Sunday, January 08, 2006

Getting Hyped About Hyperdrive

There's been a fair bit of discussion within certain ufological circles over the past few days about "hyperdrive."


Because of the following article.

"Take a leap into hyperspace
05 January 2006 news service
Haiko Lietz

EVERY year, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics awards prizes for the best papers presented at its annual conference. Last year's winner in the nuclear and future flight category went to a paper calling for experimental tests of an astonishing new type of engine. According to the paper, this hyperdrive motor would propel a craft through another dimension at enormous speeds. It could leave Earth at lunchtime and get to the moon in time for dinner. There's just one catch: the idea relies on an obscure and largely unrecognised kind of physics. Can they possibly be serious?

The AIAA is certainly not embarrassed. What's more, the US military has begun to cast its eyes over the hyperdrive concept, and a space propulsion researcher at the US Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories has said he would be interested in putting the idea to the test. And despite the bafflement of most physicists at the theory that supposedly underpins it, Pavlos Mikellides, an aerospace engineer at the Arizona State University in Tempe who reviewed the winning paper, stands by the committee's choice. "Even though such features have been explored before, this particular approach is quite unique," he says.

Unique it certainly is. If the experiment gets the go-ahead and works, it could reveal new interactions between the fundamental forces of nature that would change the future of space travel. Forget spending six months or more holed up in a rocket on the way to Mars, a round trip on the hyperdrive could take as little as 5 hours. All our worries about astronauts' muscles wasting away or their DNA being irreparably damaged by cosmic radiation would disappear overnight. What's more the device would put travel to the stars within reach for the first time. But can the hyperdrive really get off the ground?"

The rest of the article can be found here.

Exciting stuff? Well, maybe, but there are some caveats.

First, it's just a theory. There are a lot of theories running around these days.

Second, the theory has not been subjected to any meaningful peer review.

Third, as the article points out, "The general consensus seems to be that Dröscher and Häuser's theory is incomplete at best, and certainly extremely difficult to follow."

Further, as the article also points out, "In its present design, Dröscher and Häuser's experiment requires a magnetic coil several metres in diameter capable of sustaining an enormous current density. Most engineers say that this is not feasible with existing materials and technology..."


"... Roger Lenard, a space propulsion researcher at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico thinks it might just be possible. Sandia runs an X-ray generator known as the Z machine which 'could probably generate the necessary field intensities and gradients'.

For now, though, Lenard considers the theory too shaky to justify the use of the Z machine. 'I would be very interested in getting Sandia interested if we could get a more perspicacious introduction to the mathematics behind the proposed experiment,' he says. 'Even if the results are negative, that, in my mind, is a successful experiment.'"


Hyperdrive - Incomplete. Improbable.

And also Intriguing.

Paul Kimball

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