December 21, 2014

Mars Curiosity Rover measures a tenfold spike in methane which could mean life on Mars

NASA's Mars Curiosity rover has measured a tenfold spike in methane, an organic chemical, in the atmosphere around it and detected other organic molecules in a rock-powder sample collected by the robotic laboratory's drill.

"This temporary increase in methane -- sharply up and then back down -- tells us there must be some relatively localized source," said Sushil Atreya of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, a member of the Curiosity rover science team. "There are many possible sources, biological or non-biological, such as interaction of water and rock."

Researchers used Curiosity's onboard Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) laboratory a dozen times in a 20-month period to sniff methane in the atmosphere. During two of those months, in late 2013 and early 2014, four measurements averaged seven parts per billion. Before and after that, readings averaged only one-tenth that level.

This illustration portrays some of the reasons why finding organic chemicals on Mars is challenging. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Science Express - Mars Methane Detection and Variability at Gale Crater

Science Express - The Imprint of Atmospheric Evolution in the D/H or Hesperian Clay Minerals on Mars

December 20, 2014

Recent Mach Effect Theory and Experimental Work from presentation to NASA

Theory and Experimental Work on Mach Effect Thrusters (MET) presentation.

How do METs Mach Effect Thrusters work?

• METs depend on “Mach’s principle” being correct.
• Mach’s principle is the proposition that all inertial forces – the forces of reaction in Newton’s third law of mechanics – are produced by the gravitational action of all of the “matter” (everything that gravitates) in the universe.
• In our universe, the conditions needed for this to be true in general relativity are those in fact observed – spatial flatness at cosmic scale.
• When the action of gravity on accelerating local objects is analyzed in relativistically correct fashion, it is found that the rest masses of accelerating objects that are also changing their internal energies (being squished) change. They fluctuate.
• If these rest mass fluctuations are produced periodically, and a second periodic force is brought to bear, you can push heavy, pull light on the fluctuating mass and produce a steady thrust.

The gravitational/inertial effects in question are transients; fluctuations in the rest-masses of objects accelerated by external forces that undergo changes in their internal energies as they are accelerated.


Experimental Conclusions
• The experimental results suggest that Mach effect exists [3-4 micronewton signal looks clear].
• The thrusts are closer than order of magnitude to those predicted.
• The experimental program aims to increase thrust to commercial levels for satellite station-keeping.

The new experimental results of the previous 6 months. The emphasis has been on a new construction using a single central bolt and annular Lead Zirconate Titanate (PZT) disks. This arrangement closely resembles the readily available tonpilz transducers.
Results obtained by varying the reaction mass, the pre-tensioning of the bolt and also the arrangement of the PZT crystals in the stack.

Thanks to DeltaV at Talkpolywell for the links

December 19, 2014

Theory of a Mach Effect Thruster

Theory of a Mach Effect Thruster

The Mach Effect Thruster (MET) is a device which uses Machs principle in Einsteins general relativity to produce a constant acceleration in a device which is undergoing internal energy changes and mass fluctuations. Machs principle is a statement that the inertia of a body is the result of the gravitational interaction of the body with the rest of the mass-energy in the universe. The MET device requires no fuel as a propellant, it just needs electric power of 100-200 Watts to operate. The thrusts at the present time are small of the order of a few micro-Newtons. The first part of the paper is devoted to experiment and a description of the MET device and apparatus for measuring thrusts. The second half of the paper, we re-introduce the idea of advanced waves, by summarizing Dirac, Wheeler-Feynman and Hoyl-Narlikar. We show how Woodward’s mass fluctuation formula can be derived from first principles using the Hoyl-Narlikar (HN) theory which is a fully Machian version of Einstein’s relativity. HN theory reduces to Einstein’s field equations in the limit of smooth fluid distribution of matter and a simple coordinate transformation.

Dr Sonny White updates on space warping and emdrive experimental work

NASA Ames Research Director’s Colloquium, August 12, 2014. Human space exploration is currently still in Low Earth Orbit. But what would it eventually take for humans to explore the outer solar system? If the ultimate objective is the stars, then what might that look like? How hard is interstellar flight?

Dr. Harold White, Advanced Propulsion Theme Lead for the NASA Engineering Directorate, discusses a couple of advanced propulsion concepts that may one day be useful for helping us reach the stars.

