Strings Are Dead

In 2014, I submitted my paper “A Universal Approach to Forces” to the journal Foundations of Physics. The 1999 Noble Laureate, Prof. Gerardus ‘t Hooft, editor of this journal, had suggested that I submit this paper to the journal Physics Essays.

My previous 2009 submission “Gravitational acceleration without mass and noninertia fields” to Physics Essays, had taken 1.5 years to review and be accepted. Therefore, I decided against Prof. Gerardus ‘t Hooft’s recommendation as I estimated that the entire 6 papers (now published as Super Physics for Super Technologies) would take up to 10 years and/or $20,000 to publish in peer reviewed journals.

Prof. Gerardus ‘t Hooft had brought up something interesting in his 2008 paper “A locally finite model for gravity” that “… absence of matter now no longer guarantees local flatness…” meaning that accelerations can be present in spacetime without the presence of mass. Wow! Isn’t this a precursor to propulsion physics, or the ability to modify spacetime without the use of mass?

As far as I could determine, he didn’t pursue this from the perspective of propulsion physics. A year earlier in 2007, I had just discovered the massless formula for gravitational acceleration g=τc^2, published in the Physics Essays paper referred above. In effect, g=τc^2 was the mathematical solution to Prof. Gerardus ‘t Hooft’s “… absence of matter now no longer guarantees local flatness…”

Prof. Gerardus ‘t Hooft used string theory to arrive at his inference. Could he empirically prove it? No, not with strings. It took a different approach, numerical modeling within the context of Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity (STR) to derive a mathematic solution to Prof. Gerardus ‘t Hooft’s inference.

In 2013, I attended Dr. Brian Greens’s Gamow Memorial Lecture, held at the University of Colorado Boulder. If I had heard him correctly, the number of strings or string states being discovered has been increasing, and were now in the 10^500 range.

I find these two encounters telling. While not rigorously proved, I infer that (i) string theories are unable to take us down a path the can be empirically proven, and (ii) they are opened ended i.e. they can be used to propose any specific set of outcomes based on any specific set of inputs. The problem with this is that you now have to find a theory for why a specific set of inputs. I would have thought that this would be heartbreaking for theoretical physicists.

In 2013, I presented the paper “Empirical Evidence Suggest A Need For A Different Gravitational Theory,” at the American Physical Society’s April conference held in Denver, CO. There I met some young physicists and asked them about working on gravity modification. One of them summarized it very well, “Do you want me to commit career suicide?” This explains why many of our young physicists continue to seek employment in the field of string theories where unfortunately, the hope of empirically testable findings, i.e. winning the Noble Prize, are next to nothing.

I think string theories are wrong.

Two transformations or contractions are present with motion, Lorentz-FitzGerald Transformation (LFT) in linear motion and Newtonian Gravitational Transformations (NGT) in gravitational fields.

The fundamental assumption or axiom of strings is that they expand when their energy (velocity) increases. This axiom (let’s name it the Tidal Axiom) appears to have its origins in tidal gravity attributed to Prof. Roger Penrose. That is, macro bodies elongate as the body falls into a gravitational field. To be consistent with NGT the atoms and elementary particles would contract in the direction of this fall. However, to be consistent with tidal gravity’s elongation, the distances between atoms in this macro body would increase at a rate consistent with the acceleration and velocities experienced by the various parts of this macro body. That is, as the atoms get flatter, the distances apart get longer. Therefore, for a string to be consistent with LFT and NGT it would have to contract, not expand. One suspects that this Tidal Axiom’s inconsistency with LFT and NGT has led to an explosion of string theories, each trying to explain Nature with no joy. See my peer-reviewed 2013 paper New Evidence, Conditions, Instruments & Experiments for Gravitational Theories published in the Journal of Modern Physics, for more.

The vindication of this contraction is the discovery of the massless formula for gravitational acceleration g=τc^2 using Newtonian Gravitational Transformations (NGT) to contract an elementary particle in a gravitational field. Neither quantum nor string theories have been able to achieve this, as quantum theories require point-like inelastic particles, while strings expand.

What worries me is that it takes about 70 to 100 years for a theory to evolve into commercially viable consumer products. Laser are good examples. So, if we are tying up our brightest scientific minds with theories that cannot lead to empirical validations, can we be the primary technological superpower a 100 years from now?

The massless formula for gravitational acceleration g=τc^2, shows us that new theories on gravity and force fields will be similar to General Relativity, which is only a gravity theory. The mass source in these new theories will be replaced by field and particle motions, not mass or momentum exchange. See my Journal of Modern Physics paper referred above on how to approach this and Super Physics for Super Technologies on how to accomplish this.

