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August 04, 2011

Confirmation of geomagnetically trapped antiprotons which can be trapped with superconductors enable antimatter enabled space applications

The antiproton belt is around the inner radiation belt

Arxiv - The discovery of geomagnetically trapped cosmic ray antiprotons (10 pages)

The existence of a significant flux of antiprotons confined to Earth’s magnetosphere has been considered in several theoretical works. These antiparticles are produced in nuclear interactions of energetic cosmic rays with the terrestrial atmosphere and accumulate in the geomagnetic field at altitudes of several hundred kilometers. A contribution from the decay of albedo antineutrons has been hypothesized in analogy to proton production by neutron decay, which constitutes the main source of trapped protons at energies above some tens of MeV. This Letter reports the discovery of an antiproton radiation belt around the Earth. The trapped antiproton energy spectrum in the South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA) region has been measured by the PAMELA experiment for the kinetic energy range 60–750 MeV. A measurement of the atmospheric sub-cutoff antiproton spectrum outside the radiation belts is also reported. PAMELA data show that the magnetospheric antiproton flux in the SAA exceeds the cosmic-ray antiproton flux by three orders of magnitude at the present solar minimum, and exceeds the subcutoff antiproton flux outside radiation belts by four orders of magnitude, constituting the most abundant source of antiprotons near the Earth.

Extraction of Antiparticles Concentrated in Planetary Magnetic Fields (120 pages) by James Bickford

100 nanograms of antiprotons can be used to catalyze sub-critical nuclear reactions and drive a one metric ton payload to 100 km/sec. This capability would enable the first precursor interstellar missions. In comparison, if traditional chemical propellants were used for the same task, nearly 10^9 metric tons of hydrogen and oxygen would have to be launched into space. This would take 500,000 years by launching 20 tons everyday.


The satellite confirms and provides more precise measurement of the antiprotons around the earth. Superconductors can be further developed to make antiproton traps in orbit.


Nuclear fusion or any larger power source that can be put into space combined with superconductors will enable antimatter production that can be 100,000 to one million times more effient in terms of cost than earth based systems.

* A $50-100 million system with 200 KW of power using current (or conservatively within four year technology) could produce several micrograms of antimatter each year.

*A one gigawatt power system inside of an earth orbiting superconducting traps could produce 95 milligrams of antimatter per year. Antimatter could be used to enable super high performance space ships.

The baseline concept calls for using conventional high temperature superconductors to form two pairs of RF coils that have a radius of 100 m and weigh just 7000 kg combined. A 5000 kg nuclear or solar power system provides the 200 kW required to operate systems and compensate for dissipative losses in the plasma. The magnetic field induced by plasma motion driven by the RF coils is used to first concentrate the incoming antiprotons and then to trap them. Based on the Earth antiproton flux, the system would be capable of collecting 25 nanograms per day and storing up to 110 nanograms of it in the central region between the coils. The system is more than five orders of magnitude more cost effective than Earth based antiproton sources for space-based applications.

The system could collect antimatter at the rate of 8.6 micrograms per year. It only stores 110 nanograms so the stored antimatter would need to be shifted every few days to more permanent storage.

Antimatter could be used to replace the fission trigger in fusion bombs (fission/fusion Teller Ulam bombs). No fission means almost no fallout. This means project Orion pulse propulsion with almost no fallout.

One microgram of antihydrogen would be theoretically by enough to be the trigger for one kiloton antihydrogen bombs. By not having a nuclear fission trigger the amount of fallout is massively reduced. These would be about the size needed for pulse units for project orion style nuclear pulsed propulsion. Each one of the plasma magnet antimatter traps would be able to produce the antimatter for about 8 antihydrogen bombs per year.

