Tuesday, January 10, 2006

See The Stars, Maybe (Second In A Series)

by Tom Bozzo

Via Gary Farber (the one-man Internet) comes news that the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics awarded a prize to a paper proposing a method of hyperspace propulsion, which in turn has led to U.S. government interest in testing whether it possibly could work.

As "intelligent design" advocates among others try to advance the highly self-interested claim that science is a religious sect that can't admit new ideas, the New Scientist report shows a scientific reaction of basic curiosity. The underlying theory is reportedly very difficult to follow, and so the modification of the theory that produces the hyperdrive is more obscure yet; the reaction is to try to understand whether the theory is correct as advertised:
For now, though, [Sandia National Lab researcher Roger] Lenard considers the theory too shaky to justify the use of the Z machine [a relevant apparatus at Sandia]. "I would be very interested in getting Sandia interested if we could get a more perspicacious introduction to the mathematics behind the proposed experiment," he says. "Even if the results are negative, that, in my mind, is a successful experiment."
Darn ideologues!

Of course, it's just plain cooler to contemplate the possibility of exploring the solar system in intercontinental jet travel times than to explore the possible substance of the old Douglas Adams line:
In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
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