I've suggested (& published in 21 journal papers) a new theory called quantised inertia (or MiHsC) that assumes that inertia is caused by horizons damping quantum fields. It predicts galaxy rotation & lab thrusts without any dark stuff or adjustment. My University webpage is here, I've written a book called Physics from the Edge and I'm on twitter as @memcculloch. Most of my content is at patreon now: here

Saturday 4 February 2017

Proxima Centauri or Bust

The fastest object launched by man so far is the New Horizons probe which was launched directly into a Sol escape trajectory and is traveling now beyond Pluto at 16.26 km/s. At this speed it would get from London to New York in about 6 minutes. Even so, it would get to our nearest stellar neighbour, Proxima Centauri, if it was heading that way, in 78,600 years. This is the state of our space propulsion at the present time. Pretty weenie!

What we need to do is to get close enough to the speed of light so that relativistic time dilation slows time down from those on the ship (and keep the acceleration time short, because it does the opposite) so that physics gives us a kind of built-in suspended animation. Slo-time for those on the ship, but not for those back on Earth. In this way, say at half light speed you could get to Proxima Centauri in 8 years (measured from the Earth) and 4 years as measured on the ship. A four year trip to explore/settle another Solar system is not that bad! It is theoretically possible, but the big problem, and it's a pretty big one as problems go, is that to get a ship of similar size as the Space Station (400 tonnes) to 0.5c would take about 27 times the entire energy output of our civilisation per year. Another way of looking at it is that that you'd need to carry a planet-sized amount of fuel.

But, in my opinion, and I believe I now have enough evidence for quantised inertia / MiHsC / horizon dynamics to say this boldly, there is another way. The zero point field predicted by Einstein and Stern (1913) is all around us and we have been mostly oblivious to it. It is like air pressure: an intense 100,000 Newtons per metre. We don't notice it because it is uniform, but if you try to make it non-uniform (ie: make a vacuum) you suddenly notice it, because if you don't build a tough vacuum chamber then it would implode violently.

A kind of 'vacuum' can be made in the zero point field using two metal plates placed very close to each other (the Casimir effect) and this also makes a force as has been confirmed experimentally. Quantised inertia says that whenever a metal plate, or an object's acceleration, or a limit-to-what-we-can-view makes a 'horizon', then this damps the zero point field making it non-uniform and able to push on the objects. In this way quantised inertia simply explains the previously unexplained phenomenon of inertia, galaxy rotation without dark matter, cosmic acceleration without dark energy, and the emdrive.

We can apply all this to our travel problem. Imagine a spaceship with a horizon in front of it (see Figure). The horizon would damp the zero point field in front of the ship, making something like a virtual vacuum there. Suddenly there would be a force (analogous to the force caused by the air-vacuum) that would pull the ship forwards. Note that no heavy fuel is required, just a horizon/shield. The emdrive, in my opinion, is doing just this, and quantised inertia predicts the emdrive's thrust very well (see recent post).

Mainwhile mainstream physics is, in my opinion, wasting millions searching for dark matter that quantised inertia has shown is not needed, and other studies have also falsified. The mainstream should really start to pay attention to quantised inertia. They could help immensely: there is a lot of scope for improvement and extension of the theory. The bonuses would be a unification of physics (quantised inertia combines quantum mechanics and relativity), an explanation for astrophysical anomalies like galaxy rotation, and cosmic acceleration, and the opening up of entire new kind of horizon-engineering (which amounts to an manipulation of space-time, for lifting, transport and launching). We could also stop messing around in space weenie-town and start thinking of galactic settlement. No other planet in our Solar system is pleasantly habitable, but many other Solar systems will have their 'Earths' at just the right distance from their sun.  There's a possibly habitable planet orbiting Proxima Centauri. Wouldn't it be fascinating to visit?

"Really mankind, the plans for demolition have been available on Alpha Centauri which is only 4 light years away you know. I'm sorry, but if you can't be bothered with local affairs than it's your own fault..." - Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz' comments on the demolition of Earth to make way for a new hyperspace bypass (Douglas Adams).

qraal said...

A trip to Proxima at 1 gee - braking to a halt after flipping at the half-way point - gets there in 6 Earth-time years and about 3.5 years Ship-time, with a top speed of ~0.95 c. That's about the quickest trip if you want to be comfortable. Suspend yourself in oxygenated fluorocarbons under pressure, taking care to fill ALL body cavities with the fluid, and ramp the acceleration up to 30 gee. Then the trip takes 115 days Ship-time, and a tad over 4.22 years Earth-time. Top speed is a blistering 0.99989 c.

joesixpack said...

Sir,

Will the EM Drive in itself create a warp bubble like what Dr Harold White is working on?

Do you think the superconducting EM drives are as many times as powerful than the "normal" versions as Fetta and Shawyer claim?

Do you reckon it would be feasible to scale an RF cavity thruster with a (very) small nuclear reactor?

Nicolas said...

Because the shield is part of the spacecraft, wouldn't the spacecraft (including shield) still see the same radiations on all sides?

Mike McCulloch said...

qraal: It may be possible to damp inertia inside the ship: avoid the internal stress caused by high acceleration.

Mike McCulloch said...

Joesixpack:

Question 1: When I originally applied MiHsC to the emdrive, I had the photons changing speed, so that a relativistic spacetime dilation would have been needed inside the cavity. I now have a new modified derivation (a simplified one) that I have submitted to a journal, and which is tentative but does not need a change in photon speed. So my answer may be in the process of changing..

2: Yes, MiHsC predicts a superconducting emdrive would be far more powerful, due to the higher Q.

3: Nuclear reactors need to be pretty heavy. An RTG might be a better bet.

Mike McCulloch said...

