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Medical science has changed humanity. It changed what it means to be human, what it means to live a human life. So many of us reading this (and at least one person writing it) owe their lives to medical advances, without which we would have died.

Live expectancy is now well over double what it was for the Medieval Briton, and knocking hard on triple’s door.

What for the future? Extreme life extension is no more inherently ridiculous than human flight or the ability to speak to a person on the other side of the world. Science isn’t magic – and ageing has proven to be a very knotty problem – but science has overcome knotty problems before.

A genuine way to eliminate or severely curtail the influence of ageing on the human body is not in any sense inherently ridiculous. It is, in practice, extremely difficult, but difficult has a tendency to fall before the march of progress. So let us consider what implications a true and seismic advance in this area would have on the nature of human life.


One absolutely critical issue that would surround a breakthrough in this area is the cost. Not so much the cost of research, but the cost of application. Once discovered, is it expensive to do this, or is it cheap? Do you just have to do it once? Is it a cure, or a treatment?

If it can be produced cheaply, and if you only need to do it once, then you could foresee a future where humanity itself moves beyond the ageing process.

The first and most obvious problem that would arise from this is overpopulation. A woman has about 30–35 years of life where she is fertile, and can have children. What if that were extended to 70–100 years? 200 years?

Birth control would take on a vastly more important role than it does today. But then, we’re not just dropping this new discovery into a utopian, liberal future. We’re dropping it into the real world, and in the real world there are numerous places where birth control is culturally condemned. I was born in Ireland, a Catholic nation, where families of 10 siblings or more are not in any sense uncommon.

What of Catholic nations – including some staunchly conservative, and extremely large Catholic societies in Latin America – where birth control is seen as a sin?

Of course, the conservatism of these nations might (might) solve this problem before it arises – the idea of a semi-permanent extension of life might be credibly seen as a deeper and more blasphemous defiance of God than wearing a condom.

But here in the West, the idea that we are allowed to choose how many children we have is a liberty so fundamental that many would baulk to question it.

We may have to.

quizzical baby

There is another issue. What about the environmental impact? We’re already having a massive impact on the environment, and it’s not looking pretty. What if there were 10 times more of us? 100 times more? What about the energy consumption needs, in a world running out of petrol? The food needs? The living space? The household waste?

There are already vast flotillas of plastic waste the size of small nations that float across the surface of the Pacific. Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have just topped 400 parts per million. We are pushing hard at the envelope of what the world of capable of sustaining, and a massive boost in population would only add to that ever-increasing pressure.

Of course, science might well sort out the answer to those things – but will it sort it out in time? The urgency of environmental science, and cultural change, suddenly takes on a whole new level of importance in the light of a seismic advance in addressing the problem of human ageing.

These are problems that would arise if the advance produced a cheap treatment that could (and would) be consumed by very large numbers of people.

But what if it wasn’t a cure? What if it wasn’t cheap? What if it was a treatment, and a very expensive one?

All of a sudden, we’re looking at a very different set of problems, and the biggest of all centres around something Charlie Chaplin said in the speech he gave at the end of his film, The Great Dictator. It is a speech from the heart, and a speech for the ages, given on the eve of mankind’s greatest cataclysm to date, World War 2.

In fact, you’d be doing yourself a favour if you watched the whole thing, it is an astounding speech.

chaplin great dictator

The quote is this:

“To those who can hear me, I say — do not despair.

The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.”

And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.

What if Stalin were immortal? And not just immortal, but immortally young?

Immortally vigourous, able to amplify the power of his cult of personality with his literal immortality.

This to me seems a threat of a very different kind, but of no less importance, than the dangers of overpopulation. That so long as men die, liberty will never perish. But what if men no longer die?

And of course, you could very easily say that those of us lucky enough to live in reasonably well-functioning democracies wouldn’t have to worry too much about this. It doesn’t matter if you live to be 1000, you’re still not getting more than 8 years of them in the White House.

But there is something in the West that would be radically changed in nature. Commercial empires.

What if Rupert Murdoch were immortal?

It doesn’t matter how expensive that treatment for ageing is. If it exists, he’d be able to afford it, and if he were able to buy it, he’d almost certainly do so.

