Thursday, February 12, 2009

Gravity, Anti-Gravity & Space Travel

Currently, the only way we know how to get from Terra firma to space is via controlled explosions. This can be solid fuel, liquid or hybrid. The struggle, of course, is to always beat gravity, this invisible force constantly keeping you down.

The fun part is trying to beat gravity with gravity, or anti-gravity as the case may be. The challenge is that we still really have no idea what gravity is in the first place. We know its effects. We know what it does. But we have no idea what it is...fundamentally. Oh, there are countless theories, but it's not like someone has stepped up and displayed a mason jar, stating, "We finally have a bit of gravity in this jar. Woohoo!"

I have always thought there are two ways to approach the challenge of beating gravity with gravity:

One is to develop anti-gravity. I mean, it must exist, no? The one thing I can say, with almost certainty, is that the universe is an amazing balancing act. Up, down, left, right, front, back, positive, negative, black and white. It only stands to reason that somehow, anti-gravity exists that counters gravity. Of course, there are those that would argue against me, and that's fine. Debate is good. It is also obvious that finding this elusive anti-gravity thing is overtly complicated, especially since we don't even know what regular gravity is in the first place.

The second option is to make a substance that is relatively small, but very dense, such that it actually has a measureable gravity well of its own. Of course, we all have our own gravity well, but our mass is so small that the gravity we posess is effectively zero when compared to all of the other influences around us, like friction. But what if you had a substance that did attract you, even just a little, such that it's gravity waves were accessible? Then maybe you could amplify the gravity waves emitting from the object, increasing their intensity to whatever you desire.

Think about that. If you have this object above you, and you increase its intensity such that the resulting "g" value is 9.9 m/s/s, you would start accelerating up, away from Earth, at 0.1 m/s/s. Increase the value, increase the acceleration. Basically, you're falling up! You're creating a gravitational influence greater than that of the Earth. Once you get to the altitude you like, balance the value with Earth and you hover, right there, being pulled down and up with the same gravitational force. Talk about making space flight wicked easier! No drastic g forces on the way up or down. No issues with heavy heat shielding on spacecraft, because you have controlled reentry at a smooth and comfortable speed. No extreme heating.

Of these two options, I firmly believe the second one is more realistic to accomplish sooner than the first. Studying gravity to figure out what it is is an important science, but not for the purpose of space travel. Creating super heavy elements, that are stable and don't decay instantly, with their gravity waves accessible, is a science that can help human achieve the ultimate next step in space exploration...smooth and easy space flight using gravity as the fuel. I'm all for that!


Damian Ricci said...

This is the stupidest thing I have read, today.

Douglas Mallette said...

And your comment is the most unproductive thing I've read, today.

Nathan said...

Amplification and deamplification of gravitation would be wonderful, but how are you going to do it? Sounds like we need to figure out how gravity works after all! And it may well be impossible to manipulate in this way.

Simply creating super-heavy elements doesn't accomplish anything, since you still have to move them about, somehow, to make use of their gravity.

By the way, we already have anti-gravity: we call it relative velocity.

Douglas Mallette said...

Nathan - You can amplify any wave. Maybe you can amplify it like you do sound. Who knows? That's why it's a theory.

Why would you have to move the super-heavy elements around to take advantage of their naturally intrinsic external gravity waves? All you have to do is amplify the wave they naturally emit.

Bullcrap on your anti-gravity/relative velocity comment. You can't use relative velocity to counter the influence of gravity, so how is that true anti-gravity? If that were the case, then why don't you build a relative velocity drive in your garage and become a billionaire?

Monsal Varga said...

Pardon my non-scientifical background, but wouldn't it be easier to advance in the magnetic force study? Germany has great maglev trains, so I (wrongly?) assume that using magnetic forces in vertical style (in opposition to the horizontal movement of those trains) would be easier to study and implement.

As a matter of fact, if there's one force that can compete with gravity that's magnetism.

Rich Greninger said...

1) If you put an object above you and it exerts a gravitational acceleration on you, it will exert that same gravitational acceleration on the surface below you.

