* Would It Keep Us Awake At Night?*It is not sufficient to just challenge the foundations of physics just for the theoretical interest. To make the challenge come alive we need a goal that will keep us awake at night at the possibility of new unthinkable inventions that will take man where no man has gone before.

Is interstellar travel possible? I have found that in trying to answer this question, I am forced to challenge the foundations of physics. This question provides a vessel to discuss how to challenge, and if we have found some of the answers, there are still more questions.

The two most important questions in my opinion are, what is force?, and what is the difference between ‘travel’ and ‘arrival’? That is, why do we need to ‘travel’, why can’t we just ‘arrive’?

I started questioning the foundations of physics in 1999. In attempting to answer the question, what is force?, in 2007 I discovered a new formula for gravitational acceleration g=τc^{2} that does not require us to know the mass of the planet or star. τ is the change in time dilation divided by the change in distance. This is an immense discovery, never before accomplished in the 346-year history, since Newton, of the physics of gravitational fields, as all theories on gravity require us to know the mass of the planet or star.

Gerard ‘t Hooft the 1999 Nobel Laureate showed in 2008 that gravitational forces can be present in space even where planets and stars are not. My work goes a step further. We can determine the acceleration present in space without any knowledge of the planets or stars that cause this gravitational field (Solomon, 2011).

* A New Schema To Advance Propulsion Physics*Unlike Newtonian gravity or General Relativity, the importance of the shape of spacetime lies in the fact that it informs us of what time dilation and length contraction are, as these two parameters are the minimum information one requires to determine gravitational acceleration. Therefore, the formalism in this essay will be different from that of Newtonian gravity or General Relativity, as a tensor treatment is outside the scope of this essay.

A schema is an outline of a model of a complex reality to assist in explaining this reality. The work of various researchers in the gravity field can be presented by a conceptual formalism referred to as source-field-effect schema. The source-field-effect schema corresponds to the mass-gravity-acceleration phenomenon, respectively.

Puthoff’s (Amoroso et al, 2002) source-field schema describes how the mass source could create a gravitational field; how General Relativity’s curved spacetime could be produced by the polarizability of vacuum in the vicinity of a mass. Rueda & Haisch (Amoroso et al, 2002) source schema is about mass only. They discuss inertia mass, mass as a field and Higgs boson as the origin of mass.

Bondi (1957) suggested the possibility of a field schema not requiring mass. Bondi made two observations when reviewing gravitation as a theory and suggested that mass may not be critical to a theory of gravitation. First, as “long as relativity is considered purely as a theory of gravitation, the inertial and passive gravitational masses do not in fact appear.” This is consistent with the fact that gravitational acceleration (but not force) is independent of the mass of the object being accelerated. His second observation was that “active gravitational mass occurs for the first time as a constant of integration in Schwarzschild’s solution” suggesting the possibility that this constant of integration could have other experimentally untested interpretations.

One could conjecture that mass is a proxy for number of quarks and therefore a proxy for quark interaction as the source of gravitational fields. Bondi did not explicitly say it, but maybe one should look into other mechanisms for gravitational field sources. Hooft (2008) takes another step in Bondi’s direction with his source-field schema. He states that the “absence of matter no longer guarantees local flatness” that the absence of mass does not guarantee that acceleration will not be present. In effect the field is being disengaged from its source. Wagoner (1998) describes a local-field schema, how a gravitational field “emerges from a local analysis” leading to a broad class of metric theories.

Solomon’s (2009) schema proposed a different local analysis, one where local field distortions in spacetime lead to a local particle distortions, and alter the ‘shape’ of the particle causing the center of mass of the particle to shift. This shifting is seen as acceleration g and is governed by g = τc^{2}, where τ is the change in time dilation divided by the change in distance across this particle; thereby providing a mathematical solution to Hooft’s (2008) assertion that “absence of matter no longer guarantees local flatness”.

To be continued … Part 2 of this Essay is here.

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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.