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Old May 22nd, 2020, 06:41 AM
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Default Antimatter

The latest episode of Isaac Arthur's youtube channel is all about antimatter factories:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeJI3LUJzlA

Now the thing about most of his stuff is that it does not break the laws of physics and engineering as we know them today, so most of this stuff is potentially doable given sufficient resources, time, political will or dire necessity.

Now add Traveller gravitics to the mix - a cheap way of getting stuff into space and moving around the system thus making some of Isaacs more fanciful predictions much more 'possible'.

So what if Traveller ships and major power facilities are based on antimatter/matter reactors or antimatter catalysed fusion? What if industrial systems build huge solar arrays close to stars and produce antimatter as an energy storage medium or fuel if you want to call it that.

I'm going to develop such a setting.
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Old May 22nd, 2020, 08:22 AM
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Apart from some industrial infrastructure in the background, it would have much the same effect as just removing fuel requirements from ships and vehicles?
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Old May 22nd, 2020, 03:14 PM
shaunhilburn shaunhilburn is offline
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Fine, as long as its only for some special purpose; e.g. propulsion or weaponry as it is extremey costly to manufacture.


Antimatter has to be created and takes fantastic amounts of energy to create tiny amounts (mc˛), just as small amounts of matter or antimatter can unleash colossal amounts of energy.

Unless you can harvest it from some source, it has to be manufactured at great cost. Thus, it can never be used to power a civilization.
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Old May 22nd, 2020, 05:51 PM
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You haven't watched the video have you?

Once you have a space based industry making solar panels for peanuts the cost of your antimatter factory drops.
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Old May 22nd, 2020, 06:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike wightman View Post
You haven't watched the video have you?

Once you have a space based industry making solar panels for peanuts the cost of your antimatter factory drops.
The solar factories powering the antimatter farm? Why not use them to power society instead. Using their energy to make antimatter for powerplants would be ridiculously wasteful.

Yes, I did watch the video. He admits around 21:40 that it would likely never be practical as a general-purpose energy source. It's could be economical if an antimatter resource could be found and harvested.

The whole antimatter trope only makes sense for specific must-have applications where nothing else will do (weapons, propulsion).
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Old May 22nd, 2020, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by shaunhilburn View Post
The solar factories powering the antimatter farm? Why not use them to power society instead. Using their energy to make antimatter for powerplants would be ridiculously wasteful. ...
True, but sometimes you want the energy in places where solar isn't viable. The deep space research vessel Oort Explorer wants a nice, dense power source that will deliver way out where it's going to be working.
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Comments made are for the purpose of offering alternative campaign settings for consideration. The writer acknowledges that Traveller is intended to emulate certain common science fiction tropes and that, in the course of emulating those tropes and providing a better playing experience, some liberties must be taken with science. No statement by the writer should be interpreted as constituting a criticism of the game on that basis ... except for that bit about Virus. Dude, really?!
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Old May 22nd, 2020, 07:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlobrand View Post
True, but sometimes you want the energy in places where solar isn't viable. The deep space research vessel Oort Explorer wants a nice, dense power source that will deliver way out where it's going to be working.

A perfect example of specialty application where there is no better substitute; it's "must-have" and mission critical, so the extra cost is worth it.
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Old May 23rd, 2020, 12:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shaunhilburn View Post
A perfect example of specialty application where there is no better substitute; it's "must-have" and mission critical, so the extra cost is worth it.
Just about ANY ship is going to want antimatter, even when it's deep in system. Nothing gives more ΔV per gram; light might be able to tie it, if you can make a near perfect light storage bottle.

Go, watch the video. Isaac's videos are all very well grounded in physics - it's what his degrees are in.
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Old May 23rd, 2020, 02:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aramis View Post
Just about ANY ship is going to want antimatter, even when it's deep in system. Nothing gives more ΔV per gram.
The thing is, EVERY ship is going to want it, and it's quite literally a game-changer. It breaks so many aspects of Traveller. Refueling is a major point and antimatter is practically unlimited fuel, so no more refuelling. No need for a High Guard during gas giant refueling or SDBs to defend the refueling points. A type A trader can go anywhere with multiple Jump-1 and no fuel constraints. No more "mains". Crossing the Great Rift - no problem. The Zhos and Vargs can strike anywhere.

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Go, watch the video. Isaac's videos are all very well grounded in physics - it's what his degrees are in.
I've followed his YouTube channel for a few years now. I saw this video as well.
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Old May 23rd, 2020, 03:50 AM
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Originally Posted by shaunhilburn View Post
The solar factories powering the antimatter farm? Why not use them to power society instead. Using their energy to make antimatter for powerplants would be ridiculously wasteful.
Because you need a way to store the energy the solar power station is collecting - think of the antimatter as a manufactured fuel, an energy store.

The vast majority of a star's energy is going to waste, only a tiny percentage makes planetfall, so using even a tiny fraction of the star's wasted energy in an inefficient process to harvest antimatter to power your ships and antimatter catalysed fusion reactors is still a worthwhile endeavour.

Quote:
The whole antimatter trope only makes sense for specific must-have applications where nothing else will do (weapons, propulsion).
Such as the need for a concentrated source of terrawatts of energy in a starship?
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