Strings Are Dead

In 2014, I submitted my paper “A Universal Approach to Forces” to the journal Foundations of Physics. The 1999 Noble Laureate, Prof. Gerardus ‘t Hooft, editor of this journal, had suggested that I submit this paper to the journal Physics Essays.

My previous 2009 submission “Gravitational acceleration without mass and noninertia fields” to Physics Essays, had taken 1.5 years to review and be accepted. Therefore, I decided against Prof. Gerardus ‘t Hooft’s recommendation as I estimated that the entire 6 papers (now published as Super Physics for Super Technologies) would take up to 10 years and/or $20,000 to publish in peer reviewed journals.

Prof. Gerardus ‘t Hooft had brought up something interesting in his 2008 paper “A locally finite model for gravity” that “… absence of matter now no longer guarantees local flatness…” meaning that accelerations can be present in spacetime without the presence of mass. Wow! Isn’t this a precursor to propulsion physics, or the ability to modify spacetime without the use of mass?

As far as I could determine, he didn’t pursue this from the perspective of propulsion physics. A year earlier in 2007, I had just discovered the massless formula for gravitational acceleration g=τc^2, published in the Physics Essays paper referred above. In effect, g=τc^2 was the mathematical solution to Prof. Gerardus ‘t Hooft’s “… absence of matter now no longer guarantees local flatness…”

Prof. Gerardus ‘t Hooft used string theory to arrive at his inference. Could he empirically prove it? No, not with strings. It took a different approach, numerical modeling within the context of Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity (STR) to derive a mathematic solution to Prof. Gerardus ‘t Hooft’s inference.

In 2013, I attended Dr. Brian Greens’s Gamow Memorial Lecture, held at the University of Colorado Boulder. If I had heard him correctly, the number of strings or string states being discovered has been increasing, and were now in the 10^500 range.

I find these two encounters telling. While not rigorously proved, I infer that (i) string theories are unable to take us down a path the can be empirically proven, and (ii) they are opened ended i.e. they can be used to propose any specific set of outcomes based on any specific set of inputs. The problem with this is that you now have to find a theory for why a specific set of inputs. I would have thought that this would be heartbreaking for theoretical physicists.

In 2013, I presented the paper “Empirical Evidence Suggest A Need For A Different Gravitational Theory,” at the American Physical Society’s April conference held in Denver, CO. There I met some young physicists and asked them about working on gravity modification. One of them summarized it very well, “Do you want me to commit career suicide?” This explains why many of our young physicists continue to seek employment in the field of string theories where unfortunately, the hope of empirically testable findings, i.e. winning the Noble Prize, are next to nothing.

I think string theories are wrong.

Two transformations or contractions are present with motion, Lorentz-FitzGerald Transformation (LFT) in linear motion and Newtonian Gravitational Transformations (NGT) in gravitational fields.

The fundamental assumption or axiom of strings is that they expand when their energy (velocity) increases. This axiom (let’s name it the Tidal Axiom) appears to have its origins in tidal gravity attributed to Prof. Roger Penrose. That is, macro bodies elongate as the body falls into a gravitational field. To be consistent with NGT the atoms and elementary particles would contract in the direction of this fall. However, to be consistent with tidal gravity’s elongation, the distances between atoms in this macro body would increase at a rate consistent with the acceleration and velocities experienced by the various parts of this macro body. That is, as the atoms get flatter, the distances apart get longer. Therefore, for a string to be consistent with LFT and NGT it would have to contract, not expand. One suspects that this Tidal Axiom’s inconsistency with LFT and NGT has led to an explosion of string theories, each trying to explain Nature with no joy. See my peer-reviewed 2013 paper New Evidence, Conditions, Instruments & Experiments for Gravitational Theories published in the Journal of Modern Physics, for more.

The vindication of this contraction is the discovery of the massless formula for gravitational acceleration g=τc^2 using Newtonian Gravitational Transformations (NGT) to contract an elementary particle in a gravitational field. Neither quantum nor string theories have been able to achieve this, as quantum theories require point-like inelastic particles, while strings expand.

What worries me is that it takes about 70 to 100 years for a theory to evolve into commercially viable consumer products. Laser are good examples. So, if we are tying up our brightest scientific minds with theories that cannot lead to empirical validations, can we be the primary technological superpower a 100 years from now?

