In the January/February Issue of Science Illustrated there interesting articles on pgs. 36 and 37.
The first speaks of an antimatter based engine. I first read about this in the June 1999 issue of Popular Science.
So I will assume advances in some areas have been made. Allthough it seems funding has dried up for the
time being from the current economic conditions. This sounds like a great idea if it will work and is definately
better than standard rockets. Less weight in fuel would be they could take more equipment to Mars for a colonization mission.
Or an outter planet moon like Europa and see what's there.
Allthough my question is that if someone actually tried to use an antimatter engine, wouldn't it blow up the ship and
everything in the imediate vicinity? A matter/antimatter explosion iirc releases the most energy know to science.
The second talks about using gamma rays to create a black hole and use it to propel the craft. That's right ladies and gentlemen a black hole.
It would work in a three step process. (Quoted from issue)
1. A billion-ton laser sends out a pulse of gamma rays, causing the rays to collapse and create an artificial black hole.
2. A million-ton ship captures the black hole.
3. The black hole emits Hawking radiation, propelling the ship.
If they could get this to work then this would be another great idea and a step up from rockets. The calculations have been done
and it's theoretically possible. However Mathematician Louis Crane (who did the calculations) says it would take hundreds
or thousands of years to do. So this would obviously be a long term project.
Also I have concerns over this method. I remember them using something similar in a movie sometime ago and it not working out well for the crew.
Plus shackling a black hole to your ship sounds like it could suck.