By Mike WallPosted 09.12.2012 at 2:53 pm 7 Comments
Nuclear fusion reactions sparked by beams of antimatter could be propelling ultra-fast spaceships on long journeys before the end of the century, researchers say.
A fusion-powered spacecraft could reach Jupiter within four months, potentially opening up parts of the outer solar system to manned exploration.
The latest news from the Large Hadron Collider: scientists still cannot explain why we’re all here. In the most detailed analysis of strange beauty particles — that’s what they’re really called — physicists cannot find supersymmetric particles, which are shadow partners for every known particle in the standard model of modern physics. This could mean that they don’t exist, which would be very interesting news indeed.
You probably didn’t wake up this morning wondering what happens to the antiprotons that must be created by the collision of cosmic rays with the upper atmosphere. But if you are one of the few who loses sleep over the fact that these antiprotons should be somewhere out there but have yet to be directly detected, we are happy to report that you can rest easy: Astrophysicists have finally found them trapped in an antiproton belt around the Earth.
Japan's "T2K," one of our favorite neutrino experiments (we're keen on several), might have just cracked the mystery of why matter triumphed over antimatter after the Big Bang (they should have canceled each other out).
The wee electron has gotten its most thorough physical examination yet, and scientists report that it is almost, almosta perfect sphere. Researchers at Imperial College London have determined the electron is just 0.000000000000000000000000001 centimeter off from being perfectly round. Put another way, if the electron was magnified to the size of the solar system, it would deviate from immaculate rotundity by a magnitude equivalent to a human hair.
Scientists working on the Antihydrogen Laser Physics Apparatus (ALPHA) at Cern’s particle physics laboratory had very exciting quarter hour recently. The team conjured and contained atoms of antihydrogen for a full 1,000 seconds--that’s nearly 17 minutes and 10,000 times longer than they were previously able to keep antimatter around before it disappeared in burst of particle-on-particle annihilations.
Friday’s space shuttle launch will be much more than the final hurrah for the shuttle Endeavour. Riding in its cargo bay is a massive and controversial physics experiment that could help answer some of the most confounding mysteries in science. With the delivery of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, the space shuttle’s penultimate mission could turn out to be one of its greatest achievements.