NEWScience (September 9, 2017)

 

Gravitational Waves Discovered

(for those who missed out on both the 2015 announcement and it’s significance)

 

by T. L. Keller

 

 

gravitational waves            ripples in the curvature of spacetime that propagate as waves outward from                                                  their source at the speed of light and are without mass (i.e., massless).

 

spacetime                           any mathematical model that fuses the three dimensions of space and the                                                    one dimension of time into a single 4‑dimensional continuum.  Also called                                                    space-time.

 

superluminal                       faster than the speed of light.

 

wormhole                            a wormhole may connect extremely long distances such as a billion light                                                      years or more; short distances such as a few feet; different universes; and/or                                                different points in time. This is proposed in Einstein’s general theory of                                                          relativity where the combination of space and time into a single spacetime                                                    continuum could theoretically allow one to traverse both space and time                                                      using a wormhole under the correct conditions.  Also known scientifically as                                                an Einstein-Rosen Bridge. Wormholes are theoretical and have not as yet                                                      been proven to exist.

                                                                   

Ripples in the curvature of spacetime: that’s the official definition for gravitational waves that scientists have been looking for since Einstein proposed his theory of general relativity in 1916.  So what are they . . . really . . . and why should the reader care?  Well, for one reason at least: they’re weird.  Another reason is that they may be discovered to be one of several proposed means of interstellar propulsion.  But more about that later.

 

                            

 

                                Two black holes in collision releasing gravitational waves 1

 

The Theory

 

In Einstein’s theory, gravity is treated as a phenomenon resulting from the curvature of spacetime.  This curvature results from the presence of a (large) mass or celestial body (the Sun, for example).  The larger the mass, there will be a greater curvature of spacetime around that mass.  Large accelerating masses, under the right conditions, also cause changes in the curvature of spacetime.  Those changes in the curvature propagate outward at the speed of light, have no mass and are known as gravitational waves.

 

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

       

 

 

 

                           

                       Curvature of spacetime around a large mass (Earth shown here) 2

The Science

 

Gravitational waves are produced as a result of the collision of two black holes, in-spiraling neutron stars, binary star systems and supernovae.  For example, as two black holes approach and spin around each other, they eventually spiral in and collide.  The collision releases gravitational waves that create ripples in the curvature of spacetime.  Think of spacetime as a fabric.  A fabric can be folded, bent or warped.  For example, spacetime is folded around a planet and the greater the mass of the planet, the greater is the folding of spacetime around that planet.  What scientists want to know is how gravitational waves work.  What engineers want to know is how gravitational waves could be used in some purposeful way.  But first, the experiment.

 

The Experiment

The further away Earth is from the point of collision of two objects (or acceleration of an object), the lesser will be the effect of the waves as they are detected on Earth.  Funded by the National Science Foundation, LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory) began working in 1994 to detect the passage of gravitational waves.  Several years ago two teams, the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and the Virgo Collaboration, built two separate detection observatories at distant locations.  On September 14, 2015, LIGO detected the first gravitational waves resulting from the collision of two black holes 1.3 billion light years away.  On June 15, 2016 a second set of waves were detected from another collision of two black holes 1.4 billion light years away.  The third detection of the collision of two black holes was made on June 1, 2017 at a distance of 2.9 billion light years.

How does LIGO work? LIGO has one detector in Livingston, Louisiana and one in Richland, Washington.  An interferometer is basically an instrument that measures the interference patterns of light.  In this case we’re dealing with laser light (or what is called coherent light).  Here’s how it works:

 

                                    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                 LIGO Gravitational Wave Detector 3

 

 

Figure 1: A beam splitter (green line) splits laser light (from the white box) into two beams that are reflected off mirrors (cyan colored).  The reflected beams re-combine and an interference pattern is detected (at solid purple dot).

 

Figure 2: As a gravitational wave passes through the left arm (yellow), the length of the arm changes the wave’s length and the wave is detected (at purple circle).

 

Recent Developments

 

As of August 2017, astronomers were searching for a binary neutron star system in NGC 4993, a galaxy about 130 million light years away in the Hydra constellation.  If they find colliding neutron stars, they may also make an optical discovery as well.  Colliding neutron stars, unlike black holes, would emit light in the visible wavelengths of the spectrum in addition to gravitational waves.  Perhaps it’s time to reposition and refocus the Hubble Space Telescope.

 

To date, the results have been puzzling.  It seems that the black holes observed so far aren’t like the ones that we are familiar with in the Milky Way.  “No matter what happens, they don’t look like the ones in our galaxy,” said study author Will Farr from the Birmingham Institute for Gravitational Wave Astronomy.  “It will be weird and exciting.” 4

 

The Significance

 

Now we get to the potential application of gravitational waves to exotic innovations that could ultimately affect all of us.  Science has proven that gravitational waves exist.  We have learned that gravitational waves cause spacetime to curve or bend.  If we could create and control gravitational waves (via a gravitational wave “generator”), we could control spacetime.  The control of spacetime would have several applications — all of considerable interest.

