05 January 2006

2nd Star To the Right then Straight on 'til Morning

Where would you go if you could go anywhere? Micah at Event Horizon Blog, pointed to this suite of NASA sites discussing space travel options.

A recent article in the Scotsman newspaper looks at another idea, "AN EXTRAORDINARY "hyperspace" engine that could make interstellar space travel a reality by flying into other dimensions is being investigated by the United States government.

The hypothetical device, which has been outlined in principle but is based on a controversial theory about the fabric of the universe, could potentially allow a spacecraft to travel to Mars in three hours and journey to a star 11 light years away in just 80 days, according to a report in today's New Scientist magazine.

The theoretical engine works by creating an intense magnetic field that, according to ideas first developed by the late scientist Burkhard Heim in the 1950s, would produce a gravitational field and result in thrust for a spacecraft. "
Hat tip to we make money not art.com.

A slightly older article from livescience.com discusses the z-machine as of a year ago.

Burkhard Heim proposed this general concept back in the 1950s. Some friends and I in graduate school developed a mathematical model on paper for this type of drive, but decided it would have to wait for a fusion power source. Reportedly, the Z pinch has achieved some limited fusion reactions when deuterium was added to the experimental apparatus.

Update 6 Jan 06: Here is a link to the New Scientist article that goes into a bit more detail than the Scotsman account.

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