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Stardrive

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120321-searching-for-a-starship/1

While some of you have seen my actual DARPA paper apparently some of you have not.
So once again.

On Mar 29, 2012, at 12:23 PM, Jeremiah Hansen wrote:

While Einstein has a powerful methodology, it doesn't describe everything we know, or think we know. Jack, or a qualified contemporary, should work on describing some experiments as they are necessary to prove or disprove and move us closer to our goal.


I replied:

More than one qualified contemporary needs to work on it - dozens do, hundreds do. ;-)
Since special meta-materials need to be developed this is a major project over many disciplines.
As I said one lab is working on a project that seems to them to be possibly related to my proposal. I have been asked not to jump their gun. It’s up to them to disclose.

Jim Woodward’s description below of my idea is very good. Now if he would only be as clear on his own original theory. ;-)

Please note, I got to this idea by thinking suppose flying saucers are real? How could they possibly work? This strategy was shouted down by Eric Davis and Mark Millis and I think it was Ken Olum and another sci-fi writer at the 100 year Star Ship meeting when I proposed it. Only Doug Trumbull (2001 etc) supported it the next day at the closing meeting. Of course that was bizarre since Millis received $ from Joe Firmage’s ISSO and Eric Davis is a well known expert in saucers working for both Bob Bigelow and Hal Puthoff. Indeed, Eric wrote a paper on “high strangeness” with UFO investigator Jacques Vallee.

On Mar 29, 2012, at 7:15 AM, jfwoodward@juno.com wrote:

I'm going to tackle half of the exotic propulsion stuff tonight and briefly sketch Jack's proposal.  I'll leave the Mach effect stuff to the weekly update in a couple of days.

The chief problem of exotic propulsion is plain on examination of Einstein's field equations which say:

  geometry = 3D coupling constant X matter sources

The problem is the coupling constant.  It is 8 pi G/c^4.  This is an exceedingly small number (unless you use "natural" units and set G and c to one).  In order to get any significant geometry distortions, the matter sources have to be enormous -- and negative if you are trying to hold a traversable wormhole open.

Jack's way of attacking this problem has two parts.  The first part addresses the small coupling constant.  He says, what if the constant isn't a constant at all, but a coefficient that can have a range of values instead?  How might that be?  Well, what if the vacuum speed of light (in the denominator) is really the speed of light in media?  If this is so, then the index of refraction goes into the numerator of the coefficient.  Now, in superconductors (Bose-Einstein condensates in particular) the speed of light can be a literal crawl -- making the index of refraction 1= 10^10.  Since the index in the coefficient is raised to the 4th power, we now have a factor of 10^40 that otherwise doesn't appear in Einstein's equations.  And only small amounts of matter should suffice to produce prodigious distortions.

The second part of Jack's proposal deals with the negativity (exoticity) of the matter needed to thread a wormhole throat.  He notes that in metamaterials, the permitivity and permeability of such materials is negative.  Since they are multipliers of the squares of the electric and magnetic field strengths in the calculation of the energy density of a field present in a metamaterial, he argues that such materials can make exotic stuff.  Normally, the negativity of mu and epsilon is taken to mean that the phase and group velocities of waves in the field are in opposite directions.  Jack deals with this by asserting that the fields are to be DC fields.  No propagating waves to get you off the hook that is.

If he's right, low power warp drives are possible.  The neat thing about this proposal is that should he get off his duff and calculate some predictions, in principle his ideas are testable in the lab.  Since both Bose-Einstein condensates and metamaterials are already tested in existing labs, the sort of infrastructure that otherwise would have to be developed is already in place.  So, with some explicit predictions, it should be possible to find out pretty quickly whether this scheme will work in fact.  And it shouldn't cost some large amount of money to get the work done.

More later.

Best,

Jim


Jim grossly underestimates the magnitude of the problem here. Many disciplines - many experimental specialists are needed. The problem here is like that needed to build the atomic bomb in my opinion.