Nicolas: The shield is not just a simple interceptor of radiation, but a more subtle 'damper'. An analogy would be a boat in a wavy sea with a flexible 'skirt' on one side that takes energy out of the waves in a lateral (up-down) direction, and so stops them impacting on that side. The boat will then be impacted more by waves from the other side and move towards the skirt.

Unknown said...

Perhaps something like this, it works by bending the incoming photons around the object to be cloaked, thus the object would feel no radiation pressure.

https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/170709-new-invisibility-cloak-combines-metamaterials-and-fancy-electronics-to-be-thinner-lighter-more-invisible

qraal said...

Hi Mike

An inertial damper would be very handy :-) But, for now, that's another impossible thing to believe before breakfast. If we could dampen 100 gee to just 1 gee, then the Proxima trip would take 43 days Ship-time. Of course the CMB and the proton-storm the vehicle flies through gets rough at high gamma-factors. The CMB is hotter than the Sun at a gamma of 2,200, which is a 44 light year trip at 100 gee.

As for RTGs vs reactors, RTGs have intrinsically lower power-to-mass ratios than reactors. Thus RTGs are good for powering space probe systems, but not very useful for propulsion power, which needs higher power-to-mass ratios.

Mike McCulloch said...

Stuart: Yes, metamaterial cloaking may be the key. Please see section 4 of my paper here: https://arxiv.org/abs/0712.3022 (pls note that some of the rest of the paper is now out of date).

David Schroeder said...

Makes you wonder if other civilizations haven't already developed highly effective meta-materials. I have read many, many UFO reports where the object underwent accelerations that would have squashed any soft tissue biological life form.

Mike McCulloch said...

David: While it's good to be open minded about it, and I am, it is also important only to use repeatable, solid data when making decisions in science. While I'm intrigued by UFO reports, we should avoid basing any science on them at this stage.

Eric Fithian said...

Have you seen this project?
www.spacewarpdynamicsllc.com

Perhaps they are creating an effective horizon!

Beyond investigating Mars and other oddities in the local system, I want to sneak out to Boyajian's Star or "Tabby's Star," (KIC8462852) and see what is happening there.......

Mike McCulloch said...

Accounts of 'planes traveling thru wormholes' is rather implausible (easy to check using GPS) but I like their experiment..

Eric Fithian said...

Bruce Gernon's flight occurred on 4 December 1970, rather too early for GPS....

He reportedly traveled 250 miles in 47 minutes, for an actual speed of 319 miles per hour. His air craft (Beechcraft A-36 Bonanza) was rated for a maximum speed of 234 Miles per hour.
He reportedly used 9 fewer gallons of fuel than the normal flight.

Being only 14 years old at the time, and residing some 2000 miles away at the time, I cannot vouch for either the conditions or the incident at first-hand, but I really see no reason to question the verity of his report....

At any rate, I *very much like* the promise of getting 1.5 Newtons per Watt; though that might not account for the real Overhead, just as a Compact Fluorescent Lamp of "14 Watts" actually draws 26 Watts. . .!

Could you dig an elevator ("lift") with no cables?
Perhaps all the way to Geostationary orbit? ...
How about a traffic signal able to Absolutely Prevent violations !
Of course, we might well be playing Bumper Cars 300 meters above the ground....

Unknown said...

Mike. Re:

Question 1: When I originally applied MiHsC to the emdrive, I had the photons changing speed, so that a relativistic spacetime dilation would have been needed inside the cavity. I now have a new modified derivation (a simplified one) that I have submitted to a journal, and which is tentative but does not need a change in photon speed. So my answer may be in the process of changing..

You didn't quite seem to answer Joesixpack's question about Sonny White's Alcubierre-variant warp drive proposal.

Do you see horizon mechanics leading to negative mass/ inertial modification outcomes that would allow for Thorne or Alcubierre metric effects? I.e. traversable wormholes and warp drives as discussed for almost 30 years now. There has been a lot of work on more "practical" designs than the original proposals in that interim, with Jim Woodward's and Sonny White's concepts being notable at this point.

Ireland as seen from America said...

Regarding sources of electricity: RTGs are horribly inefficient. They are useful because they are simple. Human spaceflight could easily carry technicians and tools to maintain a nuclear reactor. LFTR (Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor) designs are very capable and could be ready in very short time if adequate funding and permission were granted. Stellarator fusion reactors of which Wedelstein 7-x is a prototype have more funding, but will require even more funding and much more time to make available. To put it in a more brutal comparison: LFTR is basically an engineering problem, were as fusion through stellarators are still in the realm of science and success cannot be achieved just by pouring money onto the project. Engineering problems are more often solved by more money and require less time.

The sad part is that we're still converting heat to electricity through turbines. We need some sort of a simpler, more 'solid state'reactor to improve reliability without losing efficiency. Can we make a flux of neutrons ring a bell at 2.4 ghz?

BillyHW said...

How thick of a lead shield at the front of the spacecraft would you need to deflect all the particles you'd be encountering at half the speed of light? At .95 the speed of light?

Unknown said...

I will use the same MiHsC technology of the EmDrive to deflect the particles when traveing at 0.95 c and create a good shield:

First just create a Rindler horizon in front of the spacecraft to generate a much lesser inertia on any particle approaching you. You need to decelerate a big mass in front of you to reduce inertia of the dust you are encountering.

Later, with same EmDrive system, create a gravitational lensing to deflect the dust in both sides of the spacecraft. That is, you need 3 EmDrives, one to propell, other more subtle to alter Rinler hroizon to reduce inertia in front, and another one to deflect the dust to the sides...

Work for HORIZON DYNAMICS ENGINEERS... ¿want to join the challenge?