Becoming an Interstellar Species

Our interstellar challenge is, how do we as a planet confined humans, become an interstellar species? This encompasses all human endeavors, and is vitally dependent upon interstellar propulsion physics to realize our coming of age as an interstellar species.

There are so many competing ideas on how to realize interstellar propulsion. These include chemical rockets, ion propulsion, nuclear engines, solar sails, atomic bomb pulse detonation, antimatter drives, small black holes, warp drives and much more.

How do we sift through all these competing ideas?

For his objectivity and courage in stating that mathematics has become so sophisticated that it can now be used to prove anything, I have named the approach to solving this interstellar challenge the Kline Directive, in honor of the late Prof. Morris Kline.

To achieve interstellar travel, the Kline Directive instructs us to be bold, to explore what others have not, to seek what others will not, and to change what others dare not. To extend the boundaries of our knowledge, to advocate new methods, techniques and research, to sponsor change not status quo, on 5 fronts, (1) Legal Standing, (2) Safety Awareness, (3) Economic Viability, (4) Theoretical-Empirical Relationship and (5) Technological Feasibility.

Legal Standing: Do we have the protection of the law?

Mr. Gregory W. Nemitz of The Eros Project is the first person I know, who pushed the limits of the law. As a US taxpayer, Nemitz claimed ownership of Asteroid 433, Eros, and invoiced NASA $20,000 for parking and storage of the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft. Citing faulty interpretation of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, NASA refused to pay. On April 26, 2004 U.S. District Court Judge Howard McKibben dismissed the case. We have to address this. What is to stop other governments from imposing taxes on our outer space commercial activities that is “for the benefit and in the interests of all countries”?

Safety Awareness: Can we protect our crew and our planet?

In the heady rush to propose ideas for new propulsions systems or star drives it is very easy to overlook safety considerations. Quoting E.J. Opik, “Is Interstellar Travel Possible?” Irish Astronomical Journal, Vol 6, page 299. “The exhaust power of the antimatter rocket would equal the solar energy power received by the earth – all in gamma rays”. And Opik quotes the eminent Carl Sagan, Planet. Space Sci., pp. 485-498, 1963, “So the problem is not to shield the payload, the problem is to shield the earth”.

Economic Viability: Can realistic commercial viability be determined?

Space exploration economic viability is not an accounting problem that can be solved by CFOs and accountants. This economic viability is a physics and engineering problem. For example, chemical rocket propulsion to Alpha Centauri, our nearest star, would cost about $1.19×10^14 or 23x 2011 world GDP.

Theoretical-Empirical Relationship: Is the hypothesis empirically sustainable?

String theories are a good example of a theoretical-empirical relationship that is yet to be proved. Let’s remember Prof. Morris Kline’s words when theorist claim a velocity of 10^32 x c (velocity of light) is achievable. Don’t get me wrong. Mathematics is vital to the progress of the sciences, but it needs to be tempered with real world experimental evidence, otherwise it is just conjecture, and ties up our search for interstellar propulsion technologies.

The reverse is equally valid. Without the theoretical underpinnings, there will not be much experimental progress. Podkletnov’s gravity shielding experiments are a good example. In 2 decades since Podkletnov published his experiments, there has not been any experimental progress. My inference is that none of the proposed theoretical explanations addressed all the observations and therefore, could not guide future experiments.

Technological Feasibility: Does it work?

Technological feasibility in a realistic and finite time frame is vital. Technological feasibility quickly leads back to the question of commercial viability. Developing future feasible technologies is an iterative process between technological feasibility and commercial viability, until we can reach the stars without having to ask the question, whom do we select to leave Earth?

Applying the Kline Directive, a quick method of eliminating competing technologies is to construct the Interstellar Challenge Matrix that compares the pros and cons of each competing propulsion technology.

Can we hasten the development of interstellar propulsion technologies? Yes.

Since disproving the validity of Alcubierre-type warp drives, interstellar propulsion physics is currently non-existent. To birth this propulsion physics, in 2012, I classified physical hypotheses/theories into 3 categories (1) Type 1: The Millennium Theories, (2) Type 2: The 100-Year Theories and (3) Type 3: The Engineering Feasible Theories.

Type 1, Millennium Theories require more than a 100 years and maybe up to 1,000 years to prove or disprove. Mathematically correct but inscrutable with physically verifiable experiments, even in the distant future. String and quantum gravity theories fall into this category. Why? If we cannot even figure out how to engineer-modify 4-dimensional spacetime, how are we going to engineer-modify a 5-, 6-, 9-, 11- or 23-dimensional universe?

Type 2, 100-Year Theories show promise of being verified with technologies that would require several decades to engineer, test and validate, and do not lend themselves to an immediate engineering solution. The engineering solution is theoretically feasible but a working experiment or technology is some decades away as the experimental or physical implementation is not fully understood.

Type 3, Engineering Feasible Theories lend themselves to engineering solutions, today. They are falsifiable today, with our current engineering technologies, if one knows what to test for and how to test for these experimental observations.

We as a society need to apply the Kline Directive to invent new propulsion physics theories, that are at best Engineering Feasible and at worst 100-Year theories.

We now have the tools to quickly eliminate both theoretical and experimental proposals that are highly likely to be unproductive, and focus on those that truly have potential of delivering commercial interstellar propulsion technologies. In the US money is no object, as the combined 2015 DARPA and NSF budgets, is $10.26 billion. Allocating a very small slice of these budgets for propulsion physics would be an enormous step forward.

(This article was originally published in the Huffington Post.)