If Fox News was run by an immortal business magnate, with several lifetimes worth of business experience and skill to know how to hold it all together, keep it going, keep it growing? What then?


Not perhaps the sunny utopia of a playground of immortals that we might hope for.

This is a different kind of issue. It’s not an external issue – the external impact of population on the environment, or the external need of a growing population to be fed. These problems might well sink us, but science has shown itself extremely adept at finding solutions to external problems.

What this is, is an internal problem. A problem of humanity. More specifically, the fact that extreme longevity would allow tyranny to achieve a level of entrenchment that it has so far never been capable of.

But then a law might be passed. Something similar to the USA’s 8 year term limit on Presidents. You can’t be a CEO for longer than 30 years, or 40 years, or 50. Something like that might help, might even become urgently necessary over time. Forced retirement for the eternally young.

Not an unproblematic idea, I’m sure you’ll agree. Quite the culture shock for Western societies loathe to accept government intervention in private affairs.

But it is a new category of problem. A classic problem of humanity, amplified by immortality. The centralisation of control, power and influence in a world where the people it centres upon cannot naturally die.

This, I would say, is the most obvious knotty problem that would arise, for humanity, in the event of an expensive, but effective, treatment for ageing.

But then, let’s just take a quick look back at the other side of the coin. Is there a problem inherent in humanity that would be amplified were ageing to be overcome, cheaply, worldwide?

Let me ask you a question.

Do people, generally speaking, become more open to new things, or less open to new things, as they age?

Do older people – just in general terms – embrace change or embrace stasis?

Well, it’s very obvious that some older people do remain young at heart. They remain passionate, humble in their beliefs, they are open to new things, and even embrace them. Some throw the influence and resources they have accrued throughout their lifetimes into this, and are instrumental to the march of progress.

More than this, they add a lifetime of skill, experience and finesse to their passion, a melding of realism and hope that is one of the most precious and potent cocktails that humanity is capable of mixing.

But we’re not talking about the few. We’re talking about the many.

Is it fair to say that most older people take this attitude to change? Or is it fairer to say that older people who retain that passion and spark, who not only have retained it, but have spent a lifetime fuelling it into a great blaze of ability and success – is it fair to say that these people are a minority?

I would say yes. They are incredibly precious, but part of that preciousness is the fact that they are not common.

Perhaps one day we will make our bodies forever young. But what of our spirit? What of our creativity?

I’m not talking about age-related illnesses like Parkinson’s, or Alzheimer’s disease. I’m talking about the creativity, passion and fire of youth.

The temptation of the ‘comfort zone’ for all human beings is a palpable one, and one that every person who lives well, who breaks the mold, who changes the future, must personally overcome.

Do the majority of people overcome it? I would argue no. And more than this, I would argue that living inside a static understanding of the world – even working to protect that understanding in the face of naked and extreme challenges from reality itself – is now, and has historically been, through all human history, the norm.

Those who break the mold, brave the approbation of the crowd, and look to the future with wonder and hope, have always been a minority.

mind closed till further notice

Now add in the factor of time. The retreat into the comforting, the static and the known has a very powerful pull on human beings. It is also not a binary process, but an analogue process – it’s not just a case of you do or you don’t. There are degrees of retreat, extremes of intellectual conservatism, just as there are extremes of intellectual curiosity, and progress.

But which extremes are the more common? This matters, because if all people could live to 200 years old or more, what would that mean for a demographic shift in cultural desire away from change and toward stasis?

A worrying thought. And it might seem that in the light of all this, we should not seek to open the Pandora’s box of eternal life, but should instead stand against such progress, because of the dangers it holds.

But, frankly, this is not an option.

The question is not whether or not human beings should seek to conquer death.

The question is whether or not conquering death is possible.

If it is possible, it will be done. If it is not, it will not be.

But the obvious problem of longevity – massive population expansion – is something that is, at least in principle, amenable to other solutions arising from science as it now practiced. Cultural change is often agonising, but it does happen, and scientific progress may indeed solve the issues of food supply and environmental impact. Perhaps not, but perhaps.

At the very least, these sciences take on a massively greater importance to the cohesion of the human future than they already have, and they are already very important indeed.

