Intermediate nuclear materials, atomic fuels, space chemistry, vacuum technologies, fusion by magnetic binding
I keep coming back to your interests. This morning I was looking at planetary and space chemistry. Not trying to find economic opportunities, but rather just to see all the people and groups, the issues and opportunities discussed. There are books and papers and reports and studies. But they are all on paper, and few people will read them ultimately.
The universities are the usual. A few people get together and, if there are some leaders and motivators, groups form and succeed. They live on paper publicity and lots of talking and demonstrations. The books and reviews cover only a tiny portion of the subjects, and they seldom cover anything completely – because they are packages for a few students who can afford to spend years memorizing things.
USGS and Interior, NASA and the corresponding agencies in every country are constrained to only benefit the country that pays them. Some global efforts are allowed, if it makes the host country look good, or generates contracts and projects.
I am being very rough with people. But this (everyone for themselves) is the fundamental state of the Internet and global knowledge.
You said you were interested in geology, commercialization of chemistry, exploration, machine learning.
Machine learning is mostly using machines to help in searching, gathering and organizing things. We are still making humans do all the management and effort and the machines are no smarter, nor allowed to work on their own, than a hammer, or pre-programmed and highly restricted welding robot.
You could, with the same effort you are spending for your company, gather and organize, share and build a global community (solar system wide community in a few decades) that has all knowledge needed for solar system colonization. That included industrial chemistry and solar system trade. There are about 25,000 universities and colleges. And many more high schools and middle schools, private and trade schools. Most every first time learner on the planet will get exposed to chemistry, geology, space science, and solar system colonization activities – exploration, mapping, detection, testing, and eventually sampling, testing, processing, and trade.
When I was in the 8th grade, my Dad took a job at Cape Canaveral. So my first year in high school was at a school where most of the professors had advanced degrees and interests in space, engineering, mathematics and sciences. John Kennedy announced going to the moon on 12 Sep 1962. And I was caught up in that frenzy to learn, to explore and to go into space. I heard and saw the rockets often. In my first year, 9th grade, I was allowed to take algebra and chemistry. I was in the same chemistry class as my older sister (a junior that year) and I learned about quantum chemistry and quantitative modeling of chemical reactions. Because I saw the huge rockets and knew what fuels they used, I looked into the possibility of high energy density fuels. I knew that incremental changes would not be economic. I looked into nuclear fuels, and the industry was so terrible and burdened with war time uses, that I felt it would probably not allow anyone to try to use atomic energy in my life time. But I conceived of what I called “intermediate nuclear materials” with bonds “intermediate” between the ten electron volts per bond of chemical reactions, and the 2 million electron volts of “nuclear” bonds. In that “intermediate” range are all the 10 eV to 1000 keV bonds of the beta, electron capture, neutron and other “weak interactions”. It is not weak at all, just not the MeV and GeV that everyone got swept into at that time. Bigger and bigger dominated all the thinking, funding and efforts. What I now call “atomic chemistry” for reactions from 10 eV to 10 MeV for the most part was left as an after thought. But now most of the plasma chemistry and fusion chemistry, solar chemistry and space chemistry is in that intermediate range. Otherwise, there is a long standing gap in that region. Much effort, but no synthesis or overall organization. And certainly no industrial processes and “atomic fuels”.
My goal for “atomic fuels” is 1-1000 keV per bond. Roughly a few hundred times more energy dense than chemical fuels, but not “nuclear” That means less shielding, direct conversion to electricity, and rocket fuel tanks about 1/100th the size. A 100 meter tall fuel tank should be less than one meter tall equivalent.
On the moon there is cheap vacuum. In space there is cheap high quality vacuum. So the “chemistry” for the moon and space is going to be different than bulk earth-based commodity chemicals. The needs and economics are different. The tools and processes are electric and magnetic and gravitational fields. And the requirements for data and modeling far beyond what anyone is doing now. People could, they just are not.
I found (over 50 years of searching) that all the nuclear and weak reactions can be approximated by magnetic dipole interactions of isotopes and particles with permanent magnetic moments. At the “nuclear” distances, the magnetic dipole interaction (using classical electrodynamics) is 1/r^4 in force and 1/r^3 in potential energy. The Coulomb repulsion is overcome at close distances by the magnetic binding. All the sized and timings work out. And it is easy to visualize and do “atomic chemistry” with. That is important because still humans are doing the searching.
I wrote to Emilio Segre in 1981 to ask him about the positronium spectrum. That marked my change in thinking. An electron and positron can bind by Coulomb forces and energies. But at close distances they can bind magnetically. And, if they have angular momentum, they can not annihilate, but stay bound – with a spectrum of magnetic states at very high energies. Most of the gamma ray spectra are just these states. Just no one has though to use that to make new extended materials and fuels.
Most of the matter in the universe is bound particle-antiparticle pairs, and neutrons. Proton-antiproton, electron-positron, muon-antimuon and others are all electromagnetically neutral (invisible) and magnetically neutral, but have mass. This is most of the dark matter and energy. It is pretty simple and fits with the virtual electron positron pairs we see in Dirac’s “sea”.
But all the isotopes with magnetic moments are “active” and can be used for atomic chemistry. There are a set of isotopes where there is only one stable isotope and it has a permanent magnetic moment. These are the active and useful intermediates. There are also a wide range of magnetically active isotopes and states that have lifetimes well within the capabilities of today’s electronics and control systems. A millisecond lifetime is plenty of time to use a just created magnetic binding state.
Be(4,7) is 100% with -1.1776 nuclear magnetons. So it can be used for “fusion reactions”. All the fusion reactions can be treated using magnetic binding as a rough beginning state, then you solve the full nonlinear Schrodinger equations or full magnetic fluid dynamic (magneto hydrodynamic, relativistic fluid dynamics, it has lots of names and aliases) for exact industrial applications. Fl(9,19) is 100% at 2.62887 NM. Na(11,23) is 100% at 2.21753 NM. And there are many more that do not have to be separated. But mass spectroscopy is well understood now and many of the mixtures can be separated to gather the high value magnetically active species. And many of the neutral ones can be split and used as needed. On the other end, the fission products have many magnetically active species and rather than “burning” to boil water, the products can have higher value as fuels, super strong shielding materials, super strong fibers and high frequency resonators of many sorts.
I carved stone and wood for several decades when i was younger, and studied the strength of materials closely. These same intermediate materials also can make new materials that are hundreds or thousands of times stronger than our current materials. Those carbon fibers are held together by electron pairs. Those are electron magnetic dipoles at large distances. But the atomic versions are much stronger.
I cannot simply give a whole textbook on all that I have found. I work 12-18 hours a day, seven days a week and I remember most everything I have ever seen, read or though about from the time I was 12. Now I am 72 and that 60 years of study puts me where most of that is useful. But I am starting to get tired and just cannot remember everything any more. And really don’t particularly care. I have tried to help as many people as I can, but I am too old to go to Mars or the moon now, unless someone starts and atomic fuel industry and makes “fly your personal vehicle to the moon” possible soon.