Therefore, given that the primary axiom, the Tidal Axiom, of string theories is incorrect it is vital that we recognize that any mathematical work derived from string theories is invalidated. And given that string theories are particle based theories, this mathematical work is not transferable to the new relativity type force field theories.

I forecast that both string and quantum gravity theories will be dead by 2017.

When I was seeking funding for my work, I looked at the Broad Agency Announcements (BAAs) for a category that includes gravity modification or interstellar propulsion. To my surprise, I could not find this category in any of our research organizations, including DARPA, NASA, National Science Foundation (NSF), Air Force Research Lab, Naval Research Lab, Sandia National Lab or the Missile Defense Agency.

So what are we going to do when our young graduates do not want to or cannot be employed in string theory disciplines?

(Originally published in the Huffington Post)

Is Photon Based Propulsion, the Future?

I first met Dr. Young Bae, NIAC Fellow, at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) sponsored 2011, 100 Year Starship Study (100YSS) at Orlando, Fla. Many of us who were there had responded to the NASA/DARPA Tactical Technology Office’s RFP to set up an organization “… to develop a viable and sustainable non-governmental organization for persistent, long-term, private-sector investment into the myriad of disciplines needed to make long-distance space travel viable …”

Yes, both DARPA and NASA are at some level interested in interstellar propulsion. Mine was one of approximately 35 (rumored number) teams from around the world vying for this DARPA grant, and Dr. Bae was with a competing team. I presented the paper “Non-Gaussian Photon Probability Distributions”, and Dr. Bae presented “A Sustainable Developmental Pathway of Photon Propulsion towards Interstellar Flight”. These were early days, the ground zero of interstellar propulsion, if you would.

Dr. Bae has been researching Photon Laser Thrust (PLT) for many years. A video of his latest experiment is available at the NASA website or on YouTube. This PLT uses light photons to move an object by colliding with (i.e. transferring momentum to) the object. The expectation is that this technology will eventually be used to propel space crafts. His most recent experiments demonstrate the horizontal movement of a 1-pound weight. This is impressive. I expect to see much more progress in the coming years.

At one level, Dr. Bae’s experiments are confirmation that Bill Nye’s Light Sail (which very unfortunately lost communications with Earth) will work.

At another level, one wonders why or how the photon, a particle without mass, has momentum that is proportion to the photon’s frequency or energy. A momentum that is observable in Dr. Bae’s and other experiments. This is not a question that contemporary physics asks. Einstein was that meticulous when he derived the Lorentz-FitzGerald Transformations (LFT) from first principles for his Special Theory of Relativity (STR). Therefore, if you think about it, and if we dare to ask the sacrilegious question, does this mean that momentum is a particle’s elementary property that appears to be related to mass? What would we discover if we could answer the question, why does momentum exist in both mass and massless particles? Sure, the short cut don’t bother me answer is, mass-energy equivalence. But why?

At the other end of photon momentum based research is the EmDrive invented by Roger Shawyer. He clearly states that the EmDrive is due to momentum exchange and not due to “quantum vacuum plasma effects”. To vindicate his claims Boeing has received all of his EmDrive designs and test data. This is not something that Boeing does lightly.

In this 2014 video a member of NASA’s Eagleworks explains that the EmDrive (renamed q-thruster) pushes against quantum vacuum, the froth of particle and antiparticle pairs in vacuum. Which raises the question, how can you push against one type and not the other? In 2011, using NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope photographs, Prof. Robert Nemiroff of Michigan Technological University, made the stunning discovery that this quantum foam of particle and antiparticle pairs in a vacuum, does not exist. Unfortunately, this means that the NASA Eagleworks explanation clearly cannot be correct.

So how does the EmDrive work?

In my 2012 book An Introduction to Gravity Modification, I had explained the importance of asymmetrical fields and designs for creating propellantless engines. For example, given a particle in a gravitational field and with respect to this field’s planetary mass source, this particle will observe an asymmetrical gravitational field. The near side of this particle will experience a stronger field than the far side, and thus the motion towards the planetary mass. Granted that this difference is tiny, it is not zero. This was how I was able to determine the massless formula for gravitational acceleration, g=τc^2, where tau τ is the change in the time dilation transformation (dimensionless LFT) divided by that distance. The error in the modeled gravitational acceleration is less than 6 parts per million. Thus validating the asymmetrical approach.

In very basic terms Shawyer’s New Scientist paper suggests that it is due to the conical shape of the EmDrive that causes microwave photons to exhibit asymmetrical momentum exchange. One side of the conical structure with the larger cross section, has more momentum exchange than the other side with the smaller cross section. The difference in this momentum exchange is evidenced as a force.