But there is another, deeper problem of a very different kind. The issue of the human spirit. If, over time, people (on average) become more calcified in their thinking, more conservative, less likely to take risks, or admit to new possibilities that endanger their understanding, then longevity, distributed across the world, can only lead to a culture where stasis is far more valued than change.

Pandora’s box is already open, and its name is science. Whether it is now, or a hundred years from now, if it is possible for human beings to be rendered immortal through science, someone is going to crack it.

We cannot flinch the future. It would be churlish and naive to assume that such a seemingly impossible vision will forever remain impossible. Not after the last century we just had, where technological change ushered in a new era, a new kind of era, where the impossibilities of the past fell like wheat beneath a scythe.

Scientific progress amplifies the horizon of possible scientific progress. And we stand now at a time when what it means to be a human – something which already undergone enormous change – may change further still, and in ways more profound than any of us can imagine.

If it can be done, it will be done. And so the only sane approach is to look with clarity at what we can see of what that might mean.

The external problems are known problems, and we may yet overcome them. Maybe. If there’s a lot of work, and a lot of people take a lot of issues a lot more seriously than they are already doing.


But there is a different kind of issue. An issue extending from human nature itself. Can we overcome, as a people, as a species, our fear, and the things that send us scurrying back from curiosity and hope into the comforting arms of wilful ignorance, and static belief?

This, in my opinion, is the deepest problem of longevity. Who wants to live forever in a world where young bodies are filled with withered souls, beaten and embittered with the frustrations of age, but empowered to set the world in stone to justify them?

But perhaps it was always going to come to this. That at some point technological advancement would bring us to a kind of reckoning. A reckoning between the forces of human fear, and the value of human courage.

To solve the external problems of an eternal humanity, science must do what science has done so well for so long – to delve into the external, to open up new possibilities to feed the world, and balance human presence with the needs of the Earth.

But to solve the internal problems of an eternal humanity, science needs to go somewhere else. The stunning advances in the understanding of the external world must begin to be matched with new ways of charting the deeps of human nature. The path of courage, of open-mindedness, of humility, and a willingness to embrace change and leave behind the comforting arms of old static belief systems – this is not a path that many choose.

But many more must choose it in a world of immortal people, to counterbalance the conservatism of those who fail the test, and retreat, and live forever.

Einstein lived to a ripe old age, and never lost his wonder. Never lost his humility, or his courage to brave the approbation and ridicule of his peers in that task he set himself. To chart the deep simplicities of the real, and know the mind of God. The failure of the human spirit is not written in the stars, and never will be.

einstein laughing

We are none of us doomed to fail in matters of courage, curiosity, wonder or hope. But we are none of us guaranteed to succeed.

And as long as courage, hope and the ability to break new ground remain vague, hidden properties that we squeamishly refuse to interrogate, each new generation will have to start from scratch, and make their own choices.

And in a world of eternal humans, if any individual generation fails, the world will be counting that price for a very long time.

It is a common fear that if we begin to make serious headway into issues normally the domain of the spiritual, we will destroy the mystique of them, and therefore their preciousness.

Similar criticisms were, and sometimes still are, laid at the feet of Darwin’s work, and Galileo’s. But the fact is that an astronomer does not look to the sky with less wonder because of their deeper understanding, but more wonder.

Reality is both stunningly elegant, and infinitely beautiful, and in these things it is massively more amazing than the little tales of mystery humans have used to make sense of it since we came down from the trees.

In the face of a new future, where the consequences of human courage and human failure are amplified, the scientific conquest of death must be fused with another line of inquiry. The scientific pioneering of the fundamental dynamics of courage in living, and humility to the truth, over what we want to believe.

It will never be a common path, and no matter how clear it is made, or how wide it is opened, there will always be many who will never walk it.

But the wider it can be made, the clearer it can be made, the more credible it can be made as an option.

And we will need that option. We need it now.

And our need will only grow greater with time.

The University of Colorado Boulder holds its annual Gamow Memorial Lecture around this time of the year. This year, Feb 26, 2013, Brian Greene gave the lecture, on multiverses.

His talk was very good. He explained why there are 10500 possible variations to possible universes, and ours was just one of many possible universes, thus the term multiverse.

How interesting. This is an extension of the idea that the Earth or the Sun not being at the center of our Universe.

