To achieve interstellar travel, the Kline Directive instructs us to be bold, to explore what others have not, to seek what others will not, to change what others dare not. To extend the boundaries of our knowledge, to advocate new methods, techniques and research, to sponsor change not status quo, on 5 fronts, Legal Standing, Safety Awareness, Economic Viability, Theoretical-Empirical Relationship, & Technological Feasibility.
In this post I have updated the Interstellar Challenge Matrix (ICM) to guide us through the issues so that we can arrive at interstellar travel sooner, rather than later:
Interstellar Challenge Matrix (Partial Matrix)
|Propulsion Mechanism||Relatively Safe?||Theoretical-Empirical Relationship?|
|Conventional Fuel Rockets:||Yes, but susceptible to human error.||Known. Theoretical foundations are based on Engineering Feasible Theories, and have been evolving since Robert Goddard invented the first liquid-fueled rocket in 1926.|
|Antimatter Propulsion:||No. Extensive gamma ray production (Carl Sagan). Issue is how does one protect the Earth? Capable of an End of Humanity (EOH) event.||Dependent on Millennium Theories. John Eades states in no uncertain terms that antimatter is impossible to handle and create.|
|Atomic Bomb Pulse Detonation:||No, because (Project Orion) one needs to be able to manage between 300,000 and 30,000,000 atomic bombs per trip.||Known and based on Engineering Feasible Theories.|
|Time Travel:||Do Not Know. Depends on how safely exotic matter can be contained.||Dependent on a Millennium Theory. Exotic matter hypotheses are untested. No experimental evidence to show that Nature allows for a breakdown in causality.|
|String / Quantum Foam Based Propulsion:||Do Not Know. Depends on how safely exotic matter can be contained.||Dependent on a Millennium Theory. String theories have not been experimentally verified. Exotic matter hypotheses are untested. Existence of Quantum Foam now suspect (Robert Nemiroff).|
|Small Black Hole Propulsion:||No. Capable of an End Of Humanity (EOH) event||Don’t know if small black holes really do exist in Nature. Their theoretical basis should be considered a Millennium Theory.|
It is quite obvious that the major impediments to interstellar travel are the Millennium Theories. Let us review. Richard Feynman (Nobel Prize 1965) & Sheldon Lee Glashow (Nobel Prize 1979) have criticized string theory for not providing novel experimental predictions at accessible energy scales, but other theoretical physicists (Stephen Hawking, Edward Witten, Juan Maldacena and Leonard Susskind) believe that string theory is a step towards the correct fundamental description of nature. The Wikipedia article String Theory gives a good overview, and notes other critics and criticisms of string theories. In What is String Theory? Alberto Güijosa explains why string theories have come to dominate theoretical physics. It is about forces, and especially about unifying gravity with the other three forces.
Note, strings expand when their energy increases but the experimental evidence aka Lorentz-Fitzgerald transformations tell us that everything contracts with velocity i.e. as energy is increased.
In my opinion, the heady rush to a theory of everything is misguided, because there is at least one question that physics has not answered that is more fundamental than strings and particles. What is probability and how is it implemented in Nature?
Probabilities are more fundamental than particles as particles exhibit non-linear spatial probabilistic behavior. So how can one build a theory of everything on a complex structure (particles), if it cannot explain something substantially more fundamental (probabilities) than this complex structure? The logic defies me.
We can ask more fundamental questions. Is this probability really a Gaussian function? Experimental data suggests otherwise, a Var-Gamma distribution. Why is the force experienced by an electron moving in a magnetic field, orthogonal to both the electron velocity and the magnetic field? Contemporary electromagnetism just says it is vector cross product, i.e. it is just that way. The cross product is a variation of saying it has to be a Left Hand Rule or a Right Hand Rule. But why?
Is mass really the source of a gravitational field? Could it not be due to quark interaction? Can we device experiments that can distinguish between the two? Why do photons exhibit both wave and particle behavior? What is momentum, and why is it conserved? Why is mass and energy equivalent?
Can theoretical physicists construct theories without using the laws of conservation of mass-energy and momentum? That would be a real test for a theory of everything!
In my research into gravity modification I found that the massless formula for gravitational acceleration, g=τc2, works for gravity, electromagnetism and mechanical forces. Yes, a unification of gravity and electromagnetism. And this formula has been tested and verified with experimental data. Further that a force field is a Non Inertia (Ni) field, and is present where ever there is a spatial gradient in time dilations or velocities. This is very different from the Standard Model which requires that forces are transmitted by the exchange of virtual particles.
So if there is an alternative model that has united gravity and electromagnetism, what does that say for both string theories and the Standard Model? I raise these questions because they are opportunities to kick start research in a different direction. I answered two of these questions in my book. In the spirit of the Kline Directive can we use these questions to explore what others have not, to seek what others will not, to change what others dare not?
That is why I’m confident that we will have real working gravity modification technologies by 2020.
In concluding this section we need to figure out funding rules to ensure that Engineering Feasible and 100-Year Theories get first priority. That is the only way we are going to be able to refocus our physics community to achieve interstellar travel sooner rather than later.
Benjamin T Solomon is the author & principal investigator of the 12-year study into the theoretical & technological feasibility of gravitation modification, titled An Introduction to Gravity Modification, to achieve interstellar travel in our lifetimes. For more information visit iSETI LLC, Interstellar Space Exploration Technology Initiative.
Solomon is inviting all serious participants to his LinkedIn Group Interstellar Travel & Gravity Modification.