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)

The Navy’s Rail Gun Hides a Secret

The Navy’s Rail Gun technology hides a secret, that the Navy’s projectile accuracy has been substantially increased by about 45x.

But first some history. The US government brought Prof Eric Laithwaite to help them build a rocket launcher based on linear motor principles. Today we call this the Rail Gun.

In terms of its original objectives it was not a success, because astronauts could not survive the accelerations required to launch from a rail gun and cargo required a much longer rail gun than feasible with the then technologies.

The Navy succeeded with ship based rail guns as a means to shoot projectiles. Bloomberg TV has a good video on the Navy’s Rail Gun.

Watching this video I realized that the secret to the Navy’s Rail Gun project was not the rail gun itself, but the substantially increased accuracy attained by the much higher muzzle velocity.

I present two important point. Using quick & dirty theoretical reasoning and real examples showing that the rail gun projectile has an increased accuracy of between 28x to 45x over conventional ship-based guns.

And the real possibility that the rail gun projectile traveling at Mach 7.4 has the ability to shoot down the X-51 traveling at Mach 5 at an altitude of 70,000ft. PowerPoint is here Enjoy.

The Realistic Cost Of The Next Space Race

Based on the Bloomberg TV program The Next Space Race and other reliable sources, I determine the realistic payload costs goals for the next generation of private space companies.

I review NASA’s Space Shuttle Program costs and compare these with SpaceX costs, and then extrapolate to Planetary Resources, Inc.’s cost structure.

Three important conclusions are derived. And for those viewing this video at my blog postings, the link to the Excel Spreadsheet is here (.xlsx file).

The Next Space Race

Yesterday’s program, The Next Space Race, on Bloomberg TV was an excellent introduction to the commercial aerospace companies, SpaceX, the Sierra Nevada Company (SNC), and Boeing. The following are important points, at the stated times, in the program:

0.33 mins: The cost of space travel has clipped our wings.
5:18 mins: How many people knew Google before they started?
7:40 mins: SpaceX costs, full compliment, 4x per year at $20 million per astronaut.
11:59 mins: Noisy rocket launch, notice also the length of the hot exhaust is several times the length of the rocket.
12:31 mins: One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.
12:37 mins: Noisy shuttle launch, notice also the length of the hot exhaust is several times the length of the rocket.
13:47 mins: OPF-3, at one time the largest building in the world at 129 million cubic feet.
16:04 mins: States are luring private companies to start up in their states.
16:32 mins: NASA should be spending its money on exploration and missions and not maintenance and operations.
17:12 mins: The fair market value of OPF-3 is about $13.5 million.
17:19 mins: Maintenance cost is $100,000 per month
17:47 mins: Why Florida?
18:55 mins: International Space Station (ISS) cost $60B and if including the Shuttle program, it cost $150B.
19:17 mins: The size of the commercial space launch business.
21:04 mins: Elon Musk has put $100 million of his own money into SpaceX.
21:23 mins: The goals of NASA and private space do not conflict.

1. Cost of ISS is $60B, total cost including the Shuttle program is $150B.

2. SpaceX cost is $20M per astronaut (for 7 astronauts) or a launch cost of $140 million per launch at $560 million per year for 4 launches per year.

3. The next space race is about money.

4. NASA will give a multi billion dollar contract to private space companies to ferry humans & cargo into space and back.

5. Orbiter Processing Facility 3 (OPF-3) valued at $13.5million, and an estimated area of 207,000 sq ft gives a value of $65.22/sq ft.

6. With a maintenance costs of $100,000 gives a per sq ft maintenance costs of $0.48/sq ft/month or $5.80/sq ft/year.

7. Another reason for the Cape Canaveral NASA launch site is the mandatory no/low population down range for rocket launches. At Cape Canaveral this down range is the Atlantic Ocean.

The Future-Propulsion Community

The future propulsion community are those who believe in or are actively researching rocketry, gravity modification & interstellar propulsion engineering & physics.

In this video I discuss the 3 groups within the future propulsion community. These groups are the Nay Sayers – they don’t believe that it is in the near future, Advanced Rocket – that only rockets can do this, & New Physics – that a new physics will solve this soon.

