Posted 16 декабря 2021,, 10:24
Published 16 декабря 2021,, 10:24
Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37
Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:37
Andrey Zlobin, Ph.D., expert of the Center for Planetary Defense
The phenomenon of superconductivity was discovered 110 years ago by the Dutch physicist H. Kamerling-Onnes. Since then, the physical effect has become the object of close attention of scientists and has found wide application in the field of high technologies. Zero resistance in a conductor at ultra-low temperatures allows you to save electricity in power lines, implement strong magnetic fields and powerful particle accelerators for physics research, develop designs for thermonuclear reactors, build magnetically suspended trains, catch weak magnetic fields of the brain, create superconducting qubits of quantum computers.
In the year of science and technology announced in Russia, it is worth mentioning the discovery made in our country back in the 1980s of the last century. Then, more than thirty years ago, being a researcher at CIAM, the author of these lines at the tip of his pen predicted the phenomenon of superconductivity in meteorites. In 2018, the prestigious scientific journal Science published an article according to which the property of superconductivity was experimentally recorded at once in two different meteorites, which confirmed the forecast of the eighties. Now, literally before our eyes, a new direction of science is rapidly developing, associated with the search for natural superconductors in space. The prospects that open up with the findings of space superconductors are truly mesmerizing.
It is necessary to explain why meteorites interested an aircraft engine specialist. Because they fly through the atmosphere at a colossal speed, reaching tens of kilometers per second. With such cosmic speeds, neither planes nor rockets fly in the air. The processes occurring in this case are interesting from the point of view of fundamental physics, and also provide a lot of information about cosmic matter. For most, it will be surprising to hear that, heating up in the atmosphere outside to a bright glow, inside large meteoric bodies remain absolutely cold and have an extremely low temperature. Actually, this gave rise to the idea of the phenomenon of superconductivity in meteorites. And the most intriguing was the parallel with the ideas of one of the founders of Russian cosmonautics F.A. Zander. His report, dated March 25, 1930, contained the following sentence: “... crossing a magnetic flux at a very high speed, it is possible, by passing an electric current through a conductor and closing the current in space outside the ship, to obtain a force acting on the conductor in a certain direction. This can be used to change the path of the ship and to lift from the surface of a minor planet, especially if at low temperatures it is possible to use the superconductivity of metals. " As you can see, F.A. Zander already in 1930 described a physical effect in which motion with high speed, conductor, magnetic flux, low temperatures and superconductivity take place. Superconducting meteorites that pierce the atmosphere and the Earth's magnetic field are, in this case, a kind of natural analogue.
The very idea of flying with a superconductor shouldn't be surprising. The whole world knows the Meissner effect, due to which a magnet levitates over a superconducting surface. This beautiful physical experiment demonstrates that a magnetic solid can hover over a superconductor at a certain height. In other words, gravity is not omnipotent. Having learned to fly with the help of wings and jet thrust, humanity continues to search in the direction of electricity and magnetism. Superconductors are beginning to be used in real aircraft engines. For example, within the framework of the MAKS-2021 aerospace show, the first-ever demonstration flight of the Yak-40LL aircraft, equipped with a hybrid power plant based on a gas turbine engine and a superconducting electric motor, took place. This was repeatedly reported by the media, citing information from the Central Institute of Aviation Motors CIAM. Another example is the German development - the superconducting electric motor for aviation ASuMED. There is no doubt that superconductivity technologies in aviation have a great future ahead of them.
Research on meteoritic superconductivity and flying superconductors provides new, unique opportunities in terms of protection against asteroid hazards. It is extremely difficult to intercept a large asteroid flying at cosmic speed, especially for massive cosmic bodies consisting of monolithic iron. The situation is fundamentally changed by the fact that asteroids and comets have extremely low temperatures in deep space. Using the effect of superconductivity of space matter, it is possible to propose a number of elegant technologies capable of not only deflecting from the trajectory, but also reliably destroying a large iron "blank" that is deadly for the Earth. Of particular note is the fact that some meteorites, for example, fine-structured octahedrites, are strikingly similar in their internal structure to the so-called composite superconductors. It is also possible that the study of superconducting meteorites will open new pages in the field of materials science and bring the era of high-temperature superconductivity closer.
The discovery of cosmic superconducting matter in the form of meteorites allows a completely different look at the energy and information processes in the Universe. Thus, it is quite obvious that cosmic superconductors can store and release electromagnetic energy on a huge scale, affecting, in particular, the formation and distribution of magnetic fields in the Universe. Quite unusual physical effects can occur when stars or giant planets collide with large superconducting asteroids, including magnetohydrodynamic effects, the generation of superstrong magnetic fields, and thermonuclear reactions. Even on our planet, there have been cases when, with the appearance of a large fireball, electrical appliances burned out in settlements or disturbances of the Earth's magnetic field were recorded. In the presence of superconducting properties in meteoric bodies, such catastrophic events can present many surprises. From the point of view of fundamental physics, it is of great interest to study the thinnest boundary separating the absolute coldness of meteorite matter from thousands of degrees of incandescent plasma surrounding the meteorite. This is exactly where "ice and fire" are right next to each other!
A separate subject of interest is the informational component of the phenomenon of space superconductors. Indeed, the temperatures of deep space are close to absolute zero, and it turns out that any propagating electromagnetic disturbance or signal can induce a never-damping electric current in the superconductors of space. The conclusion from this fact is staggering - deep space can store information, as it were, recorded in electronic memory. If humanity ever has the opportunity to read this information, it will undoubtedly learn all the secrets of the universe. The coldness of space and natural space superconductors in the future may become the basis for electronic developments in ultra-long-range cosmonautics, as well as for the creation of astronomical instruments capable of looking beyond the Universe.
Over thirty years ago, our country was already officially the leader in the field of meteorite superconductivity. Thanks to continuous research in this direction, today we are ahead of the world scientific level by almost half a century. We are talking about meteoric matter, meteoric physics, meteorite velocities and corresponding temperatures, both high and ultra-low. Interest in meteorics and related fields of scientific knowledge is growing rapidly. The study of meteorites for their superconducting properties will soon become a common research practice. It is remarkable that Russia has rich meteorite collections, with one of which the author got acquainted in more detail during his work at the State Geological Museum of the Russian Academy of Sciences - the State Geological Museum named after V.I. IN AND. Vernadsky. Thanks to the discovery of superconducting meteorites, mankind is on the verge of another qualitative leap in the physics of superconductivity, and is also sharply expanding the boundaries of knowledge in the field of astrophysics.