If we consider space a medium and that medium is a particulate composition of space itself, similar to aether, then we can model space propulsion systems based on that space-aether concept.
The material of space is said to be filled with a froth of virtual particles. Perhaps, in addition, there are some lepton neutrino space-filling particles that constitute a hydrodynamic energy that exerts pressure on mass concentrations. If these particles, real or virtual normally flow through matter, but encounter increasing resistance with mass density, we could attribute the force of gravity to this virtual particle pressure. Likewise, such a pressure may be responsible for inertia.
I quote from an article on supercavitation: žLately there has been a resurgence of interest in a technology that allows naval weapons and vessels to travel submerged at hundreds of miles per hour. The fastest traditional undersea technologies are limited to a maximum velocity of about 80 miles per hour. The technology that allows some undersea vessels to travel faster than the speed of sound in water is called supercavitation. First explored in the 1940s, supercavitation exploits a loophole that allows underwater travel with minimal drag. For many years naval experts studied its parent field, cavitation, because of the problems that it brings about. Only recently did researchers consider supercavitation as a way to build faster submarines and torpedoes.
To understand supercavitation, first cavitation must be understood. When a fluid moves rapidly around a body, the pressure in the flow drops. This pressure reduction over the surface of the body is the same effect that generates lift on airplane wings and gives sailboats the ability to move on the water's surface with only the wind to propel them. As the velocity increases and the pressure continues to drop, a point is reached at which the pressure in the flow equals the vapor pressure of water, whereupon the fluid undergoes a phase change and becomes a gas: water vapor.
Under certain circumstances, especially at sharp edges, the flow can include attached cavities of approximately constant pressure filled with water vapor and air trailing behind. This is called natural cavitation. Normally, cavitation is a condition to be avoided in fluid flow systems, because it can distort water flow to rob pumps, turbines, hydrofoils, and propellers of operational efficiency. It can also lead to violent shock waves (from rapid bubble collapse), which cause pitting and erosion of metal surfaces.
In supercavitation, the small gas bubbles produced by cavitation expand and combine to form one large, stable, and predictable bubble around the supercavitating object. The bubble is longer than the object, so only the leading edge of the object actually contacts liquid water. The rest of the object is surrounded by low-pressure water vapor, significantly lowering the drag on the supercavitating object. A supercavity can also form around a specially designed projectile. The key is creating a zone of low pressure around the entire object by carefully shaping the nose and firing the projectile at a sufficiently high velocity. At high velocity water flows off the edge of the nose with a speed and angle that prevent it from wrapping around the surface of the projectile, producing a low-pressure bubble around the object. With an appropriate nose shape and a speed over 110 miles per hour, the entire projectile may reside in a vapor cavity.
Some estimates indicate that a supercavitating projectile, using rocket propulsion, could travel at speeds in excess of 230 miles per hour underwater.
[Caltech Undergraduate Research Journal, November 30, 2001 ; Scientific American, May 2001; Deep Angel Cavitator]
Note the analogy of a spatial ocean or sea with an H2O ocean. Creating a supercavity around a submarine would permit rapid travel through the medium.
Creating a supercavity in space fluid around a spacecraft would also permit rapid travel through the vacuum of space. The supercavity envisioned might be created as an electro-magnetic bubble that repels space particles or drastically reduces the density of the space foam so as to enable the spacecraft to achieve hyperlight velocities, especially if by this action it has a measurable effect on reducing inertia.
The magnetospheric plasma propulsion envisioned by Robert Winglee may be one step on the path toward a true magneto-gravitic propulsion system.
The method makes use of the ambient energy of the solar wind by coupling to the solar wind through a large-scale (~ 10 km) magnetic bubble or mini-magnetosphere. The magnetosphere is produced by the injection of plasma on to the magnetic field of a small
(< 1 m) dipole coil tethered to the spacecraft. In this way, it is possible for a spacecraft to attain unprecedented speeds for minimal energy and mass requirements. Since the magnetic inflation is produced by electromagnetic processes, the material and deployment problems associated with the mechanical sails are eliminated.
Perhaps a magnetic vortex of extreme power drives flying saucers across our skies and through space. If such a magnetic vortex could be focused to tunnel through the space medium, then I believe hyperlight speeds are possible.
Lifter technology may demonstrate the utility of an HV-powered craft, but I believe that eventually we need a dynamic generator that will produce the powerful fields necessary to propel an interstellar craft. Perhaps some experiments with rotating electric or magnetic rings could be tried to test levitation effects.
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