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Message to the Site - Amat Info Question
Hello all,

Recently, the OAUP received a communication via the Contact Us feature. Please see the question and my response below. As indicated in my response, if anyone has any additional suggestions for resources this person might use, please post them here and I'll forward on. Thanks!

Hi There,

I'm contacting you in response to your recent message to Orion's Arm:

Type: General Comment
Message: Dear OA team,For my A-levels, I am writing a paper about rocketry based on nuclear reactions. I have found on your site about antimatter propulsion some really useful information before noticing that your content is partly fictional. Could you maybe tell me if the parts Solid Core, Gas Core and Plasma Core are fiction or based on reliable information? If the latter is the case, I would be very grateful if you could give me some of your sources.Thanks in advance,Luxa Rhodan

The Solid Core, Gas Core, Plasma Core (and also Beam Core and Photon Drive) antimatter rockets are all real life examples of design proposals for future antimatter rockets. The mention of a Q-mirror based antimatter drive is also based on real life theoretical physics but is much more speculative.

We certainly do try to based the article on antimatter rockets on reliable information, but it is admittedly an amateur effort and we are writing from the perspective of a far future fictional setting. That said, here are both the real life sources that we draw on for this kind of thing, as well as links to some additional sources that I hope you will find helpful. In no particular order:

Wikipedia page on Antimatter Rockets (includes a summary description of each type of rocket and a very link and PDF rich list of references at the end - for articles that don't have links or have broken links, you might check with a good public or university library and they might have bound copies or have a way to get copies for you).

The Atomic Rockets website, which basically collects a huge amount of information about both fictional and real life rocket designs and discusses them in some depth, often with links to related scientific papers and resources for the real ones. It can be a bit challenging to navigate through to find specific topics, so here are also a couple of links to their page on antimatter propulsion and a very long list of different types of propulsion systems, including various types of antimatter drives:

Antimatter Fuel

Engine List

Additional Items - These aren't directly about the specific drives you mentioned, but might provide some additional useful information and/or give you some reference points when searching through the pages listed above:

Paper on Beam Core antimatter propulsion from - a physics paper pre-print site.

Web page on Antimatter Rockets - links at the end are broken, but it refers to several real life drive proposals that you can find more info about either on the Atomic Rockets pages or via Google.

Page on the Orion's Arm website about antimatter mining - this includes a link to a real life paper on the topic and this type of system is also mentioned on the Atomic Rockets page.

I'm also going to pass on your question and my response to our member forum. We have members from many different backgrounds and there may be other good references that I'm not aware of that some folks might suggest. If they do, I'll pass them back to you in another message. I can't guarantee anything on this score, but will see what shakes out.

On a related note, if you'd like to join the OA forum and take part in the ongoing conversations about the OA setting (which can include antimatter rockets, obviously), please feel free. We're a pretty friendly bunch and are always ready to welcome new membersSmile

Hope this helps, and best of luck with your A-levels,


Editor - Orion's Arm Universe Project
I think I ought to mention that antimatter annihilation is not strictly a nuclear reaction, and as this is a school project it's probably necessary to make the distinction.

As for solid, gas and plasma cores - well, at least one of these have been built and there is strong speculation about gas core reactors, with some rough designs already out there. For solid-core nuclear rockets, look up NERVA.

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