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Contemplating Breakthrough Spaceflight Marc G. Millis


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    1. Contemplating Breakthrough SpaceflightMarc G. Millis "Space drives," "Warp drives," and "Wormholes:" these concepts may sound like science fiction, but they are being written about in reputable journals and have reawakened consideration that human voyages to other star systems might someday become possible. While such utilitarian ambitions might seem irrelevant to the lingering mysteries of cosmology, this perspective changes the way we look at the same phenomena. Curiosity-driven physics aims to find the simplest underlying laws that govern everything. Interstellar flight, on the other hand, seeks only a propulsion breakthrough - a means of moving spacecraft more efficiently across vast interstellar distances. In the first step of the scientific method where one defines the problem, the initial problem statement affects how subsequent data and hypotheses are formed. The Cosmic Background Microwave Radiation, Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the very meaning of inertial frames and spacetime take on a different meanings. With this change of perspective, additional paths toward solutions are opened. By pursuing new ways to move through the cosmos, we might very well improve our understanding of the cosmos.

    2. About Cosmology Birth and fate of the whole universe Interplay of spacetime, matter, energy Physics of the very big… and the very small Wow!

    3. Hubble on expansion: Call it "redshifts" Lingering Mysteries • Coupling of all fundamental forces • Anomalous galactic rotations… "Dark Matter" • Anomalous redshifts… "Dark Energy" • Pioneer & Voyager anomalous deceleration 10-10g • Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, uniformity • Merging quantum mechanics and general relativity • The origin of inertial frames, Mach's Principle • Is there a floor under the rug of spacetime? • Speed of gravity • Arrow of time

    4. One Hypothesis

    5. An Alternate Hypothesis We're just stuck.

    6. Getting Unstuckreview of routine methods of creativityMiller, 1987, The Creative Edge • "Reframing Questions" • SCAMPER • Substitute • Combine • Adapt • Magnify, minimize • Put into other applications • Eliminate • Rearrange

    7. Reflections on Prior Scientific Progress

    8. Reframing The Question Scientific Method Step 1: Define the problem How the problem is cast affects how data will be collected and interpreted. A different problem statement yields a different pathway toward solutions.

    9. Image: Monty Python "and now for something completely different"

    10. Cosmology via Spaceflight? Less ambitious goal Utilitarian Recasts phenomena…

    11. Reaching Across Space Impossible (?) Hard Extremely Hard Harder Very Hard Under-chart source: R. Mewaldt & P. Liewer, JPL

    12. Light sails Nuclear detonation propulsion: “Orion”(USA) & “Daedalus”(British Interplanetary Society) Bussard Ramjet Nuclear rockets & sails (fission, fusion) Antimatter rockets & sails Conceivable Space Propulsion All images this page from NASA JPL or NASA MSFC

    13.  Expellant Balloon  FIRST: Remedial Rocket Science Intro

    14. Interstellar Rocket Reality CheckExample: Propellant required to fly mass of Shuttle Orbiter past 4.3 Light-Years

    15. Some More Remedial Rocket Science:Light Sails

    16. Sanity Check on Space Sails (Data from Greg Matloff, NY, Autumn 2003) $Gazillions Laser Sails Energy Cost Art, NASA JPL $100 million $Billions Solar Sails 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Millennia to reach Alpha Centauri

    17. Plan B Undiscovered Physics

    18. Science Fiction Inspirations Antigravity Space Drives Warp Drives Wormholes & Star Gates Hyperspace Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures

    19. The Role of Science FictionEmme, E., ed, (1982) Science Fiction & Space Futures Past & Present, American Astronautical Society History Series • Science Fiction inspires pioneers • Science Fiction is not an accurate predictor of the future

    20. An Example: Fiction to Fact National Air & Space Museum Inspiration J. Verne Colliers Magazine Vision Von Braun Reality Apollo

    21. Desired Breakthroughs 1.Mass: Discover new propulsion methods that eliminate the need for propellant or beamed energy. “Space Drives” • 2.Speed: Discover how to circumvent existing limits (light-speed) to dramatically reduce transit times. “Warp Drives,” “Wormholes,” “Hyperspace” • 3.Energy: Discover new energy methods to power these propulsion devices.

    22. " SPACE DRIVES " Millis, "Challenge to Create the Space Drive,” AIAA Journal of Propulsion & Power, V.13, N.5, pp. 577-582, (Sept.-Oct. 1997) Graphics courtesy of Popular Science Magazine, John MacNeill illustrator, jwmacneill@mindspring.com

    23. Fundamental Space Drive Problem: -- Find something else to push against -- • Field Perspectives • Gravitational • Inertial (Mach’s Principle)? • Things in Space • Cosmic Background Radiation • Quantum Fluctuation Energy • Dark Matter • Dark Energy Asymmetric Sails (colliding with space media) Asymmetric Induced Fields

