SSE Talks

TITLE

Mach's Principle and the Propulsion Problem
June 10, 2010 at 2:00 PM MST | J. WOODWARD

AUTHOR(S)

James Woodward

ABSTRACT

How one views the propulsion problem depends on how ambitious one is. The least ambitious version deals with the problem that serious deep space travel is all but made impossible by the requirement that one take along ridiculous amounts of propellant to get anywhere interesting in a reasonable amount of time. This version of the problem can be stated as: Is there a way to accelerate an object without expelling material propellant? The more ambitious version of the problem addresses the issue of whether it is possible to make practicable wormholes. These have been known since the work of Morris and Thorne in 1988 to require a Jupiter mass of negative restmass material confined in the throat of the wormhole. Mach's principle leads to the prediction of transient effects that can be used to address both versions of the propulsion problem.

These effects and their implications are briefly reviewed. An experiment designed to test for the presence of Mach effects that may be applicable to the less ambitious version of the propulsion problem is then described. The effect in question is a mass fluctuation that results when an object is accelerated while its internal energy is changing. It consists of accelerating a capacitor with a piezoelectric actuator as the capacitor is driven with an alternating voltage to produce the changing internal energy needed.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)

California State University Fullerton. Fullerton, California.

NOTES

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