I also discuss briefly the European/French and Chinese interest in my work.


Background & History of the Foundation

The Xodus One Foundation[1] is a Colorado non-profit (awaiting 501(c) approval) founded by Benjamin T Solomon[2] in October 2013 with the objective of raising funds and disbursing grants to researchers with access to multimillion dollar labs, for the purpose of discovering the physics of interstellar propulsion.

The Xodus One Foundation and its Founder, Benjamin T Solomon, have been active in this outreach at the DARPA[3] sponsored 100 Year Starship Study[4]; AIAA’s SciTech 2014 Conference[5] held National Harbor, Maryland; SPIE’s Photonics West 2014[6] in San Francisco, California; and is a sponsor of the Colorado Space Business Roundtable’s (CSBR)[7] Colorado Aerospace Day (2013[8] & 2014[9] ) held in third week of March.


The Researchers

The history of the investigation into gravity modification can be traced back further, and for the purposes of the Xodus One Foundation it is sufficient to consider the recent decades. Over the last 20 years about 60 serious researchers from 16 countries have investigated the field of gravity modification and/or interstellar propulsion. These include:

Klause Hense (Austria), Klause Marhold (Austria), Martin Tajmar (Austria), Fran De Aquino (Brazil), George Hathaway (Canada), Ning Li (China), Ning Wu (China), R. Nieminen (Finland), Clovis de Matos (France), Christopher Provatidis (Greece), R.C. Gupta (India), Giovanni Modanese (Italy), G.A. Ummarino (Italy), Hideo Hayasaka (Japan), Takaaki Musha (Japan), Kimio Nishino (Japan), Sakae Takeuchi (Japan), Miguel Alcubierre (Mexico), M. Agop (Romania), C. Gh. Buzea (Romania), B. Ciobanu (Romania), Eugene Podkletnov (Russia), Jozef Sima (Slovakia), Miroslav Sukenık (Slovakia), Eric Laithwaite (UK), Robert Baker (USA), John Brandenburg (USA), Whitt Brantley (USA), Andrew Beckwith (USA), Raymond Y. Chiao (USA), Rod Clark (USA), John Cramer (USA), Eric Davis (USA), Robert Forward (USA), Gustave Fralick (USA), J Gaines (USA), Bernard Haisch (USA), Jay Hammer (USA), Asit Kir (USA), Ron Koczor (USA), Jordan Maclay (USA), Paul March (USA), George Michael (USA), Peter Milonni (USA), Paul Murad (USA), Janis Niedra (USA), David Noever (USA), Richard Obousy (USA), Hal Puthoff (USA), Alfonso Reuda (USA), Center Richland (USA), Glen (Tony) Robertson (USA), Frederic Rounds (USA), L Sanderson (USA), Michael Serry (USA), Benjamin T. Solomon (USA), D.G. Torr (USA), Carlos Villareal (USA), Clive Woods (USA), and James Woodward (USA).

Solomon’s research began in 1999, and links of more than a decade of published conference & journal papers can be found at iSETI LLC[10] under ‘White Papers’ or one can request copies of his papers/presentations from the respective organizers. Having determined that there isn’t sufficient funding (either private or public) the Xodus One Foundation was set up specifically to continue this decades long tradition of investigation into gravity modification.

The funds will be used to provide grants to researchers in big science to investigate new RSQ (Relativity, String & Quantum theory) blind experiments as only big science has the multimillion dollar labs and equipment to conduct these RSQ blind experiments.

The Rational

The community of interstellar propulsion researchers can be categorized into three groups, those who believe it cannot be done (Nay Sayers Group – NSG), those who believe that it requires some advanced form of conventional rockets (Advanced Rocket Group – ARG), and those who believe that it needs new physics (New Physics Group – NPG).

Prof. Adam Franks stated in his July 24, 2012 New York Times Op-Ed, Alone in the Void[11], “Short of a scientific miracle of the kind that has never occurred, our future history for millenniums will be played out on Earth”. Obviously, logic dictates that the NSG will not deliver interstellar propulsion.

