Jan 21, 2020

We Might Actually Be Able To Make Star Trek’s Photon Torpedoes

Posted by in categories: materials, military

Circa 2016

A team from the University of Leicester have examined the likely materials that would go into building Star Trek’s photon torpedoes, and they find that it might just be possible to create the tech.


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  1. Rich Vail says:

    I hope so. Invent the weapons, then they’ll finally invent the tech/vessels to put them on. OTH, having the ability to defend our solar system is rather important. Especially seeing that it’s the only one we have at the moment.

  2. MrSatyre says:

    Anti-matter/matter annihilation? Why not just nukes? Far more stable and far less costly.

  3. Thomas Dahlgren says:

    ” Why not just nukes? Far more stable and far less costly.”

    From the article:

    “Possible candidates could be lead and uranium with proton numbers of 82 and 92″

    Uranium with 92 protons is also know as Uranium 238, which is transmuted to plutonium 239 (fissile) by adding a proton, or can itself be made fissile by fast neutrons.

    My subatomic physics is a tad bit weak. So, I can’t say for sure whether one considers this a nuke or not, but either way it is still ending in a massive energy and gamma ray release.

  4. Podpolia says:

    All isotopes of uranium have 92 protons — U238 is the most common of those, but not the only one. It sounds like they’re using a different process to create the antimatter than is used in a nuclear weapon, however, and it’s unlikely to be as efficient. Besides, the Star Trek technology seems to be based on stored antimatter, rather than creating it with other technology when needed. Interesting way to approach the topic, but doesn’t live up to its own hype.

  5. Boobah says:

    It’s worth pointing out that they’re only talking about the warhead, not the delivery system.

    Antimatter reactions are nuclear reactions; it’s a different radiation mix and leftover radioactives than fusion or fission, but it’s still breaking atoms liberating lots of energy.