Breakthrough Propulsion

Star Trek, Star Tech

May 24, 2013

Tau Zero’s founding architect (and the former head of NASA’s Breakthrough Propulsion Physics project) weighs in on the kind of technology we see in the new Star Trek movie and ponders what it would take to make at least some of it real. by Marc Millis Another Star Trek film just hit the screen – […]

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An Advanced Propulsion Overview

September 4, 2009

Both Tau Zero Foundation founder Marc Millis and JPL’s recently retired Robert Frisbee appear in an article in the Smithsonian’s Air & Space, where voyages to distant places indeed are discussed. Nothing is further from Earth, the article notes, than Voyager 1, which travels at a speed (almost 17 kilometers per second) that would get […]

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Wired Looks at Advanced Propulsion

May 5, 2009

Wired has picked up on our Frontiers of Propulsion Science book with just published interviews of Marc Millis and Eric Davis, co-editors of the volume. Interviewer Sharon Weinberger had a tough assignment, dealing with a 739 page collection of technical and scientific papers aimed, as she notes, at scientists and university students. But her questions […]

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New Propellantless Thruster Experiments

July 5, 2007

A mission to another star is quite a jump for today’s technologies and will be for some time to come. But if you’re thinking of robotic payloads rather than human, it’s at least in the range of possibility. Fast ‘Sun-diver’ trajectories that could get a fly-by probe to Alpha Centauri in something on the order […]

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Woodward, Mach and Breakthrough Propulsion

June 26, 2007

Four trips to the Moon a day? That’s one capability of a theoretical vehicle discussed in last January’s newsletter from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. I hadn’t realized the AIAA was putting these newsletters online until I saw Adam Crowl’s post on Crowlspace discussing the above possibility. Adam notes that a vehicle powered […]

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Deep Space Propulsion via Magnetic Fields

May 22, 2007

The beauty of magnetic sail concepts — magsails — is that they let us leave heavy tanks of propellants behind and use naturally occurring phenomena like the solar wind to push us where we’re going. Solar sails, of course, do the same thing, though they use the momentum imparted by photons rather than the energetic […]

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Bussard and Fusion: A Practical Alternative

January 9, 2007

Some time later this month a paper by Robert Bussard should become available [Addendum: The paper is already available here — thanks to a sharp-eyed reader for the tip]. You’ll want to pay attention when it appears, because Bussard has spent well over a decade at Energy Matter Conversion Corporation (EMC2), a San Diego company […]

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Gravity, Inertia, Exotica

August 28, 2006

Are we ever going to understand what makes matter resist acceleration? If we can get a handle on inertia, we’ll have a better idea what’s possible when it comes to exotic propulsion. 19th Century physicist Ernst Mach believed that inertia was the result of matter being acted upon by all other objects in the universe, […]

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A Potential Breakthrough in Quantum Gravity

March 25, 2006

An effect that far exceeds what would be expected under Einstein’s theory of General Relativity has been produced in a laboratory. The fact that the effect — the gravitational equivalent of a magnetic field — is one hundred million trillion times larger than what General Relativity predicts has raised the eyebrows of more than a […]

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Creating a Traversable Wormhole

February 28, 2006

Can traversable wormholes be created, allowing us to achieve our wildest dreams of traveling between the stars? Mohammad Mansouryar says yes, and in a paper titled “On a macroscopic traversable spacewarp in practice,” the young Iranian theorist lays out his argument. Mansouryar bases his thinking on a needed prerequisite: the violation of the Averaged Null […]

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