Last week I traveled all the way to San Francisco to attend the Foresight Institute's Space Workshop. The meeting was held at the HQ of the 50 Years VC firm by the Randall Museum. It was a modern building and very St Francis: soft pillows, intense light, vegetarian buffets (nice!), beautiful views, small nooks with Buddha statues in them... The atmosphere was relaxed but highly organised.
I gave my talk, saying that QI has been proven without a doubt in space (galaxies and wide binaries), it predicts that we can get propellant-less thrust, lab tests are backing this which means we can get a probe to the Oort cloud in a year and Proxima Centauri in 10 or so. They also asked me for a challenge and offhand I said "How to fund a Horizon Institute to work on and apply QI". I felt then that this was a little selfish, but given I am losing my university post, it was the problem I had come here to solve so I let it stand. Anyway, several people voted for it and it came second and was combined with Robert Zubrin's challenge for a Mars Institute to work on colonisation by doing things first on Earth and Creon Levit's welcome plan for the Mavericks' Institute. We were called Team 1.
The next day we had a grievance session in which Zubrin repeated his interesting comment that NASA has the same budget in the 2010s it had in the 60s for Apollo but is no longer "storming the heavens", and there should be a property office for space to encourage space mining and a new gold rush. Creon Levit said that universities and institutions no longer tolerate mavericks, which is very true. I pointed out that after I published something on the Podkletnov effect I was banned from the arXiv, which is not to say I necessarily believe the Podkletnov effect, but an academic must have the right to look at anomalies without cancellation, otherwise the old theories are never going to be tested and improved.
We were then divided into our Teams. Team 1 met: Creon Levit, Robert Zubrin, Larry Lemke & I. In the relaxed surroundings and leadership from Creon, the group decided the best way forward was for Larry to test a QI capacitor drive in a 1U cubesat setup. Geffen Avraham then sat down next to me and offered to launch it! I offered of course to provide advice. Put the right people together on a comfy sofa and see what happens. We presented our plan to all, as did other groups, and there was a vote using Feynman Bucks. Our plan won the nominal 1st Prize of $3000.
The other groups had suggested projects involving Mike Grace's shoot-cargo-into-space (a brilliant idea that fits his larger than life character perfectly and that he is developing - he took people to see his hypersonic accelerator), proving on-orbit robot manufacture by building a long space stick (astronomer Martin Elvis was not happy) , investigating the biological dangers of colonising Mars, and the Mars Institute devoted to doing it (Zubrin and Carol Stoker have a long running debate about this). As a coda, it was suggested in jest that we could combine all these, by launching with Mike Grace's space gun, building the stick, using QI to get it to Mars, whereupon Carol Carol and Zubrin could debate whether it should land.
Overall, it was a great example of how a shared vision, a relaxing environment and first class organisation can lead to positive results. Thank you to the Foresight Team.
PS: Thanks to a doctor, a nurse & the flight crew on my way to San Francisco who probably saved my life.