Friday, December 29, 2006
Air Force pursuing antimatter weapons / Program was touted publicly, then came official gag order
How many more ways can we find to annihilate oueselves?
What a fun game, eh?
Air Force pursuing antimatter weapons / Program was touted publicly, then came official gag order:
"The U.S. Air Force is quietly spending millions of dollars investigating ways to use a radical power source -- antimatter, the eerie 'mirror' of ordinary matter -- in future weapons.
The most powerful potential energy source presently thought to be available to humanity, antimatter is a term normally heard in science-fiction films and TV shows, whose heroes fly 'antimatter-powered spaceships' and do battle with 'antimatter guns.'
But antimatter itself isn't fiction; it actually exists and has been intensively studied by physicists since the 1930s. In a sense, matter and antimatter are the yin and yang of reality: Every type of subatomic particle has its antimatter counterpart. But when matter and antimatter collide, they annihilate each other in an immense burst of energy.
During the Cold War, the Air Force funded numerous scientific studies of the basic physics of antimatter. With the knowledge gained, some Air Force insiders are beginning to think seriously about potential military uses -- for example, antimatter bombs small enough to hold in one's hand, and antimatter engines for 24/7 surveillance aircraft.