplanetary travel anytime soon, but it’s exciting to think of the sheer amount of electrical energies that could be harvested from the thermal waste of matter / annihilation reactions in the coming years. Here’s hoping we’re all around to see it!
You can check out a more science-heavy, lolcat-free take on the discovery made by a team of researchers at the University of Rome Tor in Vergata, Italy, over at the New Scientist magazine’s website. If you do check it out, feel free to explain it all to us in the comments, below.
Source | Graphic: New Scientist (adorable kitty added later).