As in, could negative matter (N.B. not the same thing as antimatter) exist on the macro-scale as a solid, liquid or gas without the weird effects that cause it to repel normal matter and possibly violate conservation of energy? Or would any story hinging on the existence of negative matter require portraying it inaccurately?

I ask because I need some sort of warp drive fuel that can be physically mined rather than collected or filtered using some sort of trap. I also want to keep my story on the harder end of sci fi so I decided that the best FTL mechanism to use would be Alcubierre drives or Krasnikov tubes.


2 Answers 2


I actually have never heard of negative matter before and so this was kind of fun and kind of hard, but I will give it my best shot.

First off negative matter in a sci-fi story could be both good or bad, depending on how well you convey it in your story.

Negative matter is completely hypothetical. The debate on whether it exists or not is still on going. But could it exist in our universe? According to this article from Cornell University (PDF), yes, under certain circumstances yes it can. Below is the conclusions of the article.You can also find that article on this page. https://arxiv.org/abs/1407.1457

"Conclusions- We have shown that there exist very physical configurations of an ideal fluid which give rise to solutions of the Einstein equations that correspond asymptotically to negative mass Schwarzschild-de Sitter space times. The energy-momentum tensor that gives rise to such space times is perfectly physical, it everywhere satisfies the dominant energy condition. Since the space time is not asymptotically flat, we evade the positive energy theorems which would not allow for negative mass. Negative mass configurations therefore can exist in de Sitter backgrounds, exactly as have been proposed for the inflationary phase of the early universe. If a mechanism for production of pairs of particles with positive and negative mass can be determined, in the early universe there would be a plasma of positive and negative mass particles. Such a plasma would in principle cause an effective screening of gravitational waves, being essentially opaque for frequencies below the plasma frequency."

Here is a link to a page that has a piece of an article that will give you a start on how negative matter can be used as fuel. Written by Robert L.Forward an American physicist and science fiction writer. In said link he describes how negative matter does not violate the laws of conservation. Also on the wiki page under Runaway motion states negative matter does not violate the laws of conservation.

"This behavior is completely inconsistent with a common-sense approach and the expected behavior of 'normal' matter; but is completely mathematically consistent and introduces no violation of conservation of momentum or energy."

In conclusion, it would be extremely difficult, but possible to keep a lot negative matter contained as well as in plasma form because it is theorized to pass through other particles of mass, completely absorb normal mass and become nothing, travel backwards through time and space, and defy several other laws of physics, which is why many scientist disagree on the existence of negative matter.

  • $\begingroup$ Good show! Welcome to Worldbuilding! $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 2:39
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not entirely sure actually… a description and general bqckground on negative matter is applicable to all questions on the subject, but his real question is kind of vague to understand: can that stuff be handled in a hard SF story, or do the inaccuracies normally introduced mess it up and (I think!) whether it can be dealt with better without messing up the properties or leqving plot holes. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 9:53
  • $\begingroup$ That is, last sentence of the first paragraph in the OP is probably the most important. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 9:54

If you rely on the weird effects to allow it to stabilize a wormhole, you can’t disable those same properties and have a coherent use in the story.

And it's not used as fuel but as a building component.

I suggest reading Timemaster by Robert L. Forward.

I went over negative matter in detail in this answer previously, as did others on the question of Nailing the physics of a negative mass planet.


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