The massless formula for gravitational acceleration g=τc^2, shows us that new theories on gravity and force fields will be similar to General Relativity, which is only a gravity theory. The mass source in these new theories will be replaced by field and particle motions, not mass or momentum exchange. See my Journal of Modern Physics paper referred above on how to approach this and Super Physics for Super Technologies on how to accomplish this.

Therefore, given that the primary axiom, the Tidal Axiom, of string theories is incorrect it is vital that we recognize that any mathematical work derived from string theories is invalidated. And given that string theories are particle based theories, this mathematical work is not transferable to the new relativity type force field theories.

I forecast that both string and quantum gravity theories will be dead by 2017.

When I was seeking funding for my work, I looked at the Broad Agency Announcements (BAAs) for a category that includes gravity modification or interstellar propulsion. To my surprise, I could not find this category in any of our research organizations, including DARPA, NASA, National Science Foundation (NSF), Air Force Research Lab, Naval Research Lab, Sandia National Lab or the Missile Defense Agency.

So what are we going to do when our young graduates do not want to or cannot be employed in string theory disciplines?

(Originally published in the Huffington Post)

Honda’s Gravity Modification Research

Gravity modification, the scientific term for antigravity, is the ability to modify the gravitational field without the use of mass. Thus legacy physics, the RSQ (Relativity, String & Quantum) theories, cannot deliver either the physics or technology as these require mass as their field origin.

Ron Kita who recently received the first US patent (8901943) related to gravity modification, in recent history, introduced me to Dr. Takaaki Musha some years ago. Dr. Musha has a distinguished history researching Biefeld-Brown in Japan, going back to the late 1980s, and worked for the Ministry of Defense and Honda R&D.

Dr. Musha is currently editing New Frontiers in Space Propulsion (Nova Publishers) expected later this year. He is one of the founders of the International Society for Space Science whose aim is to develop new propulsion systems for interstellar travel.

Wait. What? Honda? Yes. For us Americans, it is unthinkable for General Motors to investigate gravity modification, and here was Honda in the 1990s, at that, researching this topic.

In recent years Biefeld-Brown has gained some notoriety as an ionic wind effect. I, too, was of this opinion until I read Dr. Musha’s 2008 paper “Explanation of Dynamical Biefeld-Brown Effect from the Standpoint of ZPF field.” Reading this paper I realized how thorough, detailed and meticulous Dr. Musha was. Quoting selected portions from Dr. Musha’s paper:

In 1956, T.T. Brown presented a discovery known as the Biefeld-Bown effect (abbreviated B-B effect) that a sufficiently charged capacitor with dielectrics exhibited unidirectional thrust in the direction of the positive plate.

From the 1st of February until the 1st of March in 1996, the research group of the HONDA R&D Institute conducted experiments to verify the B-B effect with an improved experimental device which rejected the influence of corona discharges and electric wind around the capacitor by setting the capacitor in the insulator oil contained within a metallic vessel . . . The experimental results measured by the Honda research group are shown . . .

V. Putz and K. Svozil,

. . . predicted that the electron experiences an increase in its rest mass under an intense electromagnetic field . . .

and the equivalent

. . . formula with respect to the mass shift of the electron under intense electromagnetic field was discovered by P. Milonni . . .

Dr. Musha concludes his paper with,

. . . The theoretical analysis result suggests that the impulsive electric field applied to the dielectric material may produce a sufficient artificial gravity to attain velocities comparable to chemical rockets.

Given, Honda R&D’s experimental research findings, this is a major step forward for the Biefeld-Brown effect, and Biefeld-Brown is back on the table as a potential propulsion technology.

We learn two lesson.

First, that any theoretical analysis of an experimental result is advanced or handicapped by the contemporary physics. While the experimental results remain valid, at the time of the publication, zero point fluctuation (ZPF) was the appropriate theory. However, per Prof. Robert Nemiroff’s 2012 stunning discovery that quantum foam and thus ZPF does not exist, the theoretical explanation for the Biefeld-Brown effect needs to be reinvestigated in light of Putz, Svozil and Milonni’s research findings. This is not an easy task as that part of the foundational legacy physics is now void.

Second, it took decades of Dr. Musha’s own research to correctly advise Honda R&D how to conduct with great care and attention to detail, this type of experimental research. I would advise anyone serious considering Biefeld-Brown experiments to talk to Dr. Musha, first.

Another example of similar lessons relates to the Finnish/Russian Dr. Podkletnov’s gravity shielding spinning superconducting ceramic disc i.e. an object placed above this spinning disc would lose weight.