Some organizations that belong to the Advanced Rocket Group, include NASA’s Breakthrough Propulsion Physics (BPP)[12], the Tau Zero Foundation[13] , The Icarus Project[14]. The empirical evidence of the Lorentz-FitzGerald Transformations (LFT) shows that the ARG approach would be limited by the velocity of light and therefore, it would take at least 4 years to reach our nearest star system Alpha Centauri A, B & Proxima Centauri. However others claim, using mathematical physics of quantum strings that it is possible to reach unimaginable velocities[15] .

The NPG on the other hand believe that existing theories cannot deliver interstellar propulsion technologies, because some of the findings of these theories conflict with the proven empirical data such as the Lorentz-FitzGerald Transformations (LFT). The correct term to describe these “theories” is “hypotheses” as they don’t have supporting empirical data and are unproven.

In his book An Introduction to Gravity Modification: A Guide to Using Laithwaite’s and Podkletnov’s Experiments and the Physics of Forces for Empirical Results, Second Edition[16] Solomon defined Gravity Modification as:

Gravity modification is defined as the modification of the strength and direction of the gravitational acceleration without the use of mass as the primary source of this modification, in local space time. It consists of field modulation and field vectoring. Field modulation is the ability to attenuate or amplify a force field. Field vectoring is the ability to change the direction of this force field.

And a succinct working definition is modification of acceleration without the use of mass. This, therefore, informs us that our contemporary RSQ (Relativity, String & Quantum) theories cannot deliver gravity modification physics or technologies as these RSQ theories require mass in their equations.

Therefore, a ‘new physics’ working definition for interstellar propulsion & interstellar travel would be destination arrival without effecting velocity or acceleration. Is this possible? The true answer is that we don’t know. The only way to find out is to research it, and therefore, the founding of the Xodus One Foundation to fund this research. Note, that unlike the Tau Zero Foundation which is focused on rocket/thrust based propulsion funding, the Xodus One Foundation is focused on new non-RSQ physics.

About, An Introduction to Gravity Modification

The book details Solomon’s 12-year research into the physics & engineering of gravity modification, and derived from his peer reviewed publications[17] [18] [19] [20] [21].

In his book Mathematics: The Loss of Certainty[22], the late CUNY Professor of Mathematics, Morris Kline, explains that mathematics has become so sophisticated that it can be used to prove anything. Therefore, the antidote to this is to stay close to the empirical data. Thus, Solomon’s 12-year research into what the empirical data can inform us about gravity & gravity modification.

With respect to gravity modification, Solomon’s two most important findings[23] [24] are:
1.The massless formula for gravitational acceleration, g=τc2 , where τ is the change in time dilation over a specific height divided by that height. Unlike quantum theory which requires a different particle for each type of force, g=τc2 is valid and works for gravitational, mechanical & electromagnetic accelerations; and by Occam’s Razor a better result than the Standard Model.
2. There exist a new property of Nature, the Non Inertia (Ni) Field. The Ni Field is defined as a spatial gradient of virtual or real velocities. In a gravitational field orbital velocities are virtual until a satellite is placed in orbit. In centripetal forces (circling stone tied by a string to a pivot) the tangential velocities along the string are real. And in electromagnetism the Ni Field is formed around an electron moving orthogonally to the magnetic field.

Therefore, with respect to gravity modification, a new physics has been found, and this new formula has been published for anyone and everyone to verify for themselves that it is true and correct. (Just note that these calculations have to be done to at least 50 decimal places else rounding errors will result in incorrect answers.)

Prof Eric Laithwaite’s Big Wheel Experiment

Professor Eric Laithwaite of Imperial College, London, in his 1974 address to the Royal Institution demonstrated that a 50lb (22.7kg) motorcycle spun to 5,000 rpm would lift as he rotated it about himself at the end of a 3 foot (1 meter) rod. Videos of his experiments can be found at Gyroscopes.Org[25] To date this has been considered illusory as no one in academia has been able to solve this using classical mechanics. However, ‘illusory’ does not address how the human wrist could carry a 50lb (22.7kg) motorcycle wheel at the end of a 3 foot (1 meter) rod. It is unfortunate that this is the same problem that Cambridge University & Imperial College London[26] avoided answering when commenting on Laithwiate’s experiments.

