Invisible Rocketry: How to Produce an Apparently Reactionless Drive without Violating Newton’s Third Law
Advanced space propulsion studies, especially for interstellar travel, frequently examine the prospects of using antimatter as a fuel source. Most such studies presume a fairly “lean” mix in which antiprotons comprising a small fraction of the total fuel mass undergo annihilation in more complex nuclei, heating the fuel mixture to temperatures at which the exhaust velocity will be a significant fraction of c. The simple proton-antiproton annihilation reaction seems unsuited to such applications since a majority of the energy in this reaction ultimately emerges in the form of neutrinos, which cannot readily be manipulated for thrust. However, this objection disappears if the proton-antiproton pair is accelerated to relativistic velocity before annihilation. Assuming the non-neutrino reaction products are captured and reprocessed for energy, the drag suffered from this capture will be less than the thrust applied to the initial pair, the remaining momentum being carried away by the neutrinos. The recoverable energy can be used to accelerate the next pair, leading to a closed-cycle process which generates thrust without requiring an exhaust port or producing a visible plume of reaction products. The fuel efficiency will depend on the proportion of the intermediate reaction products that have time to decay to neutrinos, which will in turn depend on the length of free path available for these reaction products to decay. Implications of this fuel and drive system for the hypothesis that some UFOs are ETI spacecraft are discussed. A direct empirical test of this hypothesis may be achievable by comparing the direction of observed UFO maneuvers with the locations and observation records of neutrino telescopes which have been operating for several decades.
Recorded at the 27th annual SSE Conference in 2008 in Boulder, Colorado, USA.
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Published on November 13, 2018