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donsu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 10:32 AM
Original message
Air Force pursuing antimatter weapons

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/200...


Air Force pursuing antimatter weapons
Program was touted publicly, then came official gag order


-snip-

Following an initial inquiry from The Chronicle this summer, the Air Force forbade its employees from publicly discussing the antimatter research program. Still, details on the program appear in numerous Air Force documents distributed over the Internet prior to the ban.

These include an outline of a March 2004 speech by an Air Force official who, in effect, spilled the beans about the Air Force's high hopes for antimatter weapons. On March 24, Kenneth Edwards, director of the "revolutionary munitions" team at the Munitions Directorate at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida was keynote speaker at the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) conference in Arlington, Va.

-snip-

Unlike regular nuclear bombs, positron bombs wouldn't eject plumes of radioactive debris. When large numbers of positrons and antielectrons collide, the primary product is an invisible but extremely dangerous burst of gamma radiation. Thus, in principle, a positron bomb could be a step toward one of the military's dreams from the early Cold War: a so-called "clean" superbomb that could kill large numbers of soldiers without ejecting radioactive contaminants over the countryside.

-snip-

Besides, Lynn is enthusiastic about antimatter because he believes it could propel futuristic space rockets.

"I think," he said, "we need to get off this planet, because I'm afraid we're going to destroy it."
---------------------------

he's right about one thing - we are destroying the earth

but it will be destroyed long before we discover another earth planet and manage to travel there.

anti matter weapons are another issue.

wish all those scientist would put their brains to work saving the planet instead of making weapons that murder people.
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Beelzebud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 10:41 AM
Response to Original message
1. Yeah and they're on about step 2 of 2,000,000 to figuring out anti-matter.
Wishful thinking is all this is.

Scientists still can't contain anti-matter, and every time they make it in a lab it quickly annihilates.
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Mythsaje Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 10:52 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. It's probably a similar problem to the one they're having with fusion...
Containment. They haven't been able to create a magnetic bottle of sufficient efficiency to hold the reaction long enough to beat the energy requirements. It takes more energy to generate the bottle than they get from the reaction. So far.
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Monomorphic Donating Member (18 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 11:20 AM
Response to Reply #1
7. Antimatter vs. Kinetic Bombardment
Edited on Fri Dec-29-06 11:26 AM by Monomorphic
It's not that they can't contain antimatter, which we already have the technology today to do. The problem is that when antimatter is created in colliders it is traveling at relativistic speeds. What scientists are working on now is a way to slow the stuff down so they can store it. Also, Antimatter is expensive in the extreme to make. A better alternative is what's called Kinetic Bombardment. This is where you orbit a telephone pole sized cylinder of Tungsten... then smash it into the target at hypersonic speeds. The blast would be equivalent to a nuclear blast... really good at taking out deeply buried targets... have no radioactive fallout... and be impossible to defend against. See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinetic_bombardment
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newyawker99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 04:03 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. Hi Monomorphic!!
Welcome to DU!! :toast:
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Mythsaje Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 10:50 AM
Response to Original message
2. I have to disagree
Edited on Fri Dec-29-06 10:51 AM by Mythsaje
that we'll destroy it before we find a way to escape it. I also believe technology will give us the ability to repair at least some of the damage we've done. By the end of this century we will almost certainly be in space, and possibly even in other star systems. FTL is a distinct possibility, given the mathematics that have recently come to light.

We're not going to have much of a choice.

On the other hand, the last thing we need is another superweapon. If we can use anti-matter to propel spacecraft, great. That's wonderful. It already looks as though we may be working with nuclear rockets sometime in the near future. I'd rather see us using something else for that, myself. I don't think we need to use potential atom bombs to hurl us into space if we can avoid it. Once out there... that's a bit different.

I have entirely too much faith in our potential to feel so negatively about our future prospects. We are capable of astounding feats, as well as horrific acts of stupidity and arrogance. But we are a young species still. I know it's not exactly a popular view here on DU, but we HAVE come a long way, both technologically and culturally...though sometimes it may not seem like it.

