Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

'Antigravity' Propulsion System Proposed

An 'antigravity' propulsion system will be proposed at the Space Technology and Applications International Forum (STAIF) in Albuquerque on Febuary 14 by Dr. Franklin Felber. His new exact solution to Einstein's gravitational field equation gives hope to space enthusiasts that it might be possible to accelerate space craft to speeds approaching that of light without crushing the contents of the craft. If it works, it could be even better than apergy, as described by science fiction writer Percy Greg in 1880.

Dr. Felber's paper states that a mass moving faster than 57.7 percent of the speed of light will gravitationally repel other masses lying within a narrow 'antigravity beam' in front of it. This "beam" intensifies as the speed of the mass approaches that of light.

The paper shows how to use the repulsion of a body speeding through space to accelerate large spacecraft quickly while reducing internal tidal forces that could tear the cargo apart. The paper argues that the payload would "fall weightlessly" in an antigravity beam as it is accelerated to a substantial fraction of light speed.

"Based on this research, I expect a mission to accelerate a massive payload to a 'good fraction of light speed' will be launched before the end of this century," said Dr. Felber. "These antigravity solutions of Einstein's theory can change our view of our ability to travel to the far reaches of our universe."
(From Physicist to present solution)

On the downside, it does not appear that Dr. Felber has published any previous papers in the field of general relativity. Also, the space engineering conference in Albuquerque probably has lower standards for peer review than those at a gravity conference. However, it should be noted that Dr. Felber Dr. Felber has led physics research and development programs for various branches of the military, as well as DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency).

Gravity is a favorite source of propulsion for science fiction writers. In his 1880 novel Across the Zodiac, writer Percy Greg refers to a marvelous material called apergy:

I had satisfied myself that only one thing needful was as yet wholly beyond the reach and even the proximate hopes of science...

I needed a repulsion which would act like gravitation through an indefinite distance and in a void - act upon a remote fulcrum, such as might be the Earth in a voyage to the Moon, or the Sun in a more distant journey. As soon, then, as the character of the apergic force was made known to me, its application to this purpose seized on my mind. Experiment had proved it possible, by the method described at the commencement of this record, to generate and collect it in amounts practically unlimited.
(Read more about apergy)

Prior methods for spacecraft propulsion include the bird-like Gansas of Bishop Godwin's 1638 book The Man in the Moone. Next came gunpowder, which was used in the colossal Columbiad launching cannon used in Jules Verne's 1867 novel From the Earth to the Moon. Neither method accelerated travellers to an appreciable fraction of light-speed.

As far as I know, the only real, working example of using large masses for "gravitational propulsion" is the well-known "slingshot" or "gravity assist" method used successfully in the Voyager, Galileo and Cassini programs. Historians of science differ on the source of the idea, but the basic idea was described by science fiction writer Ray Cummings in his 1931 novel Brigands of the Moon (see Ray Cummings' gravity assist).

If you are interested in science-fictional propulsion schemes, take a look at MagBeam Propulsion - To Mars and Back in 90 Days and SMART-1's Ion Drive Not Science Fiction. Read Dr. Felber's paper "Exact relativistic 'antigravity' propulsion and news articles here and here. Thanks to Adi and others who wrote in with this one.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/13/2006)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 21 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

First Ever Proof Of Water On Asteroids
'Yes, strangely enough there was still sufficient water beneath the surface of Vesta.' - Raymond Z. Gallun, 1951.

Gigantic Space Sunshade Would Fight Global Warming
'...the light of the sun had been polarized by two crossed fields so that no radiation could pass.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1953.

Untethered Spacewalk's 50th Anniversary
'But that space walk of mine wasn't so very amazing.' - Dom Passante, 1939.

ESA Designs Huge Inflatable Moonbase
'It was like being inside a balloon; indeed, that was exactly where he was.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1961.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

Ulm Sleep Pods For The Homeless
'The lid lifted and she crawled inside...'

Prophetic Offers Lucid Dreaming Halo With Morpheus-1 AI
''Leads trail away from insertion points on her face and wrist... to a lucid dreamer...'

More Like A Tumblebug Than A Motorcycle
'It is about the size and shape of a kitchen stool, gyro-stabilized on a single wheel...'

Tesla Camera-Only Vision Predicted In 1930's SF
'By its means, the machine can see.'

First Ever Proof Of Water On Asteroids
'Yes, strangely enough there was still sufficient water beneath the surface of Vesta.'

Aptera Solar EV More Stylish Than Heinlein Steel Tortoise
'When confronted by hills, or rough terrain, it did not stop, but simply slowed until the task demanded equaled its steady power output.'

Gigantic Space Sunshade Would Fight Global Warming
'...the light of the sun had been polarized by two crossed fields so that no radiation could pass.'

Untethered Spacewalk's 50th Anniversary
'But that space walk of mine wasn't so very amazing.'

ESA Designs Huge Inflatable Moonbase
'It was like being inside a balloon; indeed, that was exactly where he was.'

AlphaGarden Robot Cares For Gardens Better Than Humans
'...a simple clock-set servok with pipe and hose arms.'

Let's Make Slaver Sunflowers! Engineering Plants To Reflect Light
'The mirror-blossom was a terrible weapon.'

TeslaBot Uber Driver (2024) And The Automatic Motorist (1911)
'Robots have worse problems than anybody'

DiffuseBot Uses Generative AI To Invent New Soft Robots
'It embodies several small-scale multiple stampers, apparently for dealing with sheet metal.'

Philips Smart Palm Recognition Smart Deadbolt
'A palm lock must be keyed to one individual's hand shape...'

BMind Smart Mirror from Baracoda
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who has the greatest wellness of all?

Ballie Your AI Robot Companion From Samsung
Projects your content anywhere you like.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.