5 Astonishing Facts That You Might Not Know About Antimatter
Do you think that antimatter is something to do with science fiction? But in recent times, it has turned into a matter of reality. Antimatter is similar to that of matter; except for they carry the opposite charges. When antimatter comes in contact with matter, they rapidly annihilate into enormous energy. Here are some extraordinary facts about this antimatter that you might not know:
- After the Big Bang antimatter should have annihilated all of the matter in the universe giving no opportunity for life forms.
Theories say that matter and antimatter were created in equal amounts after the Big Bang. When matter and antimatter meet up, they annihilate to produce energy, leaving nothing behind. According to this theory none of us should have existed. But fortunately we do. Some scientists claim that the reason for this matter exceeded the number of antimatter thereby leaving behind what we are now.
- Antimatter is not just created in labs; they are closer to you than you think.
The cosmic rays and other energetic particles that rain down on earth have a small amount of antimatter in it. Scientists have also seen evidences of antimatter being produced above thunderstorms. Other antimatter sources are even closer to you, like bananas that contain potassium – 40. When it decays it occasionally emits positron. Our human body also contains potassium – 40, which generally means that even we do emit antimatter particles. But these antimatters annihilate when they come in contact with matter and are short lived.
- So far humans have created only a very tiny amount of antimatter
Matter-antimatter annihilation can release a huge amount of energy. A gram of antimatter is more than enough to produce an explosion that’s as destructive as a nuclear bomb. But humans have managed to produce only a minuscule amount of this antimatter. The reason for this lies in the efficiency and the cost involved in the production of antimatter. It would cost over billions of dollars and would take more than million kilowatt-hours of energy to make 1 gram of antimatter.
- If matter falls down then practically antimatter should defy gravity and fall upwards.
Practically, matter and antimatter will have the same mass but differ in their spin and electric charge. They must behave in a way opposite to that of a matter. So if matter falls downwards, antimatter should obviously go upwards. However, this is yet to be proven. Observing antimatter’s fall is not as easy as watching an apple fall from a tree. It requires extremely difficult lab conditions, which is beyond human reach for now.
- You can actually fuel spacecrafts using antimatter and travel faster than light in the near future.
Just a handful of antimatter is capable of producing enormous energy that can be used to fuel futuristic spacecrafts. Though this is hypothetically possible, the major limitation lies in producing enough antimatter to make this happen. Currently, we don’t have the facility to mass-produce or collect such large volumes of antimatter. But this is a great thing to anticipate for the near future.
Future holds the answer to a lot of our unexplainable questions of nature. Antimatter would soon turn into a possible thing and we can expect many wonders from it.