Using the new physics of Ni Fields, Solomon solved this. There is weight change and it is both upward & downward. The observed acceleration a is governed by the formula a=ωs.ωr.h1/2, where ωs is the spin of the wheel, ωr is the rotation of the spinning wheel about Laithwaite, and h1/2 is the square root of the hypotenuse formed by the radii of the spinning wheel, and the rotation about him.

This is a net effect as there are very strong forces acting on the wheel. These experiments should not be tried at home nor should these be conducted without professional supervision as the edge of 5,000 rpm spinning wheel is travelling at several hundred miles per hour.

The formula a=ωs.ωr.h1/2 shows that when the sense of the spin and rotation are the same the acceleration is towards the observer, and when not, away. Thus one can observe both weight gain and weight loss. The rotation is a critical factor and therefore, the Hayasaka & Takeuchi experiment [27] (weight decreases along the axis of a right spinning gyroscope) should give null results as rotation is not present in their experiments. Subsequently Chinese researchers [28] found null results, which is consistent with Solomon’s a=ωs.ωr.h1/2 .

Most importantly, we now have consistency across different experimental observations, and Laithwaite was correct. (Be careful, as far as one can infer none of the Laithwaite nay saysers conducted comparable experiments to disprove Laithwaite. There have been reports of NASA’s BBP having evaluated Laithwaites’s Big Wheel experiment with null findings, but it appears that such web links are no longer valid.)

Podkletnov’s Gravity Shielding Experiment

In 1992[29] & 1997[30], the Russian researcher Eugene Podkletnov claimed to have discovered, while experimenting with superconductors, that a spinning bilayer disc-shaped ceramic superconductor reduces the gravitational effect.

Many studies have attempted to reproduce Podkletnov’s experiment.[31][32] However, a careful read of these papers show that none of these teams were able to reproduce Podkletnov’s spinning ceramic superconducting disc as their discs would crack before they could reach the disc spins required by Podkletnov. Their conclusion should not have been negative results, it should have been experiments were not reproducible.

Solomon proposed that if correctly done a Ni Field is created that allows for weight change. In particular any hypothesis attempting to solve Podkletnov’s observed gravity shielding effect need to explain 4 observations[33], the stationary disc weight loss, spinning disc weight loss, weight loss increases along a radial distance and weight increase. None of the papers written about Podkletnov’s experiments have even begun to answer these observations.

Is Interstellar Propulsion Feasible?


Given that the new physics of gravity modification has been discovered, one can only conclude that there is a new physics for interstellar propulsion. By the definition destination arrival without effecting velocity or acceleration one can be assured that to discover this physics we have to think outside the box.

Solomon proposed a starting point for this new physics in his paper New Evidence, Conditions, Instruments & Experiments for Gravitational Theories[34], published in the Journal of Modern Physics.

It would be great if we as a community can come together, fund and discover, this new interstellar propulsion physics.


[1] “Xodus One Foundation”.

[2] “Benjamin T Solomon”.

[3] “Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency”.

[4] “100 Year Starship Study”.

[5] “American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA) Sci Tech 2014”.

[6] “International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE) Photonics West 2014”.

[7] “Colorado Space Business Roundtable (CSBR)”.


[9]Sealover, Ed (March 24 2014). “Legislature declares Colorado Aerospace Day; criticizes feds for NASA cuts”. Denver Business Journal. Retrieved March 25 2014. Check date values in: |date=, |accessdate= (help)

[10] Solomon, Benjamin. “iSETI LLC”.

[11] Franks, Adam (July 24 2012). “Alone in the Void”. The New York Times. Retrieved July 24 2012. Check date values in: |date=, |accessdate= (help)

[12] “NASA Breakthrough Propulsion”.

[13] “Tau Zero Foundation”.

[14] “The Icarus Project”.

[15] Holmes, Dave (September 19, 2012). “Dr. Eric W. Davis on New Light-Speed Breaking Science”. G4 Media, LLC, A division of NBC Universal. Retrieved March 25 2014. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)

[16] Solomon, Benjamin (2012). An Introduction to Gravity Modification, A Guide to Using Laithwaite’s and Podkletnov’s Experiments and the Physics of Forces for Empirical Results, 2nd Edition. Boca Raton, FLorida, USA: Universal Publishers. ISBN 9781612330891.

