An interesting preprint, pending publication in the 2013 100 YSS proceedings, on viXra:
Author: Thomas Marshall Eubanks
Compact Composite Objects (CCOs), nuggets of dense Color-Flavor-Locked Superconducting quark matter created before or during the Quantum Chromo- Dynamics phase transition in the early universe, could provide a natural explanation for both Dark Matter (DM) and the observed cosmological baryon asymmetry, without requiring modifications to fundamental physics. This hypothesis implies a relic CCO population in the Solar System, captured during its formation, which would lead to a population of “strange asteroids,” bodies with mm-radii quark matter cores and ordinary matter (rock or ice) mantles. This hypothesis is supported by the observed population of small Very Fast Rotating (VFR) asteroids (bodies with rotation periods as short as 25 sec); the VFR data are consistent with a population of strange asteroids with core masses of order 10^10 – 10^11 kg. If the VFR asteroids are indeed strange asteroids their CCO cores could be mined using the techniques being developed for asteroid mining. Besides being intrinsically of great scientific interest, CCO cores could also serve as very powerful sources of energy, releasing a substantial fraction of the mass energy of incident particles as their quarks are absorbed into the QCD superfluid. Through a process analogous to Andreev reflection in superconductors, even normal matter CCOs could be used as antimatter factories, potentially providing as much as 10^9 kg of antimatter per CCO. While of course speculative, this energy source, if realized, would be suitable for propelling starships to a substantial fraction of the speed of light, and could be found, extracted and exploited in our Solar System with existing and near-term developments in technology.
As an “anti-arXiv”, viXra tends to be much maligned – though a browse of the bombastic proclamations by a gaggle of pseudoscientists does cause one to distrust almost everything. However in this case there’s merit to the idea.
Alternatively the researcher has put the paper up here: https://www.academia.edu/5092209/Powering_Starships_with_Compact_Condensed_Quark_Matter
The implications of discovering such CCOs would be tremendous for interstellar propulsion – a compact, steady supply of antimatter. Of course the antimatter would need to be used effectively – for very fast starships, this concept from Friedwardt Winterberg is relevant:
What’s not so obvious is coupling matter-antimatter reactions to reaction mass, as required by energy economising on missions with lower mission velocities. A gamma-ray beam won’t mix with just any old matter thrown into the rocket engine.