Brian Green graciously allowed me to have my picture taken with him at the reception held in honor of him after his lecture. In the middle picture I am getting ready my new Nokia Lumia 920 Windows 8 phone.

I may not agree with string theories, but I think it is vitally important to allow all forms of physical theories to take root, and let the community of physicists & engineers determine which theories have a better chance of explaining some aspect of the universal laws of physics, through discussions and experimentations. I would add, and drive new commercially viable technologies.


Benjamin T Solomon is the author of the 12-year study An Introduction to Gravity Modification

I continue to survey the available technology applicable to spaceflight and there is little change.

The remarkable near impact and NEO on the same day seems to fly in the face of the experts quoting a probability of such coincidence being low on the scale of millenium. A recent exchange on a blog has given me the idea that perhaps crude is better. A much faster approach to a nuclear propelled spaceship might be more appropriate.

Unknown to the public there is such a thing as unobtanium. It carries the country name of my birth; Americium.

A certain form of Americium is ideal for a type of nuclear solid fuel rocket. Called a Fission Fragment Rocket, it is straight out of a 1950’s movie with massive thrust at the limit of human G-tolerance. Such a rocket produces large amounts of irradiated material and cannot be fired inside, near, or at the Earth’s magnetic field. The Moon is the place to assemble, test, and launch any nuclear mission.

Such Fission Fragment propelled spacecraft would resemble the original Tsolkovsky space train with a several hundred foot long slender skeleton mounting these one shot Americium boosters. The turn of the century deaf school master continues to predict.

Each lamp-shade-spherical thruster has a programmed design balancing the length and thrust of the burn. After being expended the boosters use a small secondary system to send them into an appropriate direction and probably equipped with small sensor packages, using the hot irradiated shell for an RTG. The Frame that served as a car of the space train transforms into a pair of satellite panels. Being more an artist than an *engineer, I find the monoplane configuration pleasing to the eye as well as being functional. These dozens and eventually thousands of dual purpose boosters would help form a space warning net.

The front of the space train is a large plastic sphere partially filled filled with water sent up from the surface of a a Robotic Lunar Polar Base. The Spaceship would split apart on a tether to generate artificial gravity with the lessening booster mass balanced by varying lengths of tether with an intermediate reactor mass.

These piloted impact threat interceptors would be manned by the United Nations Space Defense Force. All the Nuclear Powers would be represented.…..well, most of them. They would be capable of “fast missions” lasting only a month or at the most two months. They would be launched from underground silos on the Moon to deliver a nuclear weapon package towards an impact threat at the highest possible velocity and so the fastest intercept time. These ships would come back on a ballistic course with all their boosters expended to be rescued by recovery craft from the Moon upon return to the vicinity of Earth.

The key to this scenario is Americium 242. It is extremely expensive stuff. The only alternative is Nuclear Pulse Propulsion (NPP). The problem with bomb propulsion is the need to have a humungous mass for the most efficient size of bomb to react with.

The Logic Tree then splits again with two designs of bomb propelled ship; the “Orion” and the “Medusa.” The Orion is the original design using a metal plate and shock absorbing system. The Medusa is essentially a giant woven alloy parachute and tether system that replaces the plate with a much lighter “mega-sail.” In one of the few cases where compromise might bear fruit- the huge spinning ufo type disc, thousands of feet across, would serve quite well to explore, colonize, and intercept impact threats. Such a ship would require a couple decades to begin manufacture on the Moon.

Americium boosters could be built on earth and inserted into lunar orbit with Human Rated Heavy Lift Vehicles (SLS) and a mission launched well within a ten-year apollo type plan. But the Americium Infrastructure has to be available as a first step.

Would any of my hundreds of faithful followers be willing to assist me in circulating a petition?

*Actually I am neither an artist or an engineer- just a wannabe pulp writer in the mold of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

For those in Colorado who are interested in attending a talk by John Troeltzsch, Sentinel Ball Program Manager, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. please R.S.V.P Chris Zeller ([email protected]) by Tuesday, 26 February 2013 for badge access. US citizenship required.

6:00 pm Thursday, February 28th 2013
6:00 pm Social, 6:30 pm Program
Ball Aerospace Boulder Campus RA7 Conference Room
1600 Commerce St
Boulder, CO 80301

It will be good to see you there.