 

Doesn’t this sound familiar?  It should as more often than not we have heard about the positive (and negative) theories of the warping of spacetime from more than one source (Lazar 5, Cook 6, McCandlish 7, Rich 8, Loder 9, LaViolette 10, et al) over the last 28+ years. 

 

Perhaps the naysayers are wrong and less well-known scientists of the government’s special access programs (SAP) were aware of gravitational waves some time ago and have already put them into daily use.  What does that mean, exactly?  This means that if one were able to control spacetime, one could travel a few feet away, to the other side of the Earth or to locations billions of light years away.  And, according to Ben Rich, it wouldn’t take years to get there.  Essentially, controlling spacetime would allow the traveler to create and travel through an equivalent, artificial “wormhole” to anywhere. 

 

For his book, Nick Cook interviewed Dr. Dan Markus, a physicist at one of the UK’s best-known universities (Cambridge?).  Dr. Markus was quoted as saying, “When you bend space, you also bend time.” 11.  Hey folks, we’re talking superluminal, starship travel here!  Time to beam me up, Scotty.

 

Notes:

 

  1. Image courtesy of NASA

  2. Image courtesy of Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spacetime

  3. Image courtesy of NASA

  4. https://gizmodo.com/gravitational-waves-reveal-the-unexpectedly-weird-behav-1798347524

  5. Keller, T. L., The Total Novice’s Guide To UFOs, 2nd edition, 2016, digital edition.

  6. Cook, Nick, The Hunt For Zero Point, 2002, pp. 117, 121, 229.

  7. Keller, T. L., The Total Novice’s Guide To The Secret Space Program, 2017, digital edition.

  8. Ibid.

  9. Ibid.

  10. LaViolette, Ph.D., Paul A., Secrets of Antigravity Propulsion, 2008, pp. 283-295.

  11. Cook, Nick, The Hunt For Zero Point, 2002, page 229.

 

© T L Keller 2017

 

 

NEWScience  (April 12, 2017)

 

Predictions for the 22nd Century

(for those who missed out on both the C-SPAN TV program and it’s significance)

 

by T. L. Keller

 

On April 12, 2017 at the Conference on World Affairs in Boulder, Colorado, three scientists prognosticated on the world of the 22nd century.  Portions of the conference were broadcast on C-SPAN with the following predictions made by Michelle Thaller, Seth Shostak and David Grinspoon.

 

 

Michelle Thaller, Ph.D.

NASA Science Communications Deputy Director

 

Dr. Thaller is an American astronomer and research scientist. Thaller is the assistant director for Science Communication at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.  Dr. Thaller chose to predict breakthrough events in science and culture over the next 50 years, instead of the next 100 years as predictions that far out, she felt, are seldom realized. 

 

  • On astrobiology: Thaller says that there will be a “revolution” in the discovery of extraterrestrial-originated life.  Thaller acknowledged that NASA’s principle mission is the search for microbial life, not intelligent life.  She is very optimistic about NASA finding microbial life on Mars and the moons of Saturn and Jupiter.  She suggests that something like “pond scum” will be discovered on Aurora, one of Jupiter’s 69 moons [although not specifically mentioned by Thaller, Enceladus, is the likely moon of Saturn].  Carbon-rich meteors will be found to be the sources of life on planets.

 

                

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                

 

                                                                                Europa 1

 

  • On global climate change: Thaller expresses concern over the loss of 200 billion tons on ice per year from Greenland alone.  Also, although Antarctica was largely stable until about five years ago, she emphasized that it also is losing about 200 billion tons of ice each year as well.  She says, “We can’t stop the ice caps from shrinking.”  Pacific islanders are now moving to New Zealand since their ancestral islands will be under water 100 years from now.  Thaller also questioned how this will affect a multitude of other climate refugees around the world and how new treaties will have to be created to deal with rising ocean levels.

  • On technology: fossil fueled-aircraft have a huge carbon footprint.  Thaller says that we should question how “green” is green energy.  One hundred years from now we will be weaned away from fossil fuels and instead will be using virtual reality (VR) to replace much of our travel for both business and human interaction.  She says NASA routinely uses Microsoft VR to view various locations on Mars in high definition.

 

                                            Virtual reality will supplement world travel 2

 

  • On social changes: In the next 10 years differences in gender and race will no longer play a significant part in the determination of who will be part of top management as it is now at NASA and elsewhere.

 

 

Seth Shostak, Ph.D.

Senior Astronomer, SETI Institute

 

Dr. Shostak is an American astronomer at the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute and former Director of Center for SETI Research when it was a separate department. Shostak is the author of Confessions of an Alien Hunter: A Scientist's Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.

On the subject of the 22nd century, Shostak says that humanity will be transformed and life then will be very different than today.