    24. Space Drive Energy Benefit • Mission: 5000 kg sent 5 light-years in 50 years (non relativistic) • Assessment Method (100% efficiency assumed for both) • Space Drive: Kinetic energy • Rocket: Isp= 17,200 s (highest record found) [Byers 1969] Rocket Space Drive

    25. Warp Drive Demo Moving Through Spacetime Moving Spacetime

    26. Fundamental Warp Drive Problems • Magnitude of Required Energy • Negative Energy Required • Spacetime expansion • Wormhole throat stability • Controllability • Causal Disconnect • Throat collapse • Time travel paradoxes

    27. Contemplating Space Drives • Media • CBR • ZPE • Fields • Mach • Higgs

    28. Sci-Fi Space Drives • Soap Boat • Levitation

    29. Sci-Fi FTL d=vt

    30. More Fun with Faster Than Light - Intro - 5ct 4ct FTL SHIP departs with v = 5/2 c Turns around @ t=2 Returns with same v. Stops at Dock. 3ct DISTANCE 2ct 1ct 0ct 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 TIME

    31. (t=0) (My apologies to George Lucas and ILM for this rather sloppy use of their images)

    32. (t=1)

    33. (t=2)

    34. (t=3)

    35. (t=4) Poof! The Ship has arrived!

    36. (t=5)

    37. (t=6) New image of arriving ship appears,but seen in reverse time.There are 3 ship images,but only 1 real ship.

    38. (t=7) Poof! The departing and reverse-arrivingimages vanish upon meeting.

    39. (t=8) All that remains is the real ship.

    40. Fun with Faster Than LightNow Showing Light Lines 5ct Red rays are from ship’s departure 4ct 3ct DISTANCE Blue rays are from ship’s arrival 2ct 1ct 0ct 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 TIME Note: 3 images of ship exist! (1 parked at dock + 2 in motion)

    41. NASA Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Project GOAL: Exceed the fundamental limits of existing propulsion by further advancing physics to discover the breakthroughs that could revolutionize spaceflight and enable interstellar voyages. Technical Target the greatest challenges of deep-spaceflight. Programmatic Conduct visionary research in a credible manner.

    42. The Higher-Risk, Higher-Payoff Plan:Seek Breakthrough From Physics • Characteristics of space - in situ reaction mass or energy? • Coupling of the fundamental forces (Gravity, Electromagnetism, etc). • Fundamentals of moving matter & energy through spacetime. • Manipulating spacetime to circumvent light-speed. • “Warp Drives” • “Wormholes” • Energy-exchange and • force-producing effects. • Other unfinished physics.

    43. Are Breakthroughs Imminent? • Millis's Subjective Assessment • No breakthroughs imminent, and might remain impossible • Collective status is “Defining the Problem” (give or take) • Findings Compiled (NASA/TM--2004-213082) • 6 dismissed • 4 unresolved or debated • 4 open for continued investigation • Relevant works continue to emerge in peer-reviewed journals • Hype Warning: “antigravity” and “free energy” claims

    44. Progress Toward Breakthroughs • NASA Project Accomplishments • Assessed 8 research approaches ($1.55M spread over 1996-2002) • 3 determined to be not viable • 3 remain unresolved • 2 found open for continued study • Produced 14 journal publications • Produced award-winning public education website; “Warp Drive, When?” • Tasks Sponsored By Others • Sponsors: Earmark to WV, NASA-HQ, NASA-MSFC, ESA-ESTEC, NRL, & private • Assessed 8 research approaches • 2 determined to be not viable • 4 remain unresolved • 2 found open for continued study

    45. Overall Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Null Research Findings • Mechanical “Antigravity” Gyroscopes, Sticktion oscillators • Hooper “antigravity” coils (NASA TM-106963) • Schlicher thrusting antenna • Podkletnov gravity shield • Coronal blowers (NASA CR-2004-213312) “Biefeld-Brown,” “Electrogravitcs,” “Lifters,” “ACTs” • Quantum tunneling as FTL venue

    46. Overall Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Unresolved Research Approaches • Woodward’s inertial oscillation theory & experiments • If genuine, assess propulsive implications • Abraham vs. Minkowski electromagnetic momentum (1909) • If Minkowski correct, assess propulsive implications • Inertia & gravity interpreted as quantum vacuum effects • If viable, assess propulsive implications • Podkletnov latest claim: “force-beam” • Superconductors as a new generic exploration tool

    47. Overall Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Open Research Approaches • Space Drives • Seek reaction mass from space (revisit cosmological anomalies) • Revisit Mach’s Principle (inertial frame physics) • Seek Asymmetric Coupling of the Fundamental Forces • Quantum Vacuum Energy Experiments • As a window to studying fundamental space properties • Asses magnitude of tangible forces or energy • Note: Although propulsion possible in principle, still too feeble • Provocative Questions • Resolve anomalous spacecraft trajectories • Look for violations of Equivalence Principle in free-fall • Faster-Than-Light Inquiries • Average null energy conditions • Quantum fluctuations in topology • Causality questions