However, as Dr. Bae points out, from the perspective of legacy physics, conservation of momentum is broken. If not broken, then there are no net forces. If broken, then one observes a net force. Dr. Beckwith (Prof., Chongqing University, China) confirms that Dr. Bae is correct, but the question that needs to be addressed is, could there be any additional effects which would lead to momentum conservation being violated? Or apparently violated?

To be meticulous, since energy can be transmuted into many different forms, we can ask another sacrilegious question. Can momentum be converted into something else? A wave function attribute for example, in a reversible manner, after all the massless photon momentum is directly proportional to its frequency? We don’t know. We don’t have either the theoretical or experimental basis for answering this question either in the positive or negative. Note, this is not the same as perpetual motion machines, as conservation laws still hold.

Shawyer’s work could be confirmation of these additional effects, asymmetrical properties and momentum-wave-function-attribute interchangeability. If so, the future of propulsion technologies lies in photon based propulsion.

Given that Shawyer’s video demonstrates a moving EmDrive, the really interesting question is, can we apply this model to light photons? Or for that matter, any other type of photons, radio, infrared, light, ultraviolet and X-Rays?

(Originally published in the Huffington Post)

To be a Space Faring Civilization

Until 2006 our Solar System consisted essentially of a star, planets, moons, and very much smaller bodies known as asteroids and comets. In 2006 the International Astronomical Union’s (IAU) Division III Working Committee addressed scientific issues and the Planet Definition Committee address cultural and social issues with regard to planet classifications. They introduced the “pluton” for bodies similar to planets but much smaller.

The IAU set down three rules to differentiate between planets and dwarf planets. First, the object must be in orbit around a star, while not being itself a star. Second, the object must be large enough (or more technically correct, massive enough) for its own gravity to pull it into a nearly spherical shape. The shape of objects with mass above 5×1020 kg and diameter greater than 800 km would normally be determined by self-gravity, but all borderline cases would have to be established by observation.

Third, plutons or dwarf planets, are distinguished from classical planets in that they reside in orbits around the Sun that take longer than 200 years to complete (i.e. they orbit beyond Neptune). Plutons typically have orbits with a large orbital inclination and a large eccentricity (noncircular orbits). A planet should dominate its zone, either gravitationally, or in its size distribution. That is, the definition of “planet” should also include the requirement that it has cleared its orbital zone. Of course this third requirement automatically implies the second. Thus, one notes that planets and plutons are differentiated by the third requirement.

As we are soon to become a space faring civilization, we should rethink these cultural and social issues, differently, by subtraction or addition. By subtraction, if one breaks the other requirements? Comets and asteroids break the second requirement that the object must be large enough. Breaking the first requirement, which the IAU chose not address at the time, would have planet sized bodies not orbiting a star. From a socio-cultural perspective, one could suggest that these be named “darktons” (from dark + plutons). “Dark” because without orbiting a star, these objects would not be easily visible; “tons” because in deep space, without much matter, these bodies could not meet the third requirement of being able to dominate its zone.

Taking this socio-cultural exploration a step further, by addition, a fourth requirement is that of life sustaining planets. The scientific evidence suggest that life sustaining bodies would be planet-sized to facilitate a stable atmosphere. Thus, a life sustaining planet would be named “zoeton” from the Greek zoe for life. For example Earth is a zoeton while Mars may have been.

Again by addition, one could define, from the Latin aurum for gold, “auton”, as a heavenly body, comets, asteroids, plutons and planets, whose primary value is that of mineral or mining interest. Therefore, Jupiter is not a zoeton, but could be an auton if one extracts hydrogen or helium from this planet. Another auton is 55 Cancri e, a planet 40 light years away, for mining diamonds with an estimated worth of $26.9×1030. The Earth is both a zoeton and an auton, as it both, sustains life and has substantial mining interests, respectively. Not all plutons or planets could be autons. For example Pluto would be too cold and frozen for mining to be economical, and therefore, frozen darktons would most likely not be autons.

At that time the IAU also did not address the upper limit for a planet’s mass or size. Not restricting ourselves to planetary science would widen our socio-cultural exploration. A social consideration would be the maximum gravitational pull that a human civilization could survive, sustain and flourish in. For example, for discussion sake, a gravitational pull greater the 2x Earth’s or 2g, could be considered the upper limit. Therefore, planets with larger gravitational pulls than 2g would be named “kytons” from the Antikythera mechanical computer as only machines could survive and sustain such harsh conditions over long periods of time. Jupiter would be an example of such a kyton.

Are there any bodies between the gaseous planet Jupiter and brown dwarfs? Yes, they have been named Y-dwarfs. NASA found one with a surface temperature of only 80 degrees Fahrenheit, just below that of a human. It is possible these Y-dwarfs could be kytons and autons as a relatively safe (compared to stars) source of hydrogen.