[17] Solomon, Benjamin (August 27, 2013). “New Evidence, Conditions, Instruments & Experiments for Gravitational Theories”. Journal of Modern Physics. Volume 4 (8A). doi:10.4236/jmp.2013.48A018.

[18] Solomon, Benjamin (2011). “Gravitational Acceleration Without Mass And Noninertia Fields”. Physics Essays 24 (3): 327.

[19] Solomon, Benjamin (2011). “Reverse Engineering Podkletnov’s Experiments”. Physics Procedia. Space, Propulsion & Energy Sciences International Forum 20: 120-133.

[20] Solomon, Benjamin (16 March 2009). “An Approach to Gravity Modification as a Propulsion Technology”. AIP Proceedings. SPACE, PROPULSION & ENERGY SCIENCES INTERNATIONAL FORUM 1103. doi:10.1063/1.3115512.

[21] Solomon, Benjamin (28 January 2010). ““Non-Gaussian Photon Probability Distributions”. AIP Proceedings. SPACE, PROPULSION & ENERGY SCIENCES INTERNATIONAL FORMUM 1208: 261. doi:10.1063/1.3326254.

[22] Kline, Morris (1982). Mathematics: The Loss of Certainty. Oxford & New York: Ofxord University Press. ISBN 0-19-503085-0.

[23] Solomon, Benjamin (2011). “Gravitational Acceleration Without Mass And Noninertia Fields”. Physics Essays 24 (3): 327.

[24] Solomon, Benjamin (16 March 2009). “An Approach to Gravity Modification as a Propulsion Technology”. AIP Proceedings. SPACE, PROPULSION & ENERGY SCIENCES INTERNATIONAL FORUM 1103. doi:10.1063/1.3115512.

[25] “”.

[26] Laithwiate’s Experiments “Laithwiate’s Experiments”. Imperial College London. Retrieved March 25 2014. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)

[27] Hayasaka, H. and Takeuchi, S. (1989). “Anomalous weight reduction on a gyroscope’s right rotations around the vertical axis on the Earth”. Physics Review Letters 63 (25): 2701–2704.

[28] Luo; Nie, Zhang, Zhou (2002). “Null result for violation of the equivalence principle with free-fall rotating gyroscopes”. Phys. Rev. D 65: 042005. Cite uses deprecated parameters (help)

[29] Podkletnov; Nieminen (1992). “A Possibility of Gravitational Force Shielding by Bulk YBa2Cu3O7-x Superconductor”. Physica C 203 (3): 441–444. Cite uses deprecated parameters (help)

[30] Podkletnov (1997). “Weak gravitational shielding properties of composite bulk YBa2Cu3O7-x superconductor below 70K under e.m. field”.

[31] Woods, C., Cooke, S., Helme, J., and Caldwell, C., “Gravity Modification by High Temperature Superconductors,” Joint Propulsion Conference, AIAA 2001–3363, (2001).

[32] Hathaway, G., Cleveland, B., and Bao, Y., “Gravity Modification Experiment using a Rotating Superconducting Disc and Radio Frequency Fields,” Physica C, 385, 488–500, (2003).

[33] Solomon, Benjamin (March 2012). An Introduction to Gravity Modification: A guide to using Laithwaite’s and Podkletnov’s experiments and the physics of forces for empirical results. Boca Raton: Universal Publishers. p. 530. ISBN 9781612330891.

[34] Solomon, Benjamin (August 27, 2013). “New Evidence, Conditions, Instruments & Experiments for Gravitational Theories”. Journal of Modern Physics. Volume 4 (8A). doi:10.4236/jmp.2013.48A018.

Colorado Aerospace Day

This year Colorado Aerospace Day was Monday, March 24 2014. A full day event organized by the Colorado Space Business Roundtable (CSBR), Colorado Space Coalition (CSC) and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

The Xodus One Foundation was a Breakfast and Lunch sponsor. Here is the YouTube video of the event . You can see me 1:50 minutes into the video, third row from the bottom, first person from the left.