The theme for Space Technology Applications International Forum II in 2013 was: when will it be possible to build craft capable of reaching the stars in reasonable lengths of time? “Reasonable” was understood to be significantly less than a human lifetime. That can only be done by implementing “exotic” technologies that are presently thought to be the stuff of science fiction. But there is at least one proposal may make such technologies practicable. It rests on “Mach’s principle” as Einstein called it. This paper, which captures the contents of the keynote talk at that conference, recapitulates how we have reached our present pass, and tells of recent experimental developments in the “Mach effects” project. Though a small-scale, table top project, steady progress has been made. For example, switching transients that may have propulsive applications are reported here. Post conference comments on claims that the quantum vacuum can be exploited for propulsive purposes are included. It is shown that such speculations are without merit.
The theory and experiments for Mach Effect Thrusters look good and are worth scaling. If it proves out and does scale with better materials and higher power levels (into the megawatt ranges) then it could enable propellantless propulsion up to 1G space drive and beyond.
The Mach Effect Thruster (MET) is a device which uses Machs principle in Einsteins general relativity to produce a constant acceleration in a device which is undergoing internal energy changes and mass fluctuations. Machs principle is a statement that the inertia of a body is the result of the gravitational interaction of the body with the rest of the mass-energy in the universe. The MET device requires no fuel as a propellant, it just needs electric power of 100-200 Watts to operate. The thrusts at the present time are small of the order of a few micro-Newtons. The first part of the paper is devoted to experiment and a description of the MET device and apparatus for measuring thrusts. The second half of the paper, we re-introduce the idea of advanced waves, by summarizing Dirac, Wheeler-Feynman and Hoyl-Narlikar. We show how Woodward’s mass fluctuation formula can be derived from first principles using the Hoyl-Narlikar (HN) theory which is a fully Machian version of Einstein’s relativity. HN theory reduces to Einstein’s field equations in the limit of smooth fluid distribution of matter and a simple coordinate transformation.
A series of tests conducted to explore the origin of the thrust signals have been performed and described, and two of those tests – the most likely spurious sources of thrust signals – are considered in some detail. The thrust signals seen, if genuine Mach effects, suggest that “advanced and exotic” propulsion can be achieved with realistic resources. Advanced and exotic means propellentless high acceleration up to near light speed and even possible stargate wormholes. Recent experiments produced 2-3 micronewtons and a refined theoretical model now more closely expects 3.2 micronewtons based upon the materials and other methods used in this case.
It is shown that if Mach’s principle is taken seriously and the inertia of a body can be described as the interaction of the body with the rest of the universe then the advanced and retarded fields transmitted between the particle and the universe can be used to solve for the force observed in the Mach Effect drive experiments.
1-G Space Drive
One-G constant acceleration and deceleration space drive would mean Earth-to-moon in 4 hours, Earth to Mars in 2-5 days, Earth to Saturn in 8-9 days.
The Space Studies Institute is raising $42,000 support Mach Effect Propulsion. They will provide the Woodward Lab at CalState Fullerton the new instrumentation, computers and power supplies that Emeritus Professor Jim Woodward and his colleague Professor Heidi Fearn need to continue their research on Mach Effect propulsion. Funds will be used by SSI to purchase new, larger power supplies and instrumentation for the lab, as well as to fabricate devices to be sent to other labs for replication. All donations are tax-deductible.
A book by Professor Jim Woodward, Making Starships and Stargates: The Science of Interstellar Transport and Absurdly Benign Wormholes (Springer Praxis Books / Space Exploration), has further heightened interest in “exotic” physics propulsion concepts.
While no one can predict if or when these technologies might become practical, we can say for certain that not funding basic research will consign any breakthroughs to the realm of science fiction forever.
Mach’s Principle and the Propulsion Problem
James Woodward explains several general relativity papers to explain how Mach effect could be used for propulsion for Stargates.
How one views the propulsion problem depends on how ambitious one is. The least ambitious version deals with the problem that serious deep space travel is all but made impossible by the requirement that one take along ridiculous amounts of propellant to get anywhere interesting in a reasonable amount of time. This version of the problem can be stated as: Is there a way to accelerate an object without expelling material propellant? The more ambitious version of the problem addresses the issue of whether it is possible to make practicable wormholes. These have been known since the work of Morris and Thorne in 1988 to require a Jupiter mass of negative restmass material confined in the throat of the wormhole. Mach’s principle leads to the prediction of transient effects that can be used to address both versions of the propulsion problem.
These effects and their implications are briefly reviewed. An experiment designed to test for the presence of Mach effects that may be applicable to the less ambitious version of the propulsion problem is then described. The effect in question is a mass fluctuation that results when an object is accelerated while its internal energy is changing. It consists of accelerating a capacitor with a piezoelectric actuator as the capacitor is driven with an alternating voltage to produce the changing internal energy needed.
Dr. James Woodward, California State University Fullerton. Fullerton, California.
There are some audio problems with this Question and Answer interview video
Making Starships and Stargates: The Science of Interstellar Transport and Absurdly Benign Wormholes
Dr. James F. Woodward explains how to build faster-than-light warp drives and even stargates, based on Mach’s principle which would allow spacetime distortions compatible with general relativity. In his research lab at California State University, Fullerton, he tries to demonstrate Mach effects in various experiments to validate the theory.
Excerpt from “Ancient Aliens: Aliens and Stargates”, Season 6, Episode 12, January 24, 2014.
The video thumbnail is from the front cover of Jim Woodward’s book “Making Starships and Stargates: The Science of Interstellar Transport and Absurdly Benign Wormholes”, Springer Publishing, 2013:
In the book Woodward walks through all of the physics and theories. He describes the history of the theories and experiments.
