Given that a hypothetical method to generate negative mass exists (which involves intricate manipulation of subatomic particles with lasers... or some other science-fiction), what would be an appropriate energy consumption necessary to generate negative mass for use in hypothetical warp-drive technology?

I assume it would be very high to create something of substantial negative weight.

Additionally, would energy consumption be required to contain and store negative mass?

  • $\begingroup$ This might be better asked on the physics stack exchange $\endgroup$ – Annonymus Jul 7 '16 at 14:58
  • $\begingroup$ I do not know if they would find science-fiction questions appropriate? $\endgroup$ – Brent Jul 7 '16 at 15:11
  • $\begingroup$ True, but the answer to your question requires a lot of very specialized knowledge which nobody iis likely to get right on this site $\endgroup$ – Annonymus Jul 7 '16 at 15:13
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    $\begingroup$ If E=MC^2, where C is a constant, and M is negative, E would also have to be negative. Therefore, assuming it's possible to create, shouldn't you need to pull out (gain) energy from such a system? $\endgroup$ – Mwr247 Jul 7 '16 at 15:14
  • $\begingroup$ Fair enough, I will post on physics stack exchange in 40 minutes, shall I remove this one? $\endgroup$ – Brent Jul 7 '16 at 15:15

At this point negative mass matter is something that's not theoretically forbidden but we've found no theoretical or experimental evidence to suggest it exists. Even worse, we don't have any ideas about what sort of particles it might be composed of.

What this means in a practical sense is that we have no idea how to make it. Which means we do not know how much energy it might take to create.

In this Stack Exchange Question: Resources to justify long distance space mining missions, I postulate that knowledge of the existence of negative mass matter at another star might be sufficient motivation to make an interstellar voyage worth while. The purpose wouldn't be to "mine" it. Rather we'd want to get samples to bring back so we can make some at home.

This stuff would be terribly useful for making inertialess drives, wormholes, and other nifty SF technologies.

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    $\begingroup$ Among "other nifty SF technologies" include the Alcubierre drive and it ties in perfectly with the original poster's "hypothetical warp-drive technology" aspect. $\endgroup$ – Ghotir Jul 7 '16 at 17:27

Making negative mass won't be easy. If you go down the convert energy into mass it will be the same energy requirements for making antimatter. In this case, just look up information on antimatter production.

Now if you're in the business of using negative for "hypothetical warp-drive technology", then if we make some pretty hairy assumptions it becomes plausible in a science-fictional way.

Spacetime is seething, down at the microcosm, with virtual particles which pop into and out of existence in astronomically small amounts of time. This is mass energy borrowed from the quantum vacuum. Quantum theory suggests, and this is where it starts getting very hairy, that the quantum vacuum has a higher mass energy density than nuclear matter.

Let's assume that this quantum vacuum consists of nearly equal amounts of negative and positive mass energy. We shall also assume that there exists a technology that pull equal amounts of both forms of mass energy out of the quantum vacuum. We will assume once out of the quantum vacuum this mass energy can be sustained indefinitely. Actually this assumption isn't entirely necessary as for some technological applications all you would need to do is continually maintain the equal amounts of mass energy. For example, in a diametrical drive system. For more information go here and here.

The hypothetical quantum vacuum extraction device will need energy to run. If you're doing this for a science-fiction story, you can choose how much is needed for the machinery. On the safe side, assume it's quite large.

Negative mass can be used for diametrical drive spacecraft which should be capable, in theory, of accelerating to near-lightspeed, and for some forms of antigravity. For your "hypothetical warp-drive technology" and being able to keep wormholes open you so-called exotic matter. This is much stronger stuff and while I can see a purely hypothetical way of obtaining negative mass I haven't figured a suitable way to conjure up exotic matter.

Note: this answer refers to mass energy because covers both matter and energy and I've used that as shorthand instead saying matter and energy all the time.

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