About the Talk:
The inner solar system is populated with a half million asteroids larger than the one that struck Tunguska and yet we’ve identified and mapped only about one percent of these asteroids to date.

This month’s program will introduce the B612 Foundation and the first privately funded deep space mission–a space telescope designed to discover and track Near Earth Objects (NEO). This dynamic map of NEOs will provide the blueprint for future exploration of our Solar System, enabling potential astronaut missions and protection of the future of life on Earth.

The B612 Foundation is a California 501©(3) non-profit, private foundation dedicated to protecting the Earth from asteroid strikes. Its founding members Rusty Schweickart, Clark Chapman, Piet Hut, and Ed Lu established the foundation in 2002 with the goal of significantly altering the orbit of an asteroid in a controlled manner.

The B612 Foundation is working with Ball Aerospace, Boulder, CO, which is designing and building the Sentinel Infrared (IR) Space Telescope with the same expert team that developed the Spitzer and Kepler Space Telescopes. It will take approximately five years to complete development and testing to be ready for launch in 2017–2018.

About John Troeltzsch:
John Troeltzsch is the Sentinel mission program manager for Ball Aerospace. Troeltzsch received his Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Colorado in 1983 and was immediately hired by Ball Aerospace. While working at Ball, Troeltzsch continued his studies at C.U. and received his Masters of Science in Aerospace Engineering in 1989. He has been a member of AIAA for over 30 years. During his 29 years at Ball Aerospace, Troeltzsch has worked on three of Hubble’s science instruments and in program management for the Spitzer Space Telescope. Following Spitzer’s launch in 2003, Troeltzsch joined Ball’s Kepler team and was named program manager in 2007. For the Kepler mission, Troeltzsch has managed the Ball team, including responsibility for cost, schedule, and performance requirements.

Link to pdf copy of invitation,

I was recently accused on another blog of repeating a defeatist mantra.

My “mantra” has always been WE CAN GO NOW. The solutions are crystal clear to anyone who takes a survey of the available technology. What blinds people is their unwillingness to accept the cost of making it happen.
There is no cheap.

Paul Gilster comments on his blog Centauri Dreams, concerning Radiation, Alzheimer’s Disease and Fermi;

“Neurological damage from human missions to deep space — and the study goes no further than the relatively close Mars — would obviously affect our planning and create serious payload constraints given the need for what might have to be massive shielding.”

Massive shielding.
This is the game changer. The showstopper. The sea change. The paradigm shift.
The cosmic ray gorilla. Whatever you want to call it, it is the reality that most of what we are familiar with concerning human space flight is not going to work in deep space.
Massive Shielding=Nuclear Propulsion=Bombs
We have to transport nuclear materials to the Moon where we can light off a nuclear propulsion system. The Moon is where the ice-derived Water to fill up a Massive radiation shield is to be found.
Massive Shield=Water=Lunar Base
Sequentially: L=W=M=N=B
So, first and last, we need an HLV to get to this Lunar Base (where the Water for the shield is) and we need to safely transport Nuclear material there (and safely assemble and light off the Bombs to push the shield around).

Radiation shielding is the first determining factor in spaceship design and this largely determines the entire development of space travel.

If, we as a community, are intending to accelerate the development of interstellar travel we have to glower at the record and ask ourselves some tough questions. First, what is the current record of the primary players? Second, why is everyone afraid to try something outside the status quo theories?

At the present time the primary players are associated with the DARPA funded 100-Year Starship Study, as Icarus Interstellar who is cross linked with The Tau Zero Foundation and Centauri Dreams is a team member of the 100YSS. I was surprised to find Jean-Luc Cambier on Tau Zero.

Gary Church recently put the final nail in the Icarus Interstellar‘s dreams to build a rocket ship for interstellar travel. In his post on Lifeboat, Cosmic Ray Gorilla Gary Church says “it is likely such a shield will massive over a thousand tons”. Was he suggesting that the new cost of an interstellar rocket ship is not 3.4x World GDP but 34x or 340x World GDP? Oops!

Let us look at the record. Richard Obousy of Icarus Interstellar and Eric Davis of Institute for Advanced Studies claimed that it was possible, using string theories to travel at not just c, the velocity of light but at 1E32c, or c multiplied by a 1 followed by 32 zeros. However, Lorentz-FitzGerald transformations show that anything with mass cannot travel faster than the velocity of light. Note that Lorentz-FitzGerald is an empirical observation which was incorporated into Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity.

