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Antimatter Production for Near-Term Propulsion Applications
Author and Affiliation:
Schmidt, G. R.(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL United States);
Gerrish, H. P.(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL United States);
Martin, J. J.(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL United States);
Smith, G. A.(Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA United States);
Meyer, K. J.(Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA United States)
Abstract: The superior energy density of antimatter annihilation has often been pointed to as the ultimate source of energy for propulsion. However, the limited capacity and very low efficiency of present-day antiproton production methods suggest that antimatter may be too costly to consider for near-term propulsion applications. We address this issue by assessing the antimatter requirements for six different types of propulsion concepts, including two in which antiprotons are used to drive energy release from combined fission/fusion. These requirements are compared against the capacity of both the current antimatter production infrastructure and the improved capabilities which could exist within the early part of next century. Results show that although it may be impractical to consider systems which rely on antimatter as the sole source of propulsive energy, the requirements for propulsion based on antimatter-assisted fission/fusion do fall within projected near-ten-n production capabilities. In fact, such systems could feasibly support interstellar precursor missions and omniplanetary spaceflight with antimatter costs ranging up to $60 million per mission.
Publication Date: Jan 01, 1999
Document ID:
19990100915
(Acquired Nov 05, 1999)
Subject Category: NUCLEAR AND HIGH-ENERGY PHYSICS
Document Type: Journal Article
Financial Sponsor: NASA Marshall Space Flight Center; Huntsville, AL United States
Organization Source: NASA Marshall Space Flight Center; Huntsville, AL United States
Description: 1p; In English
Distribution Limits: Unclassified; Publicly available; Unlimited
Rights: No Copyright
NASA Terms: ANNIHILATION REACTIONS; ANTIMATTER; ANTIPROTONS; COSTS; ENERGY REQUIREMENTS; FISSION; FLUX DENSITY; MATTER-ANTIMATTER PROPULSION; RANGEFINDING; SPACE FLIGHT
Availability Source: Other Sources
Availability Notes: Abstract Only;
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