August 29 2008 / by futuretalk / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Space Year: General Rating: 10 Hot
By Dick Pelletier
“Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the Mars Inter-Dimensional Express. In a few moments, our spacecraft will transfer into a parallel dimension where we will achieve greater than light-speed travel. As we get underway, be sure to glance out your window and watch the solar system flash by at dizzying speeds, truly, the most breathtaking views you will ever observe. Our expected arrival at Branson Colony is noon Martian time.”
This scenario may sound like fantasy, but physicists, encouraged by recent interest in the work of German scientist Burkhard Heim, believe his hyperspace propulsion idea could become a proven concept over the next two decades. Heim’s theory adds two forces to Einstein’s four-dimensional space-time: one, a repulsive anti-gravity force similar to dark energy that appears to expand the universe; the other force would accelerate spacecraft without using any fuel.
If the Heim idea works, it will radically change space travel. Forget spending six months or more crammed in a rocket on the way to Mars, a round trip on the hyperdrive could take as little as five hours. Worries about astronauts’ muscles wasting away will disappear. What’s more, the device will put travel to the stars within reach for the first time.
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics awards prizes for the best papers presented each year. Last year’s winner went to a paper authored by physicist Jochem Hauser, calling for experimental tests of Heim’s theory. “This hyperdrive motor,” Hauser said, “would propel a craft through another dimension at enormous speeds. It could reach a star eleven light years away in just eighty days.”
The US government believes this theory could become reality; researcher Roger Lenard at Department of Energy’s Sandia National Laboratories says he can test the idea with their “Z” machine, which can generate the necessary field intensities and gradients. NASA and the Department of Defense are also expressing interest in hyperspace engines.
Many forward thinkers believe our future lies in space. “Our job is to help life spread from this planet and make the rest of the universe as beautiful and varied as Earth”, said legendary physicist Freeman Dyson. “Dead worlds may be beautiful, just as deserts may be beautiful, but worlds full of life will give birth to a far wider range of beauty”.
Princeton’s J. Richard Gott III believes space colonization is necessary to prevent our species from becoming extinct. Although Homo sapiens have been around for 200,000 years, there is no guarantee of survival if we remain only on Earth. Colonies in space would provide insurance against catastrophes that could obliterate life on a single planet.
“Space colonies are an incredible bargain”, Gott says. “One only has to send a few astronauts. They then multiply at no further cost to us: the colonists do all the work, and colonies can establish other colonies”.
As we trek into our “magical future”, aided by technologies we cannot even imagine today, it is easy for this writer to believe that by 2150, more humans could be living in space than on Earth. And we will always keep in touch with these hearty space pioneers, because sharing experiences of life in a strange new world will enrich us all.