Skip to comments.Scientists receive $1.3 million to study new propulsion idea for spacecraft
Posted on 09/17/2018 4:44:12 PM PDT by LibWhacker
Spacecraft and satellites could in future be launched into space without the need for fuel, thanks to a revolutionary new theory.
Dr Mike McCulloch, from the University of Plymouth, first put forward the idea of quantised inertia (QI) through which he believes light can be converted into thrust in 2007.
He has now received $1.3million from the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for a four-year study which aims to make the concept a reality.
The QI theory predicts that objects can be pushed by differences in the intensity of so-called Unruh radiation in space, similar to the way in which a ship can be pushed towards a dock because there are more waves hitting it from the seaward side.
The theory has already predicted galaxy rotation without dark matter, and the fact that if a system is accelerated enough such as a spinning disc or light bouncing between mirrors the Unruh waves it sees can be influenced by a shield. Therefore, if a damper is placed above the object, it should produce a new kind of upwards thrust.
Chemical rockets are very expensive because of the explosive propellant they need, so this new kind of thruster would be much cheaper and safer as it would only need a source of electrical power to accelerate the core of a thruster.
Dr McCulloch, Lecturer in Geomatics at the University, believes the study could benefit all forms of propulsion and transport, with a potentially transformative impact on space launch systems, aircraft and cars. He said:
I believe QI could be a real game changer for space science. I have always thought it could be used to convert light into thrust, but it also suggests ways to enhance that thrust. It is hugely exciting to now have the opportunity to test it.
The research is being funded through DARPAs Nascent Light-Matter Interactions (NLM) programme, which aims to improve the fundamental understanding of how to control the interaction of light and engineered materials.
It will see Dr McCulloch collaborating with experimental scientists from the Technische Universität Dresden in Germany, and the University of Alcala in Spain.
Over the first 18 months, the Plymouth team will seek to develop a fully predictive theoretical model of how matter interacts with light (Unruh radiation) using the quantised inertia model. This will provide a new predictive tool for light-matter interactions.
A series of experiments will then be conducted in Germany and Spain to test whether the thrust is specifically due to quantised inertia, and whether it can be enhanced significantly.
Ultimately, what this could mean is you would need no propellant to launch a satellite, Dr McCulloch added. But it would also mean you only need a source of electrical power, for example solar power, to move any craft once it is in space. It has the potential to make interplanetary travel much easier, and interstellar travel possible.
If it were really revolutionary it would be in the billions and we’d never know about it.
Use that magic stuff the Star Ship Enterprise used.
They are not using the Dean Drive?
How about harnessing psionic energy? Smart people could propel starships up to faster-than-light speeds, thus making interstellar travel practical and relatively cheap.
From another point of view:
Science isnt easy. It isnt supposed to be. The process of open publication, peer review and clear data are a part of science because they help us understand how the Universe works. It can be inconvenient and contentious, but it works. Through this process, new ideas are faced with an uphill battle. This is particularly true of ideas that would contradict the foundational theories of physics. So its tempting to react to such opposition by playing a different game. Rather than addressing criticism, you start building a story where your idea is obviously right, and others are simply too closed-minded to see it. Down that path lies pseudoscience, and sometimes you can watch it happening. Take for example, Mike McCullochs theory of Modified inertia by a Hubble-scale Casimir effect (MiHsC), also known as quantized inertia.
There are problems with this idea from the get-go. For one thing, the Unruh effect in standard quantum theory is extraordinarily small. If you accelerated a trillion times greater than Earth gravity, youd only see a thermal temperature of 40 billionths of a degree above absolute zero. Furthermore, since Unruh radiation comes from all directions, it couldnt create the effects of inertia on its own. But rather than be deterred by this, McCulloch adds other effects into the mix. Since the observable universe is finite, the wavelengths of Unruh radiation is limited, and combined with a cosmic Casimir effect and a bit of information theory, can somehow produce the effect of inertia. The Unruh effect, Casimir effect and information theory are all well established in modern physics, but their hodge-podge combination in MiHsC is misapplied.
A bunch of ten-legged hamsters spinning gear wheels.
Or zero point energy.
Star Wars Regan project: Its a push with another push propeller in the bush.
Unruh - wasn’t he that scumbag California pol some years back?
Well ya know they got them Honda generators on sale at the Home Depot!
Is this anything like the “light sail”?
Solar sails (also called light sails or photon sails) are a proposed method of spacecraft propulsion using radiation pressure exerted by sunlight on large mirrors. A useful analogy may be a sailing boat; the light exerting a force on the mirrors is akin to a sail being blown by the wind. High-energy laser beams could be used as an alternative light source to exert much greater force than would be possible using sunlight, a concept known as beam sailing.
Solar sail craft offer the possibility of low-cost operations combined with long operating lifetimes. Since they have few moving parts and use no propellant, they can potentially be used numerous times for delivery of payloads.
Solar sails use a phenomenon that has a proven, measured effect on spacecraft. Solar pressure affects all spacecraft, whether in interplanetary space or in orbit around a planet or small body. A typical spacecraft going to Mars, for example, will be displaced thousands of kilometers by solar pressure, so the effects must be accounted for in trajectory planning, which has been done since the time of the earliest interplanetary spacecraft of the 1960s. Solar pressure also affects the orientation of a craft, a factor that must be included in spacecraft design.
The total force exerted on an 800 by 800 meter solar sail, for example, is about 5 newtons (1.1 lbf) at Earth’s distance from the Sun, making it a low-thrust propulsion system, similar to spacecraft propelled by electric engines, but as it uses no propellant, that force is exerted almost constantly and the collective effect over time is great enough to be considered a potential manner of propelling spacecraft.
I’m afraid I agree with him. I wonder what DARPA is doing giving him so much money?
No, I don’t think it’s the same at all. The solar sail idea is well established and has some interesting possibilities. This QI stuff really does sound like junk science to me, but we’ll see. I just don’t understand any of it.
Cats can push anything off a table. They should harness cats to do it.
All your base are belong to us.
The solar sail is a really interesting idea, because we were taught in physics 101 that photons do not have any mass. Turns out that isn’t exactly so. They have what’s known as an “effective mass”, or “relativistic mass”.
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