I spent years reading and rereading Dr. Podkletnov’s two papers (the 1992 “A Possibility of Gravitational Force Shielding by Bulk YBa2Cu3O7-x Superconductor” and the 1997 “Weak gravitational shielding properties of composite bulk YBa2Cu3O7-x superconductor below 70K under e.m. field“) before I fully understood all the salient observations.

Any theory on Dr. Podkletnov’s experiments must explain four observations, the stationary disc weight loss, spinning disc weight loss, weight loss increase along a radial distance and weight increase. Other than my own work I haven’t see anyone else attempt to explain all four observation within the context of the same theoretical analysis. The most likely inference is that legacy physics does not have the tools to explore Podkletnov’s experiments.

But it gets worse.

Interest in Dr. Podkletnov’s work was destroyed by two papers claiming null results. First, Woods et al, (the 2001 “Gravity Modification by High-Temperature Superconductors“) and second, Hathaway et al (the 2002 “Gravity Modification Experiments Using a Rotating Superconducting Disk and Radio Frequency Fields“). Reading through these papers it was very clear to me that neither team were able to faithfully reproduce Dr. Podkletnov’s work.

My analysis of Dr. Podkletnov’s papers show that the disc is electrified and bi-layered. By bi-layered, the top side is superconducting and the bottom non-superconducting. Therefore, to get gravity modifying effects, the key to experimental success is, bottom side needs to be much thicker than the top. Without getting into too much detail, this would introduce asymmetrical field structures, and gravity modifying effects.

The necessary dialog between theoretical explanations and experimental insight is vital to any scientific study. Without this dialog, there arises confounding obstructions; theoretically impossible but experiments work or theoretically possible but experiments don’t work. With respect to Biefeld-Brown, Dr. Musha has completed the first iteration of this dialog.

Above all, we cannot be sure what we have discovered is correct until we have tested these discoveries under different circumstances. This is especially true for future propulsion technologies where we cannot depend on legacy physics for guidance, and essentially don’t understand what we are looking for.

In the current RSQ (pronounced risk) theory climate, propulsion physics is not a safe career path to select. I do hope that serious researchers reopen the case for both Biefeld-Brown and Podkletnov experiments, and the National Science Foundation (NSF) leads the way by providing funding to do so.

(Originally published in the Huffington Post)

Is Photon Based Propulsion, the Future?

I first met Dr. Young Bae, NIAC Fellow, at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) sponsored 2011, 100 Year Starship Study (100YSS) at Orlando, Fla. Many of us who were there had responded to the NASA/DARPA Tactical Technology Office’s RFP to set up an organization “… to develop a viable and sustainable non-governmental organization for persistent, long-term, private-sector investment into the myriad of disciplines needed to make long-distance space travel viable …”

Yes, both DARPA and NASA are at some level interested in interstellar propulsion. Mine was one of approximately 35 (rumored number) teams from around the world vying for this DARPA grant, and Dr. Bae was with a competing team. I presented the paper “Non-Gaussian Photon Probability Distributions”, and Dr. Bae presented “A Sustainable Developmental Pathway of Photon Propulsion towards Interstellar Flight”. These were early days, the ground zero of interstellar propulsion, if you would.

Dr. Bae has been researching Photon Laser Thrust (PLT) for many years. A video of his latest experiment is available at the NASA website or on YouTube. This PLT uses light photons to move an object by colliding with (i.e. transferring momentum to) the object. The expectation is that this technology will eventually be used to propel space crafts. His most recent experiments demonstrate the horizontal movement of a 1-pound weight. This is impressive. I expect to see much more progress in the coming years.

At one level, Dr. Bae’s experiments are confirmation that Bill Nye’s Light Sail (which very unfortunately lost communications with Earth) will work.

At another level, one wonders why or how the photon, a particle without mass, has momentum that is proportion to the photon’s frequency or energy. A momentum that is observable in Dr. Bae’s and other experiments. This is not a question that contemporary physics asks. Einstein was that meticulous when he derived the Lorentz-FitzGerald Transformations (LFT) from first principles for his Special Theory of Relativity (STR). Therefore, if you think about it, and if we dare to ask the sacrilegious question, does this mean that momentum is a particle’s elementary property that appears to be related to mass? What would we discover if we could answer the question, why does momentum exist in both mass and massless particles? Sure, the short cut don’t bother me answer is, mass-energy equivalence. But why?