He describes his reasoning and why his approach to the problems of inertia, mass are engineering exploitation of it are plausible based on an interpretation of accepted physics.
Other physicists know what the formulas from Einstein and Mach imply but have tried to make up reasons to deny it. are aware of the terms in the formulas of Einstein and Mach but usually view them as parts of formulas which need to be patched to exclude negative results.
Here is the exact quote from the Foreward from John Cramer –
“Many of the theoretical physicists who work with general relativity have fundamental objections to the very idea of wormholes and warp drives, which they consider to be unphysical. Some of them have decided that one should erect a “picket fence” around those solutions of Einstein’s equations that are considered to be physically reasonable and to place exotica such as stable traversable wormholes, faster-than-light warp drives and time machines in the forbidden area outside the fence, excluded because it is presumed that nature does not allow such disreputable objects to exist. They are, in effect, attempting to discover new laws of physics that would place restrictions on GR solutions.”
Looser quotes that cover the picket fence theories –
“Their first attempt at building the fence was called the Weak Energy Condition (WEC)… Average Weak Energy Condition (AWEC)…
The WEC, AWEC, and the other similar energy rules are “made up” laws of nature and are not derivable from general relativity. They appear to be obeyed for observations of all known forms of matter and energy that do not fall within the domain of quantum mechanics. However, even for simple situations involving quantum phenomena (examples : the Casimir effect, squeezed vacuum, and the Hawking evaporation of black holes), the WEC and AWEC are both violated.
“…more recently quantum inequalities…quantum field theory cannot be trusted for some applications…missed fundamental calculation by 50 orders of magnitude”
For the regular propulsion aspect, they have achieved tens of micronewtons of force in labtop experiments.
For the stargate/wormhole aspect, this is the second term in a key formula which is always negative. He shows how the areas of inertia and mass and the exact nature of the electron are weakspots in current physics and the best work in this area is the work of Einstein and Mach.
His solution depends on understanding the nature of electrons in terms of a semi-classical extension of the exact, general relativistic electron model of Arnowitt, Deser, and Misner (ADM), and Mach’s Principle.
The negative bare mass ADM model of the electron can be modified to accommodate quantized spin.
Given some modest amount of everyday type matter, say a few hundred or thousand kilograms, all we have to do is enclose the matter within another presumably thin shell of matter wherein we can change its mass from positive to negative. It would have to become sufficiently negative to null the positive mass of the initial mass of the shell and the matter it encloses. But if we could do that, we would screen the gravitational influence of the matter in the rest of the universe on the matter within the thin shell.
Find a way to screen our electron from the gravitational potential due to the rest of the universe, the denominator would become of order unity and the exotic bare mass of the electron – 21 orders of magnitude larger than its normal mass and negative – would be exposed. Do this to a modest amount of normal stuff and you would have your Jupiter mass of exotic matter to make a traversable stargate – if the negative bare mass ADM model of elementary particles is a plausible representation of reality.
John Cramer in the Foreward notes that the density of dark matter from the quantum field theory density was off by 50 orders of magnitude from the result calculated from cosmic background radiation observations and other physical observation. Since quantum field theory is way off on the energy content of vacuum, then the restrictions it places on metric engineering cannot be taken seriously.
There are many useful insights in the book.
It will help get a better understanding of advanced physics and why certain interpretations have issues. Things like how some interpretations of the nature of the electron were resulting in electron spin that was many times the speed of light.
The heat generated by the Mach Effect devices has to be managed.
The Mach Effect devices will degrade over time.
What would really help future work –
Developing modelling codes to help guide design
Creating an infrared window in the experiment so detailed thermal imaging and readings can be taken.
Mach effect propulsion will be better with an array of many devices for enhanced maneuverability (point some in different directions to change the angle of movement) and smaller units are easier to cool and multiple units allow for some to fail while the overall system continues to work
It is a very worthwhile book to understand the landscape of the physics which must be understood to get to very advanced propulsion and any possible develop of wormholes for travel.
Carver Mead is a key pioneer of modern microelectronics. His 40-year academic and industry career touches all aspects of microelectronics, from spearheading the development of tools and techniques for modern integrated circuit design, to laying the foundation for fabless semiconductor companies, to catalyzing the electronic design automation field, to training generations of engineers, to founding more than twenty companies, including Actel Corporation, Silicon Compilers, Synaptics, and Sonic Innovations.
Mead Says the Quantum Mechanics Revolution of Physics is Blocked and Incomplete
Carver Mead said that we’re all taught that there was a revolution in scientific thought that started with relativity and quantum mechanics. “Actually, that’s not the case,” he said. “A revolution is when something goes clear around. And what happened starting in the first 25 years of the 20th century was that there was the beginning of a revolution, and it got stuck about a quarter of the way around.”
From Mead’s point of view, the key to a more intuitive explanation of the universe lies in not only the interrelationships of matter and forces, but also a better understanding of the electron. “We need to treat the wave functions of our electrons as real wave functions,” he said. “I have found personally that I had to go all the way back and reformulate the laws of electromagnetism, starting with the quantum nature of the electron as the foundation.”
Look to Mach Principle for the Quantum Nature of the electron and Inertia
A more holistic approach was suggested by none other than the Austrian physicist and philosopher Ernst Mach. As Mead tells it, Mach “took Newton to task. He said, ‘Look, your idea of absolute motion is a stupid idea. Motion can only have meaning when what it is that’s moving is moving relative to other matter in the universe’.”
Einstein, of course, was mightily influenced by what the ex–patent clerk called Mach’s Principle, which Mead explained as the proposition that “the inertia of every element of matter is due to its interaction with all the other elements of matter in the universe.”