Technologies in order of importance

• Compact mass spectrometer placed in highly eccentric orbit. In situ measurements of antimatter fluxes in the Earth’s radiation belt and around the Jovian planets have not been made. The models developed as part of this program should be verified by direct experimental evidence before significant resources are committed to implementing a full system. Current orbital missions do not have the spatial and/or property coverage to characterize the relevant environment. A compact mass spectrometer capable of differentiating protons, antiprotons, electrons, and positrons should be developed and flown in a highly eccentric orbit with an apogee of at least six Earth radii (6 RE) to completely characterize the antiproton and positron environment. Such a system will also contribute greatly to radiation belt knowledge and the interaction between the magnetosphere and the Sun.

• Large-scale demonstration of a plasma magnet. The technology is a critical path item that appears to provide the only mass-efficient system capable of collecting significant quantities of antiprotons. The RF generation equipment and its integration with large-scale coils in the space environment need to be demonstrated.

• Low mass, high strength, long strand, ultra-high current loops. Though the plasma magnet significantly reduces the need for high current wires, RF coils would still benefit from higher current densities. High temperature superconductors with current densities much greater than 10^10 A/m2 at 90K will enable far more compact and mass-efficient systems.

• Radiation tolerant in-orbit power source. The particle collection system is required to operate in a high radiation environment. Though the magnetic field will shield the system from much of the incoming flux, a radiation tolerant power source is necessary to generate the initial current before the field is fully established. The intrinsic energy contained in the field dictates that a high power source be available in order to charge the system in a reasonable time. A space-qualified nuclear reactor with a power output of at least 100 kWe is desirable.

• Antiproton catalyzed fission/fusion engine. Nanograms to micrograms of antiprotons do not have enough intrinsic energy to propel a spacecraft to high velocities when exclusively using the annihilation products. Instead, most concepts rely on using antiprotons to induce fission reactions. The antiprotons catalyze nuclear reactions in sub-critical fissile material to propel the vehicle by leveraging the nuclear material in a safe and controllable manner.

• Passive cooling systems. Reduced-mass multi-layer thermal blankets for passive temperature control of large structures will improve the overall mass efficiency and reduce requirements on the high temperature superconductors wires used.

• Affordable lift. Reducing the cost to orbit with new affordable heavy lift options, though not strictly required, will improve overall feasibility.


The 'base design' consisted of a 4000 ton model planned for ground launch from Jackass Flats, Nevada. Each 0.15 kt of TNT (600 MJ) (sea-level yield) blast would add 30 mph (50 km/h, 13 m/s) to the craft's velocity. A graphite based oil would be sprayed on the pusher plate before each explosion to prevent ablation of the surface. To reach low Earth orbit (300 mi), this sequence would have to be repeated about 800 times, like an atomic pogo stick.

Most of the three tons of each of the "super" Orion's propulsion units would be inert material such as polyethylene, or boron salts, used to transmit the force of the propulsion unit's detonation to the Orion's pusher plate, and absorb neutrons to minimize fallout.


Very Low Fallout Antihydrogen Bombs for Revamped Project Orion

One microgram of antihydrogen would be theoretically by enough to be the trigger for one kiloton antihydrogen bombs. By not having a nuclear fission trigger the amount of fallout is massively reduced. These would be about the size needed for pulse units for project orion style nuclear pulsed propulsion. Each one of the plasma magnet antimatter traps would be able to produce the antimatter for about 8 antihydrogen bombs per year.

On March 24, 2004, Eglin Air Force Base Munitions Directorate official Kenneth Edwards spoke at the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts. During the speech, Edwards ostensibly emphasized a potential property of positron weaponry, a type of antimatter weaponry: Unlike thermonuclear weaponry, positron weaponry would leave behind "no nuclear residue", such as the nuclear fallout generated by the nuclear fission reactions which power nuclear weapons.




Superconducting wire is getting a lot cheaper, higher performance and higher volumes

Superconducting wire production is rapidly increasing and the price is rapidly falling

Although the cost of superconducting wire has dropped significantly in recent years, Superpower Inc plans to reduce prices by another 300 percent to be competitive for grid-scale energy-storage applications.



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