At the other end of photon momentum based research is the EmDrive invented by Roger Shawyer. He clearly states that the EmDrive is due to momentum exchange and not due to “quantum vacuum plasma effects”. To vindicate his claims Boeing has received all of his EmDrive designs and test data. This is not something that Boeing does lightly.

In this 2014 video a member of NASA’s Eagleworks explains that the EmDrive (renamed q-thruster) pushes against quantum vacuum, the froth of particle and antiparticle pairs in vacuum. Which raises the question, how can you push against one type and not the other? In 2011, using NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope photographs, Prof. Robert Nemiroff of Michigan Technological University, made the stunning discovery that this quantum foam of particle and antiparticle pairs in a vacuum, does not exist. Unfortunately, this means that the NASA Eagleworks explanation clearly cannot be correct.

So how does the EmDrive work?

In my 2012 book An Introduction to Gravity Modification, I had explained the importance of asymmetrical fields and designs for creating propellantless engines. For example, given a particle in a gravitational field and with respect to this field’s planetary mass source, this particle will observe an asymmetrical gravitational field. The near side of this particle will experience a stronger field than the far side, and thus the motion towards the planetary mass. Granted that this difference is tiny, it is not zero. This was how I was able to determine the massless formula for gravitational acceleration, g=τc^2, where tau τ is the change in the time dilation transformation (dimensionless LFT) divided by that distance. The error in the modeled gravitational acceleration is less than 6 parts per million. Thus validating the asymmetrical approach.

In very basic terms Shawyer’s New Scientist paper suggests that it is due to the conical shape of the EmDrive that causes microwave photons to exhibit asymmetrical momentum exchange. One side of the conical structure with the larger cross section, has more momentum exchange than the other side with the smaller cross section. The difference in this momentum exchange is evidenced as a force.

However, as Dr. Bae points out, from the perspective of legacy physics, conservation of momentum is broken. If not broken, then there are no net forces. If broken, then one observes a net force. Dr. Beckwith (Prof., Chongqing University, China) confirms that Dr. Bae is correct, but the question that needs to be addressed is, could there be any additional effects which would lead to momentum conservation being violated? Or apparently violated?

To be meticulous, since energy can be transmuted into many different forms, we can ask another sacrilegious question. Can momentum be converted into something else? A wave function attribute for example, in a reversible manner, after all the massless photon momentum is directly proportional to its frequency? We don’t know. We don’t have either the theoretical or experimental basis for answering this question either in the positive or negative. Note, this is not the same as perpetual motion machines, as conservation laws still hold.

Shawyer’s work could be confirmation of these additional effects, asymmetrical properties and momentum-wave-function-attribute interchangeability. If so, the future of propulsion technologies lies in photon based propulsion.

Given that Shawyer’s video demonstrates a moving EmDrive, the really interesting question is, can we apply this model to light photons? Or for that matter, any other type of photons, radio, infrared, light, ultraviolet and X-Rays?

(Originally published in the Huffington Post)

The Feasibility of Interstellar Propulsion

Recent revelations of NASA’s Eagleworks Em Drive caused a sensation on the internet as to why interstellar propulsion can or cannot be possible. The nay sayers pointed to shoddy engineering and impossible physics, and ayes pointed to the physics of the Alcubierre-type warp drives based on General Relativity.

So what is it? Are warp drives feasible? The answer is both yes and no. Allow me to explain.

The empirical evidence of the Michelson-Morley experiment of 1887, now known as the Lorentz-FitzGerald Transformations (LFT), proposed by FitzGerald in 1889, and Lorentz in 1892, show beyond a shadow of doubt that nothing can have a motion with a velocity greater than the velocity of light. In 1905 Einstein derived LFT from first principles as the basis for the Special Theory of Relativity (STR).

So if nothing can travel faster than light why does the Alcubierre-type warp drive matter? The late Prof. Morris Klein explained in his book, Mathematics: The Loss of Certainty, that mathematics has become so powerful that it can now be used to prove anything, and therefore, the loss of certainty in the value of these mathematical models. The antidote for this is to stay close to the empirical evidence.

My good friend Dr. Andrew Beckwith (Prof., Chongqing University, China) explains that there are axiomatic problems with the Alcubierre-type warp drive theory. Basically the implied axioms (or starting assumptions of the mathematics) requires a multiverse universe or multiple universes, but the mathematics is based on a single universe. Thus even though the mathematics appears to be sound its axioms are contradictory to this mathematics. As Dr. Beckwith states, “reducto ad absurdum”. For now, this unfortunately means that there is no such thing as a valid warp drive theory. LFT prevents this.

