There’s actually not much separating matter and antimatter.

By Sophie Weiner

Antimatter sounds mysterious and powerful. In science fiction, it often has properties like defying gravity or taking on opposite colours. But in reality, antimatter is really no different than regular matter, except that antimatter atoms have positrons instead of electrons and antiprotons instead of protons.

At CERN in Switzerland, scientists have actually been able to create antimatter and store it in a magnetic field that keeps it from touching regular matter. If that happens, the antimatter annihilates, producing a burst of energy. In sci-fi like Star Trek, this energy is used to power spaceships. We’re still very far from something like that, but it’s still pretty incredible that we can create something that was for a long time just a hypothesis.

Check out the video above that explains matter, antimatter and how CERN makes, traps and studies it.

Video credit: Seeker

 

This article was originally written for and published by Popular Mechanics USA.