Want to stay on top of all the space news? Follow @universetoday on TwitterAnti matter is the concept that anti particles exist in a mirror of particles that make up normal matter. Since electrons have a negative charge and protons have a positive charge, it only seems obvious that antielectrons should be positively charged and antiprotons should hold a negative charge. Based on that, antiwater could be formed from two antihydrogen molecules forming with an antioxygen molecule. Each process that forms normal matter can conceivably form in the antimatter world. The mixing of matter and antimatter would lead to the elimination of both in the same way that mixing antiparticles and particles does, thus giving rise to high-energy gamma rays or other particle/antiparticle pairs.
Many scientists wonder why the observable universe is almost entirely made up of matter and then they ponder the possibility that there are places made up of anti matter. The logical extension of that thought process is how to harness antimatter and what would happen if some one did. At this time the apparent asymmetry of matter and antimatter in the visible universe is one of the greatest unsolved problems in physics. The process by which this asymmetry between particles and antiparticles developed is called baryogenesis. That is a long word for the process that caused the asymmetry between baryons and antibaryons in the very early beginnings of the universe. This process left behind the large amounts of residual matter that constitutes the universe today.
Antimatter has tremendous energy potential. A solar flare in July 2002 created about a half a kilo of antimatter, according to new NASA-led research. That’s enough to power the United States for two days. Laboratory particle accelerators can produce high-energy antimatter particles, but only in tiny quantities. Something on the order of a billionth of a gram or less is produced every year.
Sci-fi writers long ago devised schemes using antimatter to power space travelers beyond light-speed. Antimatter didn’t get a bad name, but it came to be thought of as a purely fictional concept. Given some remarkable physics breakthrough, antimatter could in theory power a spacecraft, but NASA researchers say it’s nothing that will happen in the near future.
Antimatter has proved useful for medical purposes. The fleeting particles of antimatter can be created by the decay of radioactive material, which can be injected into a patient in order to perform Positron Emission Tomography, or PET scan of the brain. Here’s what happens: A positron that’s produced by decay almost immediately finds an electron and annihilates into two gamma rays. These gamma rays move in opposite directions, and by recording several of their origin points an image is produced.
Antimatter may not be able to power us from star to star yet, but it may someday. Try researching antimatter further by visiting here and here. If you want a reason why there is more matter than antimatter, we have the answer here on Universe Today. Astronomy Cast offers a good episode about another of physics great mysteries: quantum entanglement.