For a discussion of other problems in physical theories please see my peer reviewed 2013 paper “New Evidence, Conditions, Instruments & Experiments for Gravitational Theories” published in the Journal of Modern Physics. In this paper I explain how General Relativity can be used to propose some very strange ideas, and therefore, claiming that something is consistent with General Relativity does not always lead to sensible outcomes.

The question we should be asking is not, can we travel faster than light (FTL) but how do we bypass LFT? Or our focus should not be how to travel but how to effect destination arrival.

Let us take one step back. Since Einstein, physicists have been working on a theory of everything (TOE). Logic dictates that for a true TOE, the TOE must be able to propose from first principles, why conservation of mass-energy and conservation of momentum hold. If these theories cannot, they cannot be TOEs. Unfortunately all existing TOEs have these conservation laws as their starting axioms, and therefore, are not true TOEs. The importance of this requirement is that if we cannot explain why conservation of momentum is true, like Einstein did with LFT, how do we know how to apply this in developing interstellar propulsion engines? Yes, we have to be that picky, else we will be throwing millions if not billions of dollars in funding into something that probably won’t work in practice.

Is a new physics required to achieve interstellar propulsion? Does a new physics exists?

In 2007, after extensive numerical modeling I discovered the massless formula for gravitational acceleration, g=τc^2, where tau τ is the change in the time dilation transformation (dimensionless LFT) divided by that distance. (The error in the modeled gravitational acceleration is less than 6 parts per million). Thereby, proving that mass is not required for gravitational theories and falsifying the RSQ (Relativity, String & Quantum) theories on gravity. There are two important consequences of this finding, (1) we now have a new propulsion equation, and (2) legacy or old physics cannot deliver.

But gravity modification per g=τc^2 is still based on motion, and therefore, constrained by LFT. That is, gravity modification cannot provide for interstellar propulsion. For that we require a different approach, the new physics.

At least from the perspective of propulsion physics, having a theoretical approach for a single formula g=τc^2 would not satisfy the legacy physics community that a new physics is warranted or even exists. Therefore, based on my 16 years of research involving extensive numerical modeling with the known empirical data, in 2014, I wrote six papers laying down the foundations of this new physics:

1. “A Universal Approach to Forces”: There is a 4th approach to forces that is not based on Relativity, String or Quantum (RSQ) theories.
2. “The Variable Isotopic Gravitational Constant”: The Gravitational Constant G is not a constant, and independent of mass, therefore gravity modification without particle physics is feasible.
3. “A Non Standard Model Nucleon/Nuclei Structure”: Falsifies the Standard Model and proposes Variable Electric Permittivity (VEP) matter.
4. “Replacing Schrödinger”: Proposes that the Schrödinger wave function is a good but not an exact model.
5. “Particle Structure”: Proposes that the Standard Model be replaced with the Component Standard Model.
6. “Spectrum Independence”: Proposes that photons are spectrum independent, and how to accelerate nanowire technology development.

This work, published under the title Super Physics for Super Technologies is available for all to review, critique and test its validity. (A non-intellectual emotional gut response is not a valid criticism). That is, the new physics does exist. And the relevant outcome per interstellar propulsion is that subspace exists, and this is how Nature implements probabilities. Note, neither quantum nor string theories ask the question, how does Nature implement probabilities? And therefore, are unable to provide an answer. The proof of subspace can be found in how the photon electromagnetic energy is conserved inside the photon.

Subspace is probabilistic and therefore does not have the time dimension. In other words destination arrival is not LFT constrained by motion based travel, but is effected by probabilistic localization. We therefore, have to figure out navigation in subspace or vectoring and modulation. Vectoring is the ability to determine direction, and modulation is the ability to determine distance. This approach is new and has an enormous potential of being realized as it is not constrained by LFT.

Yes, interstellar propulsion is feasible, but not as of the warp drives we understand today. As of 2012, there are only about 50 of us on this planet working or worked towards solving the gravity modification and interstellar propulsion challenge.

So the question is not, whether gravity modification or interstellar propulsion is feasible, but will we be the first nation to invent this future?