Taking a different turn, to complete the space faring vocabulary, one can redefine transportation by their order of magnitudes. Atmospheric transportation, whether for combustion intake or winged flight can be termed, “atmosmax” from “atmosphere”, and Greek “amaxi” for car or vehicle. Any vehicle that is bound by the distances of the solar system but does not require an atmosphere would be a “solarmax”. Any vehicle that is capable of interstellar travel would be a “starship”. And one capable of intergalactic travel would be a “galactica”.

We now have socio-cultural handles to be a space faring civilization. A vocabulary that facilitates a common understanding and usage. Exploration implies discovery. Discovery means new ideas to tackle new environments, new situations and new rules. This can only lead to positive outcomes. Positive outcomes means new wealth, new investments and new jobs. Let’s go forth and add to these cultural handles.

Ben Solomon is a Committee Member of the Nuclear and Future Flight Propulsion Technical Committee, American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA), and author of An Introduction to Gravity Modification and Super Physics for Super Technologies: Replacing Bohr, Heisenberg, Schrödinger & Einstein (Kindle Version)

The Realistic Cost Of The Next Space Race

Based on the Bloomberg TV program The Next Space Race and other reliable sources, I determine the realistic payload costs goals for the next generation of private space companies.

I review NASA’s Space Shuttle Program costs and compare these with SpaceX costs, and then extrapolate to Planetary Resources, Inc.’s cost structure.

Three important conclusions are derived. And for those viewing this video at my blog postings, the link to the Excel Spreadsheet is here (.xlsx file).

The Next Space Race

Yesterday’s program, The Next Space Race, on Bloomberg TV was an excellent introduction to the commercial aerospace companies, SpaceX, the Sierra Nevada Company (SNC), and Boeing. The following are important points, at the stated times, in the program:

0.33 mins: The cost of space travel has clipped our wings.
5:18 mins: How many people knew Google before they started?
7:40 mins: SpaceX costs, full compliment, 4x per year at $20 million per astronaut.
11:59 mins: Noisy rocket launch, notice also the length of the hot exhaust is several times the length of the rocket.
12:31 mins: One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.
12:37 mins: Noisy shuttle launch, notice also the length of the hot exhaust is several times the length of the rocket.
13:47 mins: OPF-3, at one time the largest building in the world at 129 million cubic feet.
16:04 mins: States are luring private companies to start up in their states.
16:32 mins: NASA should be spending its money on exploration and missions and not maintenance and operations.
17:12 mins: The fair market value of OPF-3 is about $13.5 million.
17:19 mins: Maintenance cost is $100,000 per month
17:47 mins: Why Florida?
18:55 mins: International Space Station (ISS) cost $60B and if including the Shuttle program, it cost $150B.
19:17 mins: The size of the commercial space launch business.
21:04 mins: Elon Musk has put $100 million of his own money into SpaceX.
21:23 mins: The goals of NASA and private space do not conflict.

Summary:
1. Cost of ISS is $60B, total cost including the Shuttle program is $150B.

2. SpaceX cost is $20M per astronaut (for 7 astronauts) or a launch cost of $140 million per launch at $560 million per year for 4 launches per year.

3. The next space race is about money.

4. NASA will give a multi billion dollar contract to private space companies to ferry humans & cargo into space and back.

5. Orbiter Processing Facility 3 (OPF-3) valued at $13.5million, and an estimated area of 207,000 sq ft gives a value of $65.22/sq ft.

6. With a maintenance costs of $100,000 gives a per sq ft maintenance costs of $0.48/sq ft/month or $5.80/sq ft/year.

7. Another reason for the Cape Canaveral NASA launch site is the mandatory no/low population down range for rocket launches. At Cape Canaveral this down range is the Atlantic Ocean.

Background & History of the Foundation

The Xodus One Foundation[1] is a Colorado 501(c)(3) non-profit founded by Benjamin T Solomon[2] in October 2013 with the objective of raising funds and disbursing grants to researchers with access to multimillion dollar labs, for the purpose of discovering the physics of interstellar propulsion.

The Xodus One Foundation and its Founder, Benjamin T Solomon, have been active in this outreach at the DARPA[3] sponsored 100 Year Starship Study[4]; AIAA’s SciTech 2014 Conference[5] held National Harbor, Maryland; SPIE’s Photonics West 2014[6] in San Francisco, California; and is a sponsor of the Colorado Space Business Roundtable’s (CSBR)[7] Colorado Aerospace Day (2013[8] & 2014[9] ) held in third week of March.

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