New hyperspace engine could roundtrip Mars in 5 hours

August 29 2008 / by futuretalk / In association with Future
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.

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Comment Thread (7 Responses)

  1. I’m pretty sure will stick with more traditional and proven propulsion systems, such as warp drive and infinite improbability drive.

    Posted by: johnfrink   August 29, 2008
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  2. Will humanity develop FTL travel systems? Most forward thinkers believe we absolutely will.

    If we are to ever make sense out of our huge universe, FTL systems are a must. Whether its hyperspace technology like Heim suggests, wormhole travel, or harnessing the potentially awesome power of dark matter, future civilizations will one day learn how to traverse the vast distances of space in a timely manner.

    Comments welcome

    Posted by: futuretalk   August 29, 2008
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  3. Dick,

    Yet at least as many thinkers believe that there are fundamental laws of physics that we will not be able to circumvent no matter how far we advance.

    Posted by: johnfrink   August 29, 2008
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  4. Yeah John, many people believe many things. The number of people that believe something has nothing to do with whether it is true.

    In any case, a physicist who takes the speed of light limit as a “fundamental law” is a bad physicist or not a physicist at all (you fall into one of these two categories). A good physicist knows to be cautious when throwing around the word “law”. A law is only a law in that it thus far agrees remarkably with experiment.

    Think about it (do you think?): You can disprove a “law” instantly with one experiment, but you can never positively prove a “law” no matter how many times it agrees with experiment. The case for it being a fundamental truth gets stronger with each agreement, but the case is never closed.

    If you’re still struggling with this concept, think of Newton’s “laws”, which worked very precisely for centuries, but they are only laws in the limited framework they were established (i.e. low speeds). Special and general relativity showed us the bigger picture.

    Moving on, the speed of light limit is only a “limit” for objects with positive mass travelling through spacetime. Additionally (and most importantly), just like Newton, we may not even be aware that there is a bigger picture, a generalisation of our results. It does not matter that our “laws” agree very well with observations, just as it did not matter for Einstein that Newton’s laws did.

    So John, try expanding your mind to new possibilities for once. Studying some physics would help too, and studying its history too, so that you can see the better picture. Sometimes it seems that you disagree with Dick just to disagree. If he said white, you’d say black, and it saddens me to see you slap him down each time simply because you lack both physics training and imagination.

    Posted by: CptSunbeam   August 30, 2008
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  5. Johnfrink, Einstein, Hawking, and many other physicists believe that wormhole travel will one day become reality; that we will be able to transmit information, and eventually matter, instantly to anywhere in the universe or backwards and forwards through time.

    And like CptSunbeam says, even the laws of physics may be subject to change as we develop new technologies and abilities that today, may be beyond our wildest imaginings.

    I believe it’s imperative for humanity to develop FTL travel systems. If we are to become the future Type 1, 2, 3, and 4 Civilization that forward thinkers predict, this is a must.

    Posted by: futuretalk   August 30, 2008
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  6. Hi Dick,

    one thing that always baffles me is how technological advancement is always tied to sociological advancement to a “better human”. Like in Star Trek, where there is even no need for money anymore, and everyone can have whatever job one wants, as long as one is qualified.

    You write: “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.”

    Well I think “keep in touch” needs to be reevaluated based on our own history. What did England think of their lost american colony? Spain and Portugal on their south-american colonies? France on their African colonies?

    I am pretty sure thats the way it will go, if ever. People will still die from starvation while some other people conquer the stars.


    Posted by: janmartin   September 01, 2008
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  7. Jan, I cannot imagine a future filled with mistakes similar to those we made in the past. I envision a positive future without a lot of pain and sorrow. Am I correct? Time will tell I guess.

    Posted by: futuretalk   September 02, 2008
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