(Originally published in the Huffington Post)

Huffington Post Blogger

I am very honored to have been accepted as a Huffington Post blogger, and all my published articles will be accessible through this url, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/benjamin-t-solomon/.

As of today I have published 2 posts:

1. May 28, 2015, The Feasibility of Interstellar Propulsion

2. June, 03, 2015, Is Photon Based Propulsion, the Future?

I didn’t realize how difficult it is to become a HuffPost blogger, until an science writer from Forbes asked how I had managed to accomplish this?

Please continue reading my Huffington Post blogs, ‘like’, retweet and send them out to your friends.

Crypto-Info Approach to the Ethics of Genetic Engineering

I just read Wired’s America Needs To Figure Out The Ethics of Gene Editing Now, by Nick Stockton.

We are naïve to think that a moratorium would work because there are countries out there who are determined to supersede the US. Therefore, the focus should not be to halt research but to make it safer – for everyone, not just us. Recall how AIDS became a major health consideration in the US. Therefore, making this research safer for everyone makes it safer for us, too.

According to this Wired article, there are two scientific perspectives on this, need for open discussion (these include, George Q. Daley, R. Alta Charo, Steven Martin, Jennifer Doudna, Hank Greely, Mike Botchan) and temporary moratorium of “baby making” (Edward Lanphier, R. Alta Charo, Steven Martin).

In my opinion it is not correct to restrict scientists’ research to “safe” research but we have to weigh that against the benefits of progress. Learning, experimentation and research are all part of the process of making progress. “Safety” is something that we discover with hindsight – airplanes as weapons came to our national consciousness with 9/11. And for Christians who believe this is wrong, see Genesis 1:26.

What this article shows is that we don’t know enough about genes, gene splicing, and germline editing. Proof of this lies in answering this question I had asked at the 2013 100 Year Starship Study held in Houston, TX. What would happen if we took the entire nucleus/DNA of a simple animal and placed inside a plant cell, and do the reverse, a plant nucleus/DNA into an animal cell. Would the animal nucleus still develop into an animal, and would the plant nucleus still develop into a plant?

The findings will give us many answers. Are specific enzymes/proteins required per type of life form? Is there a universal information transference mechanism between nucleus and organelles for both animal and plant cells? Or are each life form’s mechanism different? If so how did evolution come up with two different mechanisms, and are there other mechanisms? Can the nucleus change the proteins within the cells to match its requirements? Can an animal (plant) nucleus convert the cell to an animal (plant) cell? Did the cell evolve independently of the nucleus? . . . .

Answer is we don’t know, because we don’t know enough of how information is transmitted from the nucleus to the cell organelles, as we are still experimenting with bits and pieces of DNA. That is, even though our research is very advanced our considerations are very primitive.

I suspect that if we change our perspective, from researching bits of DNA, to forming a 3-layer model (DNA, gene & information), we can progress faster. This crypto-info model consists of a bottom foundational layer, the DNA; the middle recording layer, genes, and the top information layer. The foundational layer is the physical implementation consisting of adenine, thymine, cytosine, guanine bases, and a couple of other things. The recording layer is the store of select information, and the information layer has what, how, when to do it, and maybe more.

Our current research is based on the middle layer, splicing and moving around recording units or genes. Why are these recording units or genes combined together as strands and not individually present in the nucleus? The answer would suggest that there is information in the positional arrangement of these genes. Interpolating would suggest that the positional arrangement of the bases within a gene is how gene specific information is stored. So we understand how information is stored in the DNA. We don’t, however, understand what this information is. It is encrypted, therefore the term crypto-info. What is this information and how is it structured? An examination of the smallest genes would be a start to understanding this. The earlier animal-plant question raises another, is this coded information context-sensitive?

Of course once we get a working crypto-info model we will probably discover many more things about the DNA, its information, and its storage transference mechanisms. This crypto-info model raises another question, since silicon is the closest chemical to carbon, could a silicon-based DNA be constructed? What about other elements?

Coming back to the original questions about open discussions and temporary moratoriums, the crypto-info model shows that to address these issues we need to lay down guidelines of HOW to do DNA related research as opposed to WHAT DNA research we could do.

To be a Space Faring Civilization

Until 2006 our Solar System consisted essentially of a star, planets, moons, and very much smaller bodies known as asteroids and comets. In 2006 the International Astronomical Union’s (IAU) Division III Working Committee addressed scientific issues and the Planet Definition Committee address cultural and social issues with regard to planet classifications. They introduced the “pluton” for bodies similar to planets but much smaller.

