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Guest: Dr. Gerald Jackson; topics: Antimatter propulsion and advanced physics, other forms of advanced propulsion, antimatter storage and related issues plus more.
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We welcomed Dr. Gerald Jackson to the show to discuss his work on antimatter propulsion, antimatter physics, alternative propulsion including fusion and more. We started our one segment 100 minute discussion by asking Dr. Jackson to introduce us to the basics of antimatter physics, how to achieve antimatter propulsion and what that would mean for all types of spaceflight, including human spaceflight. Dr. Jackson was very thorough in his discussion which did involve substantial physics terminology, particle physics, and related concepts and theories. Our guest did a superb job in explaining everything to us but be prepared for an intense physics oriented discussion. Rather than attempting to take you step by step through the discussion, note that Dr. Jackson explained matter and antimatter, talked about positive and negative protons, antimatter storage challenges along with challenges associated with antimatter production. In addition, he talked about newer and smaller accelerators that could make antimatter as compared to what used to be required to do it at the Fermi Lab.
Dr. Jackson added reality to the physics discussion by describing what an antimatter voyage to Proxima B would look like at approximately 10% the speed of light. First, note how he said that speed might vary down to about 2.5% the speed of light. Listen for his explanation about that. When it was pointed out to him that Breakthrough Starshot was talking about 20-25% the speed of light, listen to what he said would happen as one attempted to approach that speed. Later, Dr. Jurist sent in a note which as you will hear from Dr. Jackson, would entertain such a curvature of the trajectory due to radiation issues associated with the higher speed that the probe would not even know where it was headed thus likely missing the target by a huge distance. Both Dr. Jurist and Dr. Jackson (this was a Jurist email, not a phone call), talked about "the additional radiation exposure coming from colliding with assorted charged particles and bremsstrahlung as the particles are swept up by the spacecraft." When this discussion comes up near the end of the program, don't miss it.
Other topics besides antimatter protons, storage, physics and propulsion that came up included using antimatter for weapons or a bomb. Our guest was asked about the idea that if matter and antimatter collided, annihilation of everything would take place as is commonly discussed in science fiction. He said there could be no antimatter bomb or weapon but listen to what he had to say about this. He also said the annihilation took place at the particle level, not the planet level. Any comments out there? Post them on the blog, please.
At one point during the discussion, I asked Gerry how his peers and he knew the type of information plus how did they get the knowledge and expertise that he was sharing with us about this advanced physics. While his answer mostly focused on his own interests and background since childhood, he did answer the question. Let us know what you think about what he said regarding this set of questions I asked our guest. The bank of knowledge one must have to be creating antimatter propulsion or anything like that must be extremely deep and complicated. As I said, I doubt much of it is in text books and I doubt there is a manual showing him and other what to do on a step by step basis.
We had several callers and lots of email questions. One important issue discussed was the funding of this type of research. As we moved closer to the end of the show, I asked our guest about other types of advanced propulsion beyond fission, fusion and antimatter. I asked about EmDrive, Mach Thrusters, our guest brought up warp drive and more. Listen to what he had to say about these propulsion theories and ideas. An email listener then asked him for his insight on Tic Tac. Once again, he answered in a more general way but pay attention to what he had to say about things based on unknown physics or the physics, science and engineering of today as his comments might surprise you. Hint: Known physics is probably not everything.
We covered much more during our show that what is contained in this summary. I believe this to be one of the top 2019 Space Show programs if not the top program. What do you think? I urge you to listen to all 100 minutes as this summary does not do the program or the guest justice. By the way, for fun he told us about exposing the trick used by Uri Geller in bending a spoon with his mind. He then told us how he reviewed an applicant's work for the Nobel in Physics and discovered an error that disqualified him for the award. Dr. Jackson gave us many such jewels like that for our discussion and for going forward with alternative propulsion theories, concepts and projects.
Please post your comments/questions for Dr. Jackson on our blog for this show. You can reach Dr. Jackson through his website, http://www.hbartech.com/about_us.html, The Space Show blog or me.