It sounds like you essentially want to create a point mass with the a slightly larger gravity well than that of the earth. That sounds pretty darn dangerous. I think you'd kill us all. But not to worry, because you couldn't find enough energy to amplify the wave that much.

2) How do you plan on holding this gravitational device above your spacecraft?

It's great that you want to think about and debate new ideas. Progress comes from thinking outside the box, but if you plan on getting a masters and then doctorate in physics, you might want to learn a little physics and math first.

Douglas Mallette said...

Monsal - I read research here and there on using EM as a form of propulsion. Considering EM is order of magnitudes stronger than Gravity, one would think that would be a better way to go, but as of yet nothing has been developed that can lift significant mass.

Rich - You started off with good arguments & debate, cordial and respectful, then you had to go and basically insult me, assuming that I don't have a physics and math background. You are wrong. I have an Engineering degree, and have had Engineering Physics 1 & 2, Calc 1, 2, 3 and Differential Equations. All the basic engineering classes necessary for my degree and all of which are perfectly adequate to handle this theory as well. You don't need any esoteric math to describe this theory.

Now since you bacially insulted me without knowing me, it's time to tackle your arguments, and destroy them.

1. You've forgotten about one major variable here. Distance. The point mass above your head (no more than a few meters) would exert a significantly greater force on you than it would the Earth, because the CM of the Earth is what, 6300+ km away? You talk about the math.

Last I checked, there's a whole inverse square distance rule involved in gravitational force calculations. The closer you are to the source, the significantly greater the force. And in this case, the source travels with you, so the distance remains constant, so the force exerted on the craft remains constant, and the force exerted on the planet decreases as you travel further away.

Also, given this rule, the point source does NOT have to have a gravity well greater than the Earth. In fact, it could be much less, because the distance between the two masses of the source and craft is much less. The very fact that it is only a few meters away means that you do not have to have an enormous gravity well to achieve the same result.

This is exactly why I said, "If you have this object above you, and you increase its intensity such that the resulting "g" value is 9.9 m/s/s, you would start accelerating up, away from Earth, at 0.1 m/s/s." Notice how I said "the resulting "g" value", not a g value equal to Earth. Not once did I ever state that the point source gravity well would have to be equal to the value of Earth.

I would also like to hear your explanation of how this would "kill us all." We are all point sources, albeit very small and faint ones. Creating a stronger one just gives us the ability to control the outcome.

And I like how you say we, "...couldn't find enough energy to amplify the wave that much." History is riddled with people who said things couldn't be done, but we did them anyway. I guess we can add you to the list.

2. How do you hold the device? This is a funny argument. You first basically disregard the possibility of this even being plausible, then you ask about where you'd place it. Let's cross one bridge at a time. I'm sure if this ever came to pass, there would be significant research and testing to find the optimum place to locate the drive on the ship. I don't know the answer to this, I'm just guessing. Real tests would provide real solutions.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Mass conserved? This makes no sense.

Douglas Mallette said...

I wish there was a way to ban the anonymous option for people commenting. Stand up and identify yourself.

As far as conserving mass, of course. What does that have to do with the gravitational potential of a dense material of mass with an accessible gravity wave?

Anonymous said...

Hi, my name is Anonymous, and I don't have an account or an email address.

Jonathan Koren said...

"If you have this object above you, and you increase its intensity such that the resulting "g" value is 9.9 m/s/s, you would start accelerating up, away from Earth, at 0.1 m/s/s."

Umm, and so would the Earth. A gravity well is a gravity well is a gravity well. Anything that pulls on the spacecraft would also pull on the Earth - thus the spacecraft would not move away from the Earth.

Douglas Mallette said...

Jonathan - You need to go up 4 posts and read what I said about distance. Yes, you're right, but distance has a significant influence on the force you'd experience.

Would the planet be affected, yes, but insignificantly so compared to the influence on the spacecraft which is just a few meters from the source, whereas the CG of the Earth is 6000+ meters away.

So yes, the craft would move.