Can the Vacuum Be Engineered for Space Flight Applications? Overview of Theory and Experiments

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WeirdSciences

A Feynman diagram showing the radiation of a g...

By H. E. Puthoff

Quantum theory predicts, and experiments verify, that empty space (the vacuum) contains an enormous residual background energy known as zero-point energy (ZPE). Originally thought to be of significance only for such esoteric concerns as small perturbations to atomic emission processes, it is now known to play a role in large-scale phenomena of interest to technologists as well, such as the inhibition of spontaneous emission, the generation of short-range attractive forces (e.g., the Casimir force), and the possibility of accounting for sonoluminescence phenomena. ZPE topics of interest for spaceflight applications range from fundamental issues (where does inertia come from, can it be controlled?), through laboratory attempts toextract useful energy from vacuum fluctuations (can the ZPE be “mined” for practical use?), to scientifically grounded extrapolations concerning “engineering the vacuum” (is “warp-drive” space propulsion a scientific possibility?). Recent advances in research into the physics of the underlying  ZPE…

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