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Stardrive

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120321-searching-for-a-starship/1
PS Another inaccuracy is that I never said I thought the phone calls were from a computer on board a spacecraft.
I only said that that was what the computer voice in 1953 said it was.
I suspect it was US Army Intelligence doing a project on gifted kids since I was already being studied by them since age ten or so. My grandfather was a Army employee at the time and I used to hang out at US Army Quartermaster Corps in Manhattan Garment District near the John Wannamaker building where Captain Video serial was shot. I used to watch them doing it once or twice. This was maybe 1951 or so?
On Mar 22, 2012, at 6:46 PM, JACK SARFATTI wrote:
Fantastic Sharon - great job!
One inaccuracy Creon Levit told me that it was General Pete Worden who actually made the decision to invite me not Creon. ;-)
Is a Pentagon plan for a spaceship travel outside our solar system a crackpot idea, or a visionary blueprint for reaching the stars?
When Jack Sarfatti was 13 years old, he began receiving phone calls from a strange metallic voice that told him he would someday become part of an elite group of scientists exploring uncharted territory. Those calls, which he believes may have come from a computer on a spacecraft, proved a seminal influence on his life and led him to pursue a career that combined mainstream physics with an enduring interest in UFOs and the far-out reaches of science.
For those who might dismiss Sarfatti as a crank, he is quick to point out that he is not interested in debating the reality of little green men, but rather whether the existence of UFOs might prove that the technology required for interstellar travel is possible. “It’s the physics that interests me,” says Sarfatti, who received his PhD in the subject from the University of California.
That experience, and interest, also helped make Sarfatti one of the key figures invited last year to help formulate an unusual government programme: the 100-Year Starship (100YSS).   ...
But the 100YSS is not a fringe activity started by a bunch of dreamers. It has the backing of two high-profile US agencies – the space agency Nasa and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), the US military agency that helped create the internet and satellite-based navigation. Darpa has a track record for these kinds of seemingly impossible technologies: in recent years it has sponsored attempts to develop a hypersonic aircraft and driverless cars.
But even those might pale next to the goal of sending a manned spaceship to the stars. And the agency’s willingness to embrace unconventional ideas and people – like Sarfatti – means the project divides opinion. For its backers it is a visionary blueprint for interstellar travel. For the naysayers, it is a crackpot idea with no hope of even getting off the ground.
For those who might consider a starship something of a pipedream, David Neyland, the head of the Darpa office in charge of the 100YSS, points to the agency’s ability to spur innovation in unexpected areas, an ability that has proven critical to its success. “The iPhone in your pocket is powered by cellular radio technology that came out of communications research Darpa did back in the 70s and 80s,” says Neyland. “So it is that unintended consequence of technology research that we are hoping to inspire.”
...
In January 2011, Darpa and Nasa convened a handful of people, including Sarfatti, to help shape the project. It was decided that the government would provide a modest seed fund of just $500,000 – a drop in the ocean compared to Darpa’s annual budget of about $3 billion – to a foundation that could demonstrate its ability to advance thinking on interstellar travel. Darpa believes the chosen group will then find new sources of revenue, either through commercialising technologies or private donations. And, of course, if there are a few spin-off technologies that Darpa – whose main customer is the US Department of Defense – can exploit, then all the better. ...
Nasa has since stepped back, allowing Darpa – which has even hired a public relations firm to handle publicity for the project – to take the lead. Despite that initial misstep, a conference open to the public held late last year proved popular. At a panel on breakthrough propulsion, an audience eager to hear about warp drive and faster-than-light travel spilled out of the room and into the hallway.
And no wonder, since many of the ideas sounded like they had come straight out of a Hollywood script for going where no man has gone before. Sarfatti proposed a low-power warp drive (a faster-than light propulsion system) that involves the warping of spacetime around the starship. His idea involves using new meta-materials – which change how light is refracted –  to slow the speed of light, while also creating a repulsive anti-gravity effect, creating a warp bubble surrounding the starship. This approach, Sarfatti anticipates, would break the space-time barrier, allowing the spaceship to travel beyond the speed of light in its own bubble. (A related Sarfatti proposal involves using a “quantum entanglement communicator”, which would allow the ship’s crew to speak with people back on Earth). ...
But Levit, the Nasa scientist, says these sorts of breakthrough propulsion ideas, however far-fetched, have to be considered, because they are the only way mankind could conceivably cover the vast distances to other stars.
“Nuclear fusion, if you’re willing to have a 1,000 year mission, is worth talking about,” says Levit, although even this is also an unproven technology, despite decades of effort on Earth.
“But I tend to agree with Jack [Sarfatti] on this: in order to do this, we have to have a breakthrough. We have to have a warp drive.”
Levit, who was the one who invited Sarfatti to the initial 100-Year Starship meeting, says unusual interests shouldn’t make someone off-limits. Mainstream scientists are tied down, argues Levit, and someone like Sarfatti is free to talk about ideas like antigravity propulsion without fear of repercussions on his career. “Although his interests and style are outside of the mainstream, he is a fully pedigreed physicist and he knows as much or more than mainstream physicists,” Levit says. “When he talks about warp drives, he knows what he’s talking about. He knows he’s speculating.” ...
But Levit, the Nasa scientist, says these sorts of breakthrough propulsion ideas, however far-fetched, have to be considered, because they are the only way mankind could conceivably cover the vast distances to other stars.
“Nuclear fusion, if you’re willing to have a 1,000 year mission, is worth talking about,” says Levit, although even this is also an unproven technology, despite decades of effort on Earth.
“But I tend to agree with Jack [Sarfatti] on this: in order to do this, we have to have a breakthrough. We have to have a warp drive.”
Levit, who was the one who invited Sarfatti to the initial 100-Year Starship meeting, says unusual interests shouldn’t make someone off-limits. Mainstream scientists are tied down, argues Levit, and someone like Sarfatti is free to talk about ideas like antigravity propulsion without fear of repercussions on his career. “Although his interests and style are outside of the mainstream, he is a fully pedigreed physicist and he knows as much or more than mainstream physicists,” Levit says. “When he talks about warp drives, he knows what he’s talking about. He knows he’s speculating.”