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)


The Kline Directive: Technological Feasibility (2e)

To achieve interstellar travel, the Kline Directive instructs us to be bold, to explore what others have not, to seek what others will not, to change what others dare not. To extend the boundaries of our knowledge, to advocate new methods, techniques and research, to sponsor change not status quo, on 5 fronts, Legal Standing, Safety Awareness, Economic Viability, Theoretical-Empirical Relationships, and Technological Feasibility.

In this post I explain two more mistakes in physics. The first is 55 years old, and should have been caught long ago.

Bondi, in his 1957 paper “Negative mass in General Relativity”, had suggested that mass could be negative and there are surprising results from this possibility. I quote,

“. . . the positive body will attract the negative one (since all bodies are attracted by it), while the negative body will repel the positive body (since all bodies are repelled by it). If the motion is confined to the line of centers, then one would expect the pair to move off with uniform acceleration . . .”

As a theoretician Bondi required that the motion be “confined to the line of centers” or be confined to a straight line. However, as experimental physicist we would take a quantity of negative mass and another quantity of positive mass and place them in special containers attached two spokes. These spokes form a small arc at one end and fixed to the axis of a generator at the other end. Let go, and watch Bondi’s uniform straight line acceleration be translated into circular motion driving a generator. Low and behold, we have a perpetual motion machine generating free electricity!

Wow! A perpetual motion machine hiding in plain sight in the respectable physics literature, and nobody caught it. What is really bad about this is that Einstein’s General Relativity allows for this type of physics, and therefore in General Relativity this is real. So was Bondi wrong or does General Relativity permit perpetual motion physics? If Bondi is wrong then could Alcubierre too be wrong as his metrics requires negative mass?

Perpetual motion is sacrilege in contemporary physics, and therefore negative mass could not exist. Therefore negative mass is in the realm of mathematical conjecture. What really surprised me was the General Relativity allows for negative mass, at least Bondi’s treatment of General Relativity.

This raises the question, what other problems in contemporary physics do we have hiding in plain sight?

There are two types of exotic matter, that I know of, the first is negative mass per Bondi (above) and the second is imaginary (square root of -1) mass.  The recent flurry of activity of the possibility that some European physicists had observed FTL (faster than light) neutrinos, should also teach us some lessons.

If a particle is traveling faster than light its mass becomes imaginary. This means that these particles could not be detected by ordinary, plain and simple mass based instruments. So what were these physicists thinking? That somehow Lorentz-Fitzgerald transformations were no longer valid? That mass would not convert into imaginary matter at FTL? It turned out that their measurements were incorrect. Just goes to show how difficult experimental physics can get, and these experimental physicists are not given the recognition due to them for the degree of difficulty of their work.

So what type of exotic matter was Dr. Harold White of NASA’s In-Space Propulsion program proposing in his presentation at the 2012 100-Year Starship Symposium? Both Alcubierre and White require exotic matter. Specifically, Bondi’s negative mass. But I’ve shown that negative mass cannot exist as it results in perpetual motion machines. Inference? We know that this is not technologically feasible.

That is, any hypothesis that requires exotic negative mass cannot be correct. This includes time travel.

Previous post in the Kline Directive series.

Next post in the Kline Directive series.


Benjamin T Solomon is the author & principal investigator of the 12-year study into the theoretical & technological feasibility of gravitation modification, titled An Introduction to Gravity Modification, to achieve interstellar travel in our lifetimes. For more information visit iSETI LLC, Interstellar Space Exploration Technology Initiative.

Solomon is inviting all serious participants to his LinkedIn Group Interstellar Travel & Gravity Modification.

12-year investigation leads to new formula for gravity

Press Release
For immediate release

12-year investigation leads to new formula for gravity

Denver, CO (07/21/2011), iSETI LLC announced today that it’s 12-year investigation into  alternative gravitational models has been completed with the publication of the final paper “Gravitational acceleration without mass and noninertia fields” published by  the AIP journal, Physics Essays, for their September 2011 issue. It is available online as of June 23 2011 at the following link,

This paper shows that mass is not required to alter gravitational fields, because g=τc^2, where g is gravitational acceleration, tau, τ, is the change in time dilation divided by the change in distance. This new force field equation g=τc^2 has been shown to be correct for gravitational, electromagnetic & mechanical forces. This unification of gravitational, electromagnetic & mechanical forces was made possible by the discovery of Non Inertia, Ni, fields, a common property of these 3 forces. This proves the theoretical feasibility of developing gravity modification technologies without the use of mass.

iSETI defines gravity modification as the modification of the strength and/or the direction of the gravitational effect without the use of mass. Gravity modification consists of two parts, 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 the force field. With g=τc^2, we now have a theoretical basis for doing both.

iSETI LLC expects that these findings will lead to the development of new space propulsion technologies & new ventures, that could takes us to Mars in 3 days or less, and to the outer planets. The massless g=τc^2 force field equation now opens up the real possibility of engineering a version of the Alcubierre warp drive as spacetime can now be deformed/warped without the use of mass. These findings come at a propitious time as the close of NASA’s Shuttle program raises the urgency for the need to get back into space.

Benjamin Solomon is the founder of the private research firm, iSETI LLC. iSETI stands for Interstellar Space Exploration Technology Initiative. This research is premised on the observation that if the brightest minds working with relativity, quantum & string theories could not solve the gravity modification problem, then iSETI would explore alternative models. Further information & published research can be found at the company’s website or contact Ben Solomon by email or phone (970) 306-7656. Note, that iSETI LLC is not in any way related to the SETI Institute, nor is this work in anyway to be associated with DARPA’s 100 year Starship Study.