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Antimatter rocket

An antimatter rocket is a proposed type of rocket that uses antimatter as its power source. There are a number of possible designs. In one, antimatter would be injected into a target of normal matter and the resulting reaction products (mostly charged particles) would be vented through a magnetic nozzle, providing thrust. A more conventional approach would be to inject the antimatter into a tungsten block, producing heat, which could then be used to either directly heat a propellant (similar to how a nuclear thermal rocket operates), or generate electricity to run some other propulsion mechanism. Finally, a photon rocket involves heating up such a tungsten block or other material so it indandesces could be used - a curved mirror would then be used to reflect the photons backwards and thus accelerate the spacecraft forwards.

The chief difficulty is obtaining the antimatter, and to a lesser extent storing it. A few atoms of antihydrogen have been produced using particle accelerators, but this method is too expensive to be practical at this time.

See also: spacecraft propulsion



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