This entry was posted on Thursday, December 6th, 2012 at 11:05 am and is filed under awesomeness. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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thats like Leonardo inventing the helicopter 400 years before engines were invented. When they have the required exotic matter at Home Depot I’ll go pick some up
Nerdgasm in 3…2…
If I understand this, all we need to do is turn a mass of around 1500 lbs into pure energy, and use it to bend space instead of blowing ourselves up. For comparison I think a 20 kiloton nuclear weapon converts about 1 gram of mass into energy. There are about 450 grams in a pound. So, maybe we would need about 1 million 20 kiloton nuclear weapons, allowing for some inefficiencies. Or a mere 1,000 nuclear weapons of 20 megatons each.
The part I like about his idea is that it gets rid of relativistic time effects (theoretically of course). So when you come back from Alpha Centauri you don’t find that a thousand years have elapsed on Earth and all your friends are dead. This is good news.
On the other hand, if we knew how to control the energy of 1,000 nuclear weapons without blowing ourselves up, we might be more interested in using this knowledge to reduce carbon emissions and eliminate any need for oil from the Middle East.
I once visited NASA Huntsville when they were investigating the possibility of gravity shielding. It’s amazing what a supposedly underfunded federal agency can find to spend money on.
Between us and the Russians, we have that many, don’t we? If not, you think the Israelis and the Chinese would chip in?
I may not know law, but I know enough physics that I can guarantee this is horse hockey.
horse hockey? that would be a bit extreme (although with the NHL strike any hockey is significant). it’s merely advanced planning. when they find the mythical ‘dilithium crystals’ it will just be plug-and-play
Isn’t that just Polo… ie: therefore possible
From the (admittedly little) I understand of relativity and spacetime, the difficulty would not only lie in the focused expenditure of so much energy, but in placement of the energy in a way capable of generating a “surfing” effect – which is what they’re actually envisioning. Cue Satriani’s “Surfing with Aliens”…
The Casimir effect has only generated a few tens of particles in two or three labs in the last half-decade. Uprating that to generate enough negative energy to power even a lab-sized measurable effect would be…difficult. Not impossible.
As to whether or not it’s horsesh!t, I wouldn’t hang my hat on that peg just yet. I know just enough about physics to know that nothing said in the article is outrageous, impossible, or wishful thinking. The MM apparatus would be sensitive enough and appropriate to measure what they want; the Casimir effect does generate negative energy (though only a few dozen particles in a decade!); and they’re absolutely correct that spacetime has no speed limit. That said, this is like trying to discuss the Higgs boson in 1916 – nothing says it can’t exist, but there’s a long, long, looooooong way to go. At least we have all the technologies needed to discuss this idea, whether or not it turns out to be feasible and/or practical.
Interestingly (for me anyway), the “negative vacuum energy” mentioned in the article is the culprit most likely responsible for the sequence of events that resulted in the big bang. Nice correlation there. Although, I understand that it was negative gravitational vacuum energy at the start of things; but either way, quantum fluctuations have a lot to answer for!
And I’d rather overfund NASA than underfund it and bitch about focus. When you’re operating on such a ridiculously tiny bankroll, everything is about serendipity.
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