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)

Honda’s Gravity Modification Research

Gravity modification, the scientific term for antigravity, is the ability to modify the gravitational field without the use of mass. Thus legacy physics, the RSQ (Relativity, String & Quantum) theories, cannot deliver either the physics or technology as these require mass as their field origin.

Ron Kita who recently received the first US patent (8901943) related to gravity modification, in recent history, introduced me to Dr. Takaaki Musha some years ago. Dr. Musha has a distinguished history researching Biefeld-Brown in Japan, going back to the late 1980s, and worked for the Ministry of Defense and Honda R&D.

Dr. Musha is currently editing New Frontiers in Space Propulsion (Nova Publishers) expected later this year. He is one of the founders of the International Society for Space Science whose aim is to develop new propulsion systems for interstellar travel.

Wait. What? Honda? Yes. For us Americans, it is unthinkable for General Motors to investigate gravity modification, and here was Honda in the 1990s, at that, researching this topic.

In recent years Biefeld-Brown has gained some notoriety as an ionic wind effect. I, too, was of this opinion until I read Dr. Musha’s 2008 paper “Explanation of Dynamical Biefeld-Brown Effect from the Standpoint of ZPF field.” Reading this paper I realized how thorough, detailed and meticulous Dr. Musha was. Quoting selected portions from Dr. Musha’s paper:

In 1956, T.T. Brown presented a discovery known as the Biefeld-Bown effect (abbreviated B-B effect) that a sufficiently charged capacitor with dielectrics exhibited unidirectional thrust in the direction of the positive plate.

From the 1st of February until the 1st of March in 1996, the research group of the HONDA R&D Institute conducted experiments to verify the B-B effect with an improved experimental device which rejected the influence of corona discharges and electric wind around the capacitor by setting the capacitor in the insulator oil contained within a metallic vessel . . . The experimental results measured by the Honda research group are shown . . .

V. Putz and K. Svozil,

. . . predicted that the electron experiences an increase in its rest mass under an intense electromagnetic field . . .

and the equivalent

. . . formula with respect to the mass shift of the electron under intense electromagnetic field was discovered by P. Milonni . . .

Dr. Musha concludes his paper with,

. . . The theoretical analysis result suggests that the impulsive electric field applied to the dielectric material may produce a sufficient artificial gravity to attain velocities comparable to chemical rockets.

Given, Honda R&D’s experimental research findings, this is a major step forward for the Biefeld-Brown effect, and Biefeld-Brown is back on the table as a potential propulsion technology.

We learn two lesson.

First, that any theoretical analysis of an experimental result is advanced or handicapped by the contemporary physics. While the experimental results remain valid, at the time of the publication, zero point fluctuation (ZPF) was the appropriate theory. However, per Prof. Robert Nemiroff’s 2012 stunning discovery that quantum foam and thus ZPF does not exist, the theoretical explanation for the Biefeld-Brown effect needs to be reinvestigated in light of Putz, Svozil and Milonni’s research findings. This is not an easy task as that part of the foundational legacy physics is now void.

Second, it took decades of Dr. Musha’s own research to correctly advise Honda R&D how to conduct with great care and attention to detail, this type of experimental research. I would advise anyone serious considering Biefeld-Brown experiments to talk to Dr. Musha, first.

Another example of similar lessons relates to the Finnish/Russian Dr. Podkletnov’s gravity shielding spinning superconducting ceramic disc i.e. an object placed above this spinning disc would lose weight.

I spent years reading and rereading Dr. Podkletnov’s two papers (the 1992 “A Possibility of Gravitational Force Shielding by Bulk YBa2Cu3O7-x Superconductor” and the 1997 “Weak gravitational shielding properties of composite bulk YBa2Cu3O7-x superconductor below 70K under e.m. field“) before I fully understood all the salient observations.

Any theory on Dr. Podkletnov’s experiments must explain four observations, the stationary disc weight loss, spinning disc weight loss, weight loss increase along a radial distance and weight increase. Other than my own work I haven’t see anyone else attempt to explain all four observation within the context of the same theoretical analysis. The most likely inference is that legacy physics does not have the tools to explore Podkletnov’s experiments.

But it gets worse.

Interest in Dr. Podkletnov’s work was destroyed by two papers claiming null results. First, Woods et al, (the 2001 “Gravity Modification by High-Temperature Superconductors“) and second, Hathaway et al (the 2002 “Gravity Modification Experiments Using a Rotating Superconducting Disk and Radio Frequency Fields“). Reading through these papers it was very clear to me that neither team were able to faithfully reproduce Dr. Podkletnov’s work.

My analysis of Dr. Podkletnov’s papers show that the disc is electrified and bi-layered. By bi-layered, the top side is superconducting and the bottom non-superconducting. Therefore, to get gravity modifying effects, the key to experimental success is, bottom side needs to be much thicker than the top. Without getting into too much detail, this would introduce asymmetrical field structures, and gravity modifying effects.

The necessary dialog between theoretical explanations and experimental insight is vital to any scientific study. Without this dialog, there arises confounding obstructions; theoretically impossible but experiments work or theoretically possible but experiments don’t work. With respect to Biefeld-Brown, Dr. Musha has completed the first iteration of this dialog.

Above all, we cannot be sure what we have discovered is correct until we have tested these discoveries under different circumstances. This is especially true for future propulsion technologies where we cannot depend on legacy physics for guidance, and essentially don’t understand what we are looking for.

In the current RSQ (pronounced risk) theory climate, propulsion physics is not a safe career path to select. I do hope that serious researchers reopen the case for both Biefeld-Brown and Podkletnov experiments, and the National Science Foundation (NSF) leads the way by providing funding to do so.

(Originally published in the Huffington Post)