 

  • On climate change:  Shostak claims that climate change is a short term problem and says that 1950s London was a case in point.  During that time air quality was poor and unhealthy, public buildings were stained with fallout from air pollution caused by coal dust.  The city ended the use of coal and the air quality improved.  The same will happen with climate change.  “Things are happening in this century that will transform humanity.  This is a special century [the 21st century]. Climate change is solvable. When climate change gets bad, things will [eventually] get better.”

  • On space colonization: In the 22nd century we will have colonies on the Moon and Mars.  There will be massive space cities in orbit around Earth to assure the continuity of human life.  “In space, you will make your own environment — no mosquitos and no snakes!”  Bases on other planets and in space will assure that humanity will survive in the event of meteor impacts or warfare.

 

        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

          

 

                                                               Space colonies in orbit 3

 

  • On understanding biology:  Shostak says that biology is complicated as it’s a bottoms-up system based on mutation, natural selection and survival of the fittest.  By better understanding biology we will cure diseases.  We will not longer have sex to procreate.  Instead, we will have “designer babies” and have the ability to select skin and eye color, intelligence and physical prowess.

  • On SETI: Shostak says that the SETI Institute is looking for life in space too, but it’s, “Life that you see in the movies  — the ones with big eyeballs, no hair, no clothes, gray skin and no sense of humor.” We will discover the existence of extraterrestrial life during the next 20 years.  It will be intelligent life, not just “pond scum.”

  • On future engineering design:, Shostak says that the world has been designed from the “bottom up.”  Biology is “bottoms up,” since it started with microbial life and evolved to what we are today.  Small changes here and there over the millennia created the plants and life forms that we have now.  “It’s complicated, it’s messy and it doesn’t work.  Cars on the other hand are designed from the “top down.”  You design whatever it is that you want.” That will be the way it is in the 22nd century.

 

 

 

David Grinspoon, Ph.D.

Astrobiologist, Planetary Science Institute

 

Dr. Grinspoon was the former inaugural Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology for 2012-2013.  Grinspoon is the author of A Brief History of the Future and Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet’s Future.

 

Grinspoon emphasized that we are now living during the “best time” in history.  This is due to lower infant mortality, decreasing extreme poverty, lower fertility rates and higher education.  But we are also facing the “Great Acceleration.”  We are at the intersection of both positive and negative human influences on our planet.  Although there is an explosion of human knowledge about the Earth, there is also global climate change, increasing carbon dioxide, the damming of rivers and increasing extinction rates.  And everything is increasing at greater rates of acceleration.

 

Grinspoon says that the reason why we are not proficient in forecasting the future is that, “We extrapolate current trends and that is why we’re always wrong.” He, not unreasonably, says that we are only good at our predictions for the short term.  “Nobody can predict the future, but we can give you some insight as to how to think about the future.”  He says that in the 20th century, we missed forecasting communication satellites, the Internet, the end of the Cold War — what he calls the “game changers.”  Today, he says that we see our major issues — such as the prospect of nuclear war, climate change and extreme poverty — as intractable.  He says, “Things that seem intractable can change.”  He sees that major changes toward the end of the 21st century will be due to the explosion of knowledge about our how we affect the Earth.

 

Here are his predictions for the 22nd century:

 

  • On world population: Our exploding world population will stabilize and start to reduce by the end of the 21st century due to education.  Women will have a full range of choice and as a result world population will stabilize.

  • On energy: there will be unexpected breakthroughs in energy generation. By the 22nd century, “We’ll be off of fossil fuels.”  We need energy breakthroughs and “quickly.  The problem, he says, is, “How do we get there?  There are technical solutions and there will be energy breakthroughs.”  The only thing is, “How quickly can we make that adjustment and how much pain and suffering we will have to endure.”  Grinspoon goes on to say that, “If we do this wrong, the 21st century will be as bad as the 20th century.  We need to make the transition in our energy systems quickly and if so it will be much less pain and suffering.  I’m optimistic that we can accelerate that change and avoid the worst case scenarios.”

 

 

                                        

 

                            Was Grinspoon thinking of ZPE as the “energy breakthrough”? 4

 

  • On SETI: By the 22nd century, intelligent extraterrestrial life will be discovered.

  • On artificial intelligence (AI): Grinspoon simply said that the impact of artificial intelligence on our planet will be transformative by the 22nd century.

 

  

 

                            

 

                                           AI industrial scene from I, Robot 5

Notes:

 

  1. Courtesy of Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, wikpedia.org

  2. http://www.cakesolutions.net/teamblogs/topic/virtual-reality

  3. https://settlement.arc.nasa.gov/70sArt/art.html

  4. King, Moray B., Quest for Zero Point Energy: Engineering Principles for “Free Energy,” Adventures Unlimited Press, 2001.  ZPE is the abbreviation of zero point energy.

  5. Scene from I, Robot, courtesy of 20th Century Fox and Davis Entertainment, 2004.

 

© T L Keller 2017