The IAU set down three rules to differentiate between planets and dwarf planets. First, the object must be in orbit around a star, while not being itself a star. Second, the object must be large enough (or more technically correct, massive enough) for its own gravity to pull it into a nearly spherical shape. The shape of objects with mass above 5×1020 kg and diameter greater than 800 km would normally be determined by self-gravity, but all borderline cases would have to be established by observation.

Third, plutons or dwarf planets, are distinguished from classical planets in that they reside in orbits around the Sun that take longer than 200 years to complete (i.e. they orbit beyond Neptune). Plutons typically have orbits with a large orbital inclination and a large eccentricity (noncircular orbits). A planet should dominate its zone, either gravitationally, or in its size distribution. That is, the definition of “planet” should also include the requirement that it has cleared its orbital zone. Of course this third requirement automatically implies the second. Thus, one notes that planets and plutons are differentiated by the third requirement.

As we are soon to become a space faring civilization, we should rethink these cultural and social issues, differently, by subtraction or addition. By subtraction, if one breaks the other requirements? Comets and asteroids break the second requirement that the object must be large enough. Breaking the first requirement, which the IAU chose not address at the time, would have planet sized bodies not orbiting a star. From a socio-cultural perspective, one could suggest that these be named “darktons” (from dark + plutons). “Dark” because without orbiting a star, these objects would not be easily visible; “tons” because in deep space, without much matter, these bodies could not meet the third requirement of being able to dominate its zone.

Taking this socio-cultural exploration a step further, by addition, a fourth requirement is that of life sustaining planets. The scientific evidence suggest that life sustaining bodies would be planet-sized to facilitate a stable atmosphere. Thus, a life sustaining planet would be named “zoeton” from the Greek zoe for life. For example Earth is a zoeton while Mars may have been.

Again by addition, one could define, from the Latin aurum for gold, “auton”, as a heavenly body, comets, asteroids, plutons and planets, whose primary value is that of mineral or mining interest. Therefore, Jupiter is not a zoeton, but could be an auton if one extracts hydrogen or helium from this planet. Another auton is 55 Cancri e, a planet 40 light years away, for mining diamonds with an estimated worth of $26.9×1030. The Earth is both a zoeton and an auton, as it both, sustains life and has substantial mining interests, respectively. Not all plutons or planets could be autons. For example Pluto would be too cold and frozen for mining to be economical, and therefore, frozen darktons would most likely not be autons.

At that time the IAU also did not address the upper limit for a planet’s mass or size. Not restricting ourselves to planetary science would widen our socio-cultural exploration. A social consideration would be the maximum gravitational pull that a human civilization could survive, sustain and flourish in. For example, for discussion sake, a gravitational pull greater the 2x Earth’s or 2g, could be considered the upper limit. Therefore, planets with larger gravitational pulls than 2g would be named “kytons” from the Antikythera mechanical computer as only machines could survive and sustain such harsh conditions over long periods of time. Jupiter would be an example of such a kyton.

Are there any bodies between the gaseous planet Jupiter and brown dwarfs? Yes, they have been named Y-dwarfs. NASA found one with a surface temperature of only 80 degrees Fahrenheit, just below that of a human. It is possible these Y-dwarfs could be kytons and autons as a relatively safe (compared to stars) source of hydrogen.

Taking a different turn, to complete the space faring vocabulary, one can redefine transportation by their order of magnitudes. Atmospheric transportation, whether for combustion intake or winged flight can be termed, “atmosmax” from “atmosphere”, and Greek “amaxi” for car or vehicle. Any vehicle that is bound by the distances of the solar system but does not require an atmosphere would be a “solarmax”. Any vehicle that is capable of interstellar travel would be a “starship”. And one capable of intergalactic travel would be a “galactica”.

We now have socio-cultural handles to be a space faring civilization. A vocabulary that facilitates a common understanding and usage. Exploration implies discovery. Discovery means new ideas to tackle new environments, new situations and new rules. This can only lead to positive outcomes. Positive outcomes means new wealth, new investments and new jobs. Let’s go forth and add to these cultural handles.

Ben Solomon is a Committee Member of the Nuclear and Future Flight Propulsion Technical Committee, American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA), and author of An Introduction to Gravity Modification and Super Physics for Super Technologies: Replacing Bohr, Heisenberg, Schrödinger & Einstein (Kindle Version)

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