It is quite clear that you can use string theories to say anything you want. I used the term ‘mathematical conjecture’.

In April 2008 the esteemed Michio Kaku said in his Space Show interview, that it would take several hundred years to do gravity modification. But Michio Kaku is a string theorist himself. And I might add down to Earth one at that, since his opinion contradicts Richard Obousy and Eric Davis.

Then there is George Hathaway also with the Tau Zero Foundation who could not reproduce Podkletnov’s experiments, even when he was in communication with Podkletnov.

And this is the one group our astronaut Mae Jemison, leader of the 100YSS effort, has teamed up with? My sincerest condolences to you Mae Jemison. Sincerest condolences.

For the answer to the second question, you have to look within yourselves.


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.

Recently, I met Josh Hopkins of Lockheed’s Advanced Programs, AIAA Rocky Mountain Region’s First Annual Technical Symposium (RMATS), October 26, 2012. Josh was the keynote speaker at this RMATS. Here is his presentation. After his presentation we talked outside the conference hall. I told him about my book, and was surprised when he said that two groups had failed to reproduce Podkletnov’s work. I knew one group had but a second? As we parted we said we’d keep in touch. But you know how life is, it has the habit of getting in the way of exciting research, and we lost touch.

About two weeks ago, I remembered, that Josh had said that he would provide some information on the second group that had failed to reproduce Podkletnov’s work. I sent him an email, and was very pleased to hear back from him and that the group’s finding had been published under the title “Gravity Modification by High-Temperature Semiconductors”. The authors were C. Woods, S. Cooke, J. Helme & C. Caldwell. Their paper was published in the 37th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit, 8–11 July 2001, Salt Lake City, Utah. I bought a copy for the AIAA archives, and read it, reread it, and reread it.

Then I found a third team they published their lack of findings “Gravity Modification Experiments Using a Rotating Superconducting Disk and Radio Frequency Fields”. The authors were G. Hathaway, B. Cleveland and Y. Bao. Published in Physica C, 2003.

Both papers focused on attempting to build a correct superconducting disc. At least Wood et al said “the tests have not fulfilled the specified conditions for a gravity effect”. The single most difficult thing to do was to build a bilayered superconducting disc. Woods et al tried very hard to do so. Reading through Hathaway et all paper suggest that they too had similar difficulties. Photo shows a sample disc from Woods’ team. Observe the crack in the middle.

Further, Woods’ team was able to rotate their disc to 5,000 rpm. Hathaway’s team reports a rotational speed of between 400–800 rpm, a far cry from Podkletnov’s 5,000 rpm. This suggests that there were other problems in Hathaway’s disc not reported in their paper. With 400–800 rpm, if Hathaway were to observe a significant weight change it would have been less than the repeatable experimental sensitivity of 0.5mg!

Here are some quotes from Hathaway et al’s original paper “As a result of these tests it was decided that either the coil designs were inefficient at producing …”, “the rapid induction heating at room temperature cracked the non-superconducting disk into two pieces within 3 s”, “Further tests are needed to determine the proper test set-up required to detect the reverse Josephson junction effect in multi-grain bulk YBCO superconductors”.

It is quite obvious from reading both papers that neither team were able to faithfully reproduce Podkletnov’s work, and it is no wonder that at least Woods et al team stated “the tests have not fulfilled the specified conditions for a gravity effect”. This statement definitely applies to Hathaway et al’s research. There is more to critic both investigations, but .… this should be enough.

Now, for the final surprise. The first team I had mentioned earlier. Ning Li led the first team comprised of members from NASA and University of Huntsville, AL. It was revealed in conversations with a former team member that Ning Li’s team was disbanded before they could build the superconducting discs required to investigate Podkletnov’s claims. Wow!

If you think about it, all these “investigations” just showed that nobody in the US was capable of faithfully reproducing Podkletnov’s experiments to even disprove it.

What a big surprise! A null result is not a disproof.


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.