The NASA Ames Director's Colloquium Summer Series was presented by the Office of the Chief Scientist as part of the Center's 75th anniversary celebration.

Significant resources to make Mach Effect Propulsion might have spaceship propulsion within ten years

Journal of Space Exploration - How Long Will It Take To Build Starships?

The theme for Space Technology Applications International Forum II in 2013 was: when will it be possible to build craft capable of reaching the stars in reasonable lengths of time? “Reasonable” was understood to be significantly less than a human lifetime. That can only be done by implementing “exotic” technologies that are presently thought to be the stuff of science fiction. But there is at least one proposal may make such technologies practicable. It rests on “Mach’s principle” as Einstein called it. This paper, which captures the contents of the keynote talk at that conference, recapitulates how we have reached our present pass, and tells of recent experimental developments in the “Mach effects” project. Though a small-scale, table top project, steady progress has been made. For example, switching transients that may have propulsive applications are reported here. Post conference comments on claims that the quantum vacuum can be exploited for propulsive purposes are included. It is shown that such speculations are without merit.

The theory and experiments for Mach Effect Thrusters look good and are worth scaling. If it proves out and does scale with better materials and higher power levels (into the megawatt ranges) then it could enable propellantless propulsion up to 1G space drive and beyond.

UPDATE - we have an article that has excerpts of a recent presentation which simplifies the explanation of the theory and experimental work

Mach Effect Propellantless Propulsion does not violate Newtons Laws but is a consequence of them

Thanks to Talk Polywell for the links to several more articles on Mach Propulsion

Keith H. Wanser from the University of California has used Newton’s second law to explain propellantless acceleration, and he explicitly compares his findings to Woodward’s work on the Mach Effect.

Journal of Space Exploration - Center of mass acceleration of an isolated system of two particles with time variable masses interacting with each other via Newton’s third law internal forces: Mach effect thrust 1

Utilizing Newton’s second law of motion, it is shown that an isolated system consisting of two particles with time variable masses interacting with each other via Newton’s third law forces and no net external force can produce a DC (unidirectional) acceleration of the center of mass of the system, without any net loss or gain of mass in a cyclic process. There is no rocket type thrust in the usual sense of ejecting propellant, since it is supposed that there is no relative velocity along the direction of motion associated with the mass changes. A surprising result is that it is necessary to rederive the expression for the acceleration of the center of mass of a system when the masses are time variable, the usual expression producing zero acceleration of the center of mass under very general conditions of time variable masses and any Newton’s third law forces of interaction between them. There is no violation of momentum conservation, since the total mechanical momentum of the two particle system is not conserved, a result which is independent of the exact mechanism for producing the time variable masses. Explicit expressions are obtained for the acceleration of the center of mass and time rate of change of the total momentum for a simple model of forces and mass fluctuations with harmonic time variation. Implications of these results are discussed, including their application to propellantless Mach Effect Thruster’s (MET’s).

Ibuprofen extended lifespan an average of 15 percent in model organisms

Ibuprofen, a common over-the-counter drug used to relieve pain and fever, could hold the keys to a longer healthier life, according to a study by researchers at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging. Publishing in PLoS Genetics on December 18th, scientists showed that regular doses of ibuprofen extended the lifespan of yeast, worms and fruit flies.

“There is a lot to be excited about,” said Brian Kennedy, PhD, CEO of the Buck Institute, who said treatments, given at doses comparable to those used in humans, extended lifespan an average of 15 percent in the model organisms. “Not only did all the species live longer, but the treated flies and worms appeared more healthy,” he said. “The research shows that ibuprofen impacts a process not yet implicated in aging, giving us a new way to study and understand the aging process.” But most importantly, Kennedy said the study opens the door for a new exploration of so-called “anti-aging medicines.” “Ibuprofen is a relatively safe drug, found in most people’s medicine cabinets,” he said. “There is every reason to believe there are other existing treatments that can impact healthspan and we need to be studying them.”

Ibuprofen inhibits tryptophan import, reduces intracellular tryptophan levels and does not extend RLS in the absence of tryptophan permeases.

PLOS Genetics - Enhanced Longevity by Ibuprofen, Conserved in Multiple Species, Occurs in Yeast through Inhibition of Tryptophan Import