Alpha Centauri or Bust

Saturday, January 07, 2006

One of the oldest saws in science fiction is the hyper drive, an engine that can by pass Einstein's ultimate speed limit -- the Speed of Light. Thursday's news.scotsman.com has an article, Welcome to Mars express: only a three hour trip, reporting on a New Scientist article, which claims that NASA is investigating the possibility of just such engine.

The theoretical engine works by creating an intense magnetic field that, according to ideas first developed by the late scientist Burkhard Heim in the 1950s, would produce a gravitational field and result in thrust for a spacecraft.

Also, if a large enough magnetic field was created, the craft would slip into a different dimension, where the speed of light is faster, allowing incredible speeds to be reached. Switching off the magnetic field would result in the engine reappearing in our current dimension.

The US air force has expressed an interest in the idea and scientists working for the American Department of Energy - which has a device known as the Z Machine that could generate the kind of magnetic fields required to drive the engine - say they may carry out a test if the theory withstands further scrutiny.

(link added to article)
From the article, NASA has contacted Prof Hauser, "a physicist at the Applied Sciences University in Salzgitter, Germany, and a former chief of aerodynamics at the European Space Agency" who has written papers about Heim's thoeries, and invited him to a preliminary meeting discussing the possibility of building some sort of prototype to test the engine. I assume the reporter exagerates this somewhat, since it is implied that a working Z Machine powered hyper drive is as little as five years off.

10 comments:

Buddy Larsen said...

Why the howard dean illo?

ambisinistral said...

Well, I imagine not signing Kyoto has something to due with Martian climate. Somebody needs to point that out.

chuck said...

That guy(?) looks like he plays with his food. How uncouth.

terrye said...

Sounds like Star Trek.

Seneca the Younger said...

Sounds spookily like Star Trek, doesn't it? If this were to work, I'd get very suspicious about Gene Roddenberry's biography.

Skookumchuk said...

buddy:

No. Those are Soros ears.

Buddy Larsen said...

"Gene" "Rod" "den" "Berry"?

You're just now getting "it", Seneca?

David Thomson said...

“Switching off the magnetic field would result in the engine reappearing in our current dimension.”

Where do I sign up? This could help me while driving during rush hour traffic in Houston.

Seneca the Younger said...

Buddy:

What?

Eric Blair said...

What makes these people think that traveling through a different dimension will mean traveling a straight line in this dimension?

I freely admit I'm not up on the supposed physics of this thing, but that's the first thing that occured to me when I first read this item.