muntain

Apr 302015
 

2015 NASA-JSC Eagleworks Warp-field Interferometer Test Set Up

My last post detailed the possibility of a ‘warp drive’ derived by NASA, mentioning NASA’s work on an ion propulsion (or electromagnetic [EM] drive).

Yesterday, NASA brought out more information on the EM drive.

This new technology already has NASA looking at manned missions to Mars and back taking under a year, or a mission to Alpha Centauri taking less than a century.

Another variation from normal scientific research: “A community of enthusiasts, engineers, and scientists on several continents joined forces on the NASASpaceflight.com EM Drive forum to thoroughly examine the experiments and discuss theories of operation of the EM Drive.” In other words, a long discussion occurred between scientists on the NASA public forums, which helped to examine and discuss the results of NASA’s test.

This drive was originally “met with initial skepticism within the scientific community because this lack of propellant expulsion would leave nothing to balance the change in the spacecraft’s momentum if it were able to accelerate.”

And yet NASA decided to test it to make sure. This tickles me pink because NASA did not give in to the nay-sayers, those people in the ‘scientific community’ who insist that things cannot be done any differently than they’ve already tried.

I have high regard for ‘the scientific community’, but it does like to rest on old ideas at times. As a community, it’s very conservative in that it wants everything to follow the accepted scientific theories as though they were laws.

Stephen Hawking, the brilliant physicist who has created, debunked, and formulated more scientific theories than any other current scientist, is still theorizing. Even though he’s proved some of his own theories wrong or misconceived, he works on more and more, building on successes and failures, to create more theories to be considered, debunked, or accepted.

And it’s people like Hawking and organizations like NASA that will someday take mankind to the stars and beyond. Because they’re not afraid to try things that ‘conventional wisdom’ says won’t work.

It’s so impressive, so mind-boggling, so… absolutely through-the-roof-past-the-moon-out-of-this-galaxy amazing, that scientists are now considering the possibility of sending technology to study the next star system.

And that this is even considered speaks realms about the scientists who refuse to say ‘impossible’ and, instead, test new ideas.

This is what science is all about.

Warp drives, ion propulsion engines, and future possibilities

 Science for imagination  Comments Off on Warp drives, ion propulsion engines, and future possibilities
Apr 272015
 
NASA: Warp drive image

Image from NASA: Status of Warp Drive

The ‘warp drive’ has been a staple of science fiction ever since Einstein put the kibosh on ‘faster-than-light’ travel with his theory of relativity.

But it might not only be science fiction anymore. NASA may have already developed a type of warp travel, though there is still a lot of research that needs to be done.

It’s amazing that this is even a possibility. And it all came about through the introduction of something else no one believed possible: an ion propulsion engine.

This imagination-stimulating information is from an IFLScience article: Has NASA really created a warp drive?

NASA is more cautious: Is warp drive real?

More information on NASA’s view on faster-than-light (or warp) travel: Status of “Warp Drive”

But they are optimistic about ion propulsion engines: NEXT provides lasting propulsion and high speeds for deep space missions

All in all, some lovely fodder for the science fiction imagination.

Mar 302015
 

cat_mouse_freeimages

Fact or fiction? To tell you the truth, I don’t have a clear answer – but the possibility is such flavourful fodder for the imagination that I had to speak to it here.

This is the story that’s feeding this feast: Common parasite could manipulate our behaviour, an article from Scientific American.

Studies mentioned in this article have concluded that the toxoplasmosis infection can alter rodent neurological pathways – and therefore behaviour – making cat odours invoke sexual attraction rather than fear. A rodent infected in this manner would be more likely to run towards a cat than away from one.

One phrase from this article that I will never forget is kiss-and-spit: when a mammal is infected, the parasite will attach itself to a cell (the kiss) and release foreign proteins into the cell (the spit). That’s not an image that is easily forgotten.

Whether this translates into human behaviour is still under study. It looks, however, like it’s very possible. I’m looking forward to further research results.