We're growing and learning, just as we are supposed to.
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ntesla Donating Member (31 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 11:30 AM
Response to Reply #2
8. Ion Propulsion is a possibility for space travel
Edited on Fri Dec-29-06 11:38 AM by ntesla
There was a report about a possible experimental government craft resembling a saucer using ion propulsion.

The account on TV was about an underwater stranded craft. This story was told by a nearby fisherman which drove his boat over the stranded submersed craft to help. He observed white foam surfacing and also tried to contain the material but it quickly dissolved. As you may already suspect, the white foam he couldn't grab was most likely hydrogen bubbles. - Hydrogen as a byproduct from high voltage electricity and seawater.

The most interesting aspect was when the Navy arrived and stayed for a long period. Afterwards, the craft left.

It looks like we are closer to regular space travel than the public is aware of.


Lifter Project
asymmetrical capacitor which uses High Voltage ( > 20KV ) to produce a thrust
http://jnaudin.free.fr/lifters/main.htm

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Mythsaje Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 01:15 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Yeah...the problem with ion drives is they take a long time
to warm up and get to speed.

There are a LOT of things going on behind the scenes, though. I really believe that.
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newyawker99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 04:04 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. Hi ntesla!!
Welcome to DU!! :toast:
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walldude Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 04:10 PM
Response to Reply #2
12. I agree, and if we spent more time trying to improve
mankind than we do trying to blow it up we'd be in space in the next 20 years. Other nations are taking up the torch that the US used to carry as far as advances in technology. Seems like any recent developments in useful technology have come as a by product of weapons research.
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Orsino Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 06:30 PM
Response to Reply #2
17. It may not matter...
...if they're ultimately creating their antimatter from the burning of coal and oil. Antimatter will not be a source of power, after all--just a means of storing it and releasing it suddenly.
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TechBear_Seattle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 10:50 AM
Response to Original message
3. What happened to the neutron bomb?
... a so-called "clean" superbomb that could kill large numbers of soldiers without ejecting radioactive contaminants over the countryside. Wasn't this the "promise" of the neutron bomb?
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Spearman87 Donating Member (252 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 04:35 PM
Response to Reply #3
13. We could still make those, but I guess bigger is better.
If we could ever produce and store significant quantities of anti-matter, we could create bombs of unfathomable explosive yield. I think even our most powerful hydrogen bombs convert only a small fraction of the matter (plutonium) to energy, whereas when anti-matter and matter anhihilate one another there is a 100% conversion of matter into energy.

Let's hope it's only ever used to power spacecraft.
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lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 11:00 AM
Response to Original message
5. Irony. Mass irony.
We need antimatter weapons to blow all those bad guys to hell (without destroying their stuff), but we also need it to build rockets to export our benevolent nature to the universe.
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LSK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 11:01 AM
Response to Original message
6. MORE FUCKING WASTE
Still playing war games like theres some great enemy out there. The cold war is fucking over already!!!
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AnnieBW Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 05:19 PM
Response to Original message
14. Dilithium Crystals
Now all we need are some dilithium crystals, and we'll have ourselves a warp drive!
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baby_mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 05:42 PM
Response to Original message
15. Erm....

So...

We have to research antimatter weapons so as to lead to advanced propulsion systems to escape the Earth because it's going to be amazingly dangerous through being perpetually bombarded with antimatter weapons.

I see.

Some of these people (whom one might hope would understand such things) have some very peculiar ideas about very simple logical concepts like cause and effect.

:-(

How disappointing.

What a disappointing species we really are.

Sometimes I think that twits like these people are subconsciously clinging onto the disappointment with all their might simply to avoid the fear of contronting it openly and rejecting it.

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hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 06:23 PM
Response to Original message
16. It's really time to get rid of the Air Force.
Retire all the hot dog moonbeamers, and transfer whoever's left into the Army or Navy, preferably assigned to tasks that will keep them out of trouble.
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daleo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 06:55 PM
Response to Original message
18. The air force is working on anti-matter superbombs
But they also want anti-matter to escape the earth "before we destroy it". They could give irony lessons.
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