May peace break into your home and may thieves come to steal your debts.
May the pockets of your jeans become a magnet for $100 bills.
May love stick to your face like Vaseline and may laughter assault your lips!
May happiness slap you across the face and may your tears be that of joy
May the problems you had, forget your home address!

In simple words .….….……May 2013 be EXTRAORDINARY … the best year of your life!!! Simply the best New Year greeting anyone has sent to me. This was from Robert White of Extraordinary People.

This morning I checked the Lifeboat stats for 2012. When I started blogging for Lifeboat at the end of July, we ended July 2012 with 42,771 unique visitors. We closed 2012 with 90,920 unique visitors for the month December. Wow! Our blogging has become more relevant, and more thought provoking. As a community of bloggers (with the exception of one) we have moved away from the 3 Cs of pseudoscience. Clouding the field. Confusing the public’s perception. Chasing away talent.

How did we do this? By backing up our discussions with hard facts, robust debate and real numbers. From years if not decades of investigation in our field of research. By speaking from our own unique experience. By sharing that unique experience with our readers.

Once again, may 2013 be an extraordinary year.


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.

Gravity Modification – New Tools

Posted in business, cosmology, defense, education, engineering, general relativity, particle physics, philosophy, physics, policy, spaceTagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment on Gravity Modification – New Tools

To understand why gravity modification is not yet a reality, let’s analyze other fundamental discoveries/inventions that changed our civilization or at least the substantially changed the process of discovery. There are several that come to mind, the atomic bomb, heavier than air manned flight, the light bulb, personal computers, and protein folding. There are many other examples but these are sufficient to illustrate what it takes. Before we start, we have to understand four important and related concepts.

(1) Clusters or business clusters, first proposed by Harvard prof. Michael Porter, “a business cluster is a geographic concentration of interconnected businesses, suppliers, and associated institutions in a particular field. Clusters are considered to increase the productivity with which companies can compete, nationally and globally”. Toyota City which predates Porter’s proposal, comes to mind. China’s 12 new cities come to mind, and yes there are pro and cons.

(2) Hot housing, a place offering ideal conditions for the growth of an idea, activity, etc. (3) Crowdsourcing, is a process that involves outsourcing tasks to a distributed group of people. This process can occur both online and offline. Crowdsourcing is different from an ordinary outsourcing since it is a task or problem that is outsourced to an undefined public rather than a specific body. (4) Groundswell, a strong public feeling or opinion that is detectable even though not openly expressed.

I first read about the fascinating story of the making of the atom bomb from Stephane Groueff’s The Manhattan Project-the Making of the Atomic Bomb, in the 1970s. We get a clear idea why this worked. Under the direction of Major General Leslie Groves, and J. Robert Oppenheimer the US, UK & Canada hot housed scientist, engineers, and staff to invent and produce the atomic bomb physics, engineering and manufacturing capabilities. Today we term this key driver of success ‘hot housing’, the bringing together a group of experts to identify avenues for further research, to brainstorm potential solutions, and to test, falsify and validate research paths, focused on a specific desired outcome. The threat of losing out to the Axis powers helped increase this hot housing effect. This is much like what the Aspen Center for Physics is doing (video here).

In the case of the invention of the light bulb, the airplane, and the personal computer, there was a groundswell of public opinion that these inventions could be possible. This led potential inventors with the necessary basic skills to attempt to solve these problems. In the case of the incandescent light bulb, this process took about 70 years from Humphrey Davy in 1809, to Thomas A. Edison and Joseph Wilson Swan in 1879. The groundswell started with Humphrey and had included many by the time of Edison in 1879.

In the case of the airplane the Wright brothers reviewed other researchers’ findings (the groundswell had begun much earlier), and then invented several new tools & skills, flight control, model testing techniques, test pilot skills, light weight motors and new propeller designs.

The invention of the personal computer had the same groundswell effect (see Homebrew Computer Club & PBS TV transcripts). Ed Roberts, Gordon French, Fred Moore, Bob Harsh, George Morrow, Adam Osborne, Lee Felsenstein, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, John Draper, Jerry Lawson, Ron Jones and Bill Gates all knew each other before many of them became wealthy and famous. Bill Gates wrote the first personal computer language, while the others invented various versions of the microcomputer, later to be known as the personal computer, and peripherals required. They invented the products and the tools necessary for the PC industry to take off.

