We've been writing stories about using hydrogen fuel in order to get past the oil shortage and avoid the pollution that comes with burning fossil fuels. But hydrogen is only the start?what we REALLY need is to run our engines with antimatter! But almost every fuel has its downside, and antimatter is no exception.
Bill Steigerwald reports from NASA that space scientists are counting on antimatter fuel to power future space exploration. A piece of antimatter the size of an M&M could send a spacecraft to Mars. But antimatter reactions produce blasts of gamma rays, which are super strong X-rays that are unhealthy to be around, because they can cause cancer. Breathing in car exhaust fumes is bad enough for us?exposure to cars giving off gamma rays would be lethal.
Antimatter is the mirror image of ordinary matter because some of its properties properties are reversed (an example of this in food is the sugar substitute Splenda). For instance, normal electrons have a negative electric charge, while antimatter electrons have a positive charge (which is why they're called positrons). Antimatter produces energy by meeting up with matter of the same kind.
Art credit: freeimages.co.uk
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