In 1954, Winterberg made the first proposal to test general relativity with atomic clocks in earth satellites and his thermonuclear microexplosion ignition concept was adopted by the British Interplanetary Society for their Project Daedalus Starship Study.
Edward Teller has been quoted as saying Winterberg has perhaps not received the attention he deserves on his work in nuclear fusion.
The first rocket scientist to propose an engineering solution to how light might be directly harnessed to rocket propulsion, rather than just pushing solar-sails, was Eugen Sänger. Sänger’s discussion of photon rockets showed clearly how difficult it would be – every newton of thrust would require 300 megawatts of photon energy released. Any vehicle generating photons by conventional means would be confined to painfully low accelerations, thus Sänger proposed using matter-antimatter reactions, specifically the mutual annihilation of electrons and positrons, with the resulting gamma-rays (each 0.511 MeV) being reflected by an electron-gas. Unfortunately the electron-gas mirror would need a ridiculously high density, seen only in white-dwarf stars.
The next stage for the matter-antimatter photon rocket saw the work of Robert Forward and more recently Robert Frisbee, who applied more modern knowledge of particle physics to the task. Instead of instant and total annihilation of proton-antiproton mixtures, resulting in an explosion of pure high-energy gamma-rays in all directions, the reactions instead produce for a brief time charged fragments of protons, dubbed pions, which can be directed via a magnetic field. Simulations by John Callas at JPL, in the late 1980s suggested an effective exhaust velocity of about one third the speed of light could be achieved.
Friedwardt Winterberg’s recent preprint suggests a different concept, with the promise of near total annihilation and near perfect collimation of a pure gamma-ray exhaust.
Winterberg describes generating a very high electron-positron current in the ambiplasma, while leaving the protons-antiprotons with a low energy. This high current generates a magnetic field that constricts rapidly, a so-called pinch discharge, but because it is a matter-antimatter mix it can collapse to a much denser state. Near nuclear densities can be achieved, assuming near-term technical advancements to currents of 170 kA and electron-positron energies of 1 GeV. This causes intensely rapid annihilation that crowds the annihilating particles into one particular reaction pathway, directly into gamma-rays, pushing them to form a gamma-ray laser. By constricting the annihilating particles into this state a very coherent and directional beam of gamma-rays is produced, the back-reaction of which pushes against the annihilation chamber’s magnetic fields, providing thrust.
* the proposed solution would not only enable an efficient antimatter rocket propulsion but also a high powered gamma ray laser
* The proposal is also to create an ultra dense deuterium state (deuteron quantum liquid) using nuclear microexplosions to create a material with a 100,000 tesla field and normal temperature superconductors with a critical field of 10^9 Gauss, ideally suited for the storage of antihydrogen
* Winterberg is working with the Bae Institute on Metastable innershell molecular state (MIMS). MIMS exists in matters compressed “suddenly” at pressures in excess of one hundred million atmospheres. This work continues to be funded and there is experimental evidence to support Winterbergs theories.
It is shown that the idea of a photon rocket through the complete annihilation of matter with antimatter, first proposed by Sänger, is not a utopian scheme as it is widely believed. Its feasibility appears to be possible by the radiative collapse of a relativistic high current pinch discharge in a hydrogen-antihydrogen ambiplasma down to a radius determined by Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. Through this collapse to ultrahigh densities the proton-antiproton pairs in the center of the pinch can become the upper GeV laser level for the transition into a coherent gamma ray beam by proton-antiproton annihilation, with the magnetic field of the collapsed pinch discharge absorbing the recoil momentum of the beam and transmitting it to the spacecraft. The gamma ray laser beam is launched as a photon avalanche from one end of the pinch discharge channel.
The three basic technical problems are: the rocket engine itself, the production of the large needed quantities of antimatter, and lastly, how to store the antimatter.
The production of antimatter, even in the huge quantities needed, can be done on the earth, or another planetary body, with all the resources such a body has. And the same can be said about the storage of the antimatter, preferably suspended in strong magnetic fields. To store large amounts of antimatter in a spacecraft, even in a very large spacecraft, is much more difficult, unless the spacecraft has a dimension of a planet, even of a small planet, something which belongs in the realm of scientific fiction. But storing large amounts of antimatter in a spacecraft not as large as a small planet, would become possible if there exists a state of matter a million times more dense than liquid hydrogen. There is experimental evidence that such a state might exist for deuterium, with a possible explanation of such a state that it is made up by a lattice of deuterium linear vortex atom molecules. Such a state, of course, would by itself be of great interest for nuclear rocket propulsion by deuterium thermonuclear micro-explosions which at these densities could be easily ignited with lasers of modest energy. But because a million-fold increase in the density, would also imply, a 10^4 times increase for the maximum field of a superconductor, and a 100 times increase in the critical magnetic field and melting point. Such a substance, if it exists, could be used for normal temperature superconductors with a critical field of 10^9 Gauss, ideally suited for the storage of antihydrogen.
Over the last decade researchers at the University of Gothenburg, led by Leif Holmlid, have been studying exotic states of deuterium. In the past two years they have reported an ultra-dense state, which has also been independently computed to form inside low-mass brown-dwarf stars. This exotic quantum liquid is one million times denser than liquid deuterium and apparently a superconducting superfluid at room-temperature. Only minute amounts have been made and studied so far, but such a material could be able to sustain intense magnetic fields, up to 100,000 tesla. If it can be manufactured in large amounts, and is stable in intense magnetic fields, then the problem of magnetic confinement of anti-hydrogen at friendlier temperatures becomes more tractable.
Winterberg had many other big idea proposals
Winterberg is working with the Bae Institute on Metastable innershell molecular state (MIMS). MIMS is also the basis of the conjectured super non-nuclear explosive. The Bae institute indicates that they have experimentally confirmed MIMS. Winterbergs theory is that MIMS can make superexplosives along with high x-ray production as the work with the Bae institute is showing. Metastable Innershell Molecular State (MIMS) is a new high energy density matter quantum state. MIMS exists in matters compressed “suddenly” at pressures in excess of one hundred million atmospheres.
April 24, 2011, DTRA (Defense Threat Reduction Agency) awarded Option Year I contract to Y.K. Bae Corp. to continue and expand its success in investigating super-intense x-ray generation with MIMS (Metastable Innershell Molecular State). MIMS was originally discovered by Dr. Bae and his colleagues at the Brookhaven National Lab in 1993. MIMS is a high-energy transient quantum state formed by innershell electrons during extremely high-pressure (over 100 million atmospheric pressure) compression of matter to form Warm Dense Matter (WDM)
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.