With protein folding, Seth Cooper, game designer, developed Fold It, the tool that would make the investigation into protein folding accessible to an undefined public. Today we describe this ‘crowdsourcing’. Notice that here it wasn’t a specialized set of team that was hot housed, but the reverse, the general public, were given the tools to make crowdsourcing a viable means to solving a problem.

Thus four key elements are required to foster innovation, basic skills, groundswell, hothouse or crowdsourcing, and new tools.

So why hasn’t this happened with gravity modification? Some form of the groundswell is there. In his book The Hunt for Zero Point, Nick Cook (an editor of the esteemed Jane’s Defense Weekly) describes a history that goes back to World War II, and Nazi Germany. It is fund reading but Kurt Kleiner of Salon provides a sober review of The Hunt for Zero Point.

There are three primary reasons for this not having happened with gravity modification. First, over the last 50 years or so, there have only been about 50 to 100 people (outside of black projects) who have investigated this in a scientific manner. That is, the groundswell of researchers with the necessary basic skills has not reached a critical mass to take off. For example, protein folding needed at least 40,000 participants, today Fold It has 280,000 registered participants.

Second, pseudoscience has crept into the field previously known as ‘antigravity’. In respectable scientific circles the term used is gravity modification. Pseudoscience, has clouded the field, confused the public’s perception and chased away the talent – the 3 C’s of pseudoscience. Take for example, plutonium bomb propulsion (written by a non-scientist/non-engineer), basic investigation shows that this is neither feasible nor legal, but it still keeps being written up as a ‘real’ proposition. The correct term for plutonium bomb propulsion is pseudoscience.

Third reason. Per the definition of gravity modification, we cannot use existing theories to propose new tools because all our current status quo theories require mass. Therefore, short of my 12-year study, no new tools are forth coming.


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.

Last month a colleague of mine and I visited with Dennis Heap, Executive Director of the National Front Range Airport, at Watkins, CO, the location of the future Spaceport Colorado, and Colorado’s contribution to getting into space. Here is Part 4.

In Part 4, I dwell more into the economic concepts necessary for a spaceports’ long term success. The single most important concept one has to understand with any type of port, airport, seaport and spaceports is the concept of the hinterland economy. The hinterland economy is the surrounding local economy that the port services, either by population demographics, commercial & industrial base or transportation hub per its geographic location.

The Sweden-America model, like Westport Malaysia requires that a hinterland economy will eventually be built close to the port. Westport’s then Vice-Chairman of the Board, Gnanalingam (we called him ‘G’) whom I reported to, had the foresight, the influence and the connections within the Malaysian public sector, to encourage the infrastructure development within Pulah Indah and the neighboring locations.

The hinterland is critical to the success of the port. Therefore the key to a port’s success is the clarification of the term ‘local’ in the definition of the concept of the hinterland. When I joined Westport in 1995, a hinterland was defined as within approximately a 15 mile (24 km) radius of the port. In my opinion that was too small a segment of the economy to facilitate the success of Westport. That definition did not match up with Westport’s ambition to be a world class seaport and transshipment hub that could give PSA (Port Authority of Singapore, then largest container port in the world) a run for its money.

So I changed the definition.

I changed the definition of ‘local’ to 7-hours. Any warehouse, manufacturing site or distribution center within a 7-hour drive of Westport was now Westport’s hinterland. And because Westport was in the middle of Peninsula Malaysia, that ‘7-hours’ translated into the whole of Peninsula Malaysia, from the border with Thailand in the North to all the way down South to Singapore. This increased Westport’s hinterland from 350 sq miles (900 sq km) to 51,000 sq miles (132,000 sq km).

Of course that ‘7-hours’ would not have meant much if Malaysia had not built an interstate system of roads. That is why the public sector involvement in the economy is so vital to an economy’s success; in a manner that says, how can we give back to our tax payers?

And coming back to our original topic, that is the beauty of Spaceport Colorado. It is tucked in close to Denver International Airport (DIA) and the city of Denver. Spaceport Colorado’s hinterland is the whole of the Continental United States. First through the passenger traffic via DIA and second tapping into the high end winter tourists market at Aspen, Vail & Beaver Creek ski resorts.

Spaceport Colorado will be an immense success.


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.