Antimatter is matter made with antiparticles. Antiparticles are particles with the same amount of mass and spin as ordinary particles, but antiparticles have opposite electrical charges and magnetic properties from ordinary particles. Interestingly enough, when a particle and an antiparticle meet, they annihilate each other on contact. However, this annihilation can produce a great amount of energy.
Anti-matter, also known as positrons, has been a heavily discussed topic that relatively little knowledge is known. Normal matter and anti-matter are thought to have been in balance in the very early universe, but due to an “asymmetry” the anti-matter decayed or was annihilated, and today very little anti-matter is seen. As valeriec5 mentioned, antimatter has an extremely high energy potential.
Most science fiction spaceships use antimatter as a fuel source, but it wasn’t until recently that antimatter research began receiving funding for space exploration and weapons. Both the U.S. military and N.A.S.A. are doing government-funded research on antimatter. While tons of chemical fuel are needed to propel a human mission to Mars, just tens of milligrams of antimatter will do (a milligram is about one-thousandth the weight of a piece of the original M&M candy).
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