Take a leap into Hyperspace

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Quote Originally Posted by New Scientist
I stumbled across this article, and am fascinated by its implications. Are we possibly looking at the future of space travel? I found a detailed online analysis by Larrison that I have posted at the end of this article
Take a leap into hyperspace* 05 January 2006
* NewScientist.com news service
* Haiko LietzEVERY year, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics awards prizes for the best papers presented at its annual conference. Last year’s winner in the nuclear and future flight category went to a paper calling for experimental tests of an astonishing new type of engine. According to the paper, this hyperdrive motor would propel a craft through another dimension at enormous speeds. It could leave Earth at lunchtime and get to the moon in time for dinner. There’s just one catch: the idea relies on an obscure and largely unrecognised kind of physics. Can they possibly be serious?

The AIAA is certainly not embarrassed. What’s more, the US military has begun to cast its eyes over the hyperdrive concept, and a space propulsion researcher at the US Department of Energy’s Sandia National Laboratories has said he would be interested in putting the idea to the test. And despite the bafflement of most physicists at the theory that supposedly underpins it, Pavlos Mikellides, an aerospace engineer at the Arizona State University in Tempe who reviewed the winning paper, stands by the committee’s choice. “Even though such features have been explored before, this particular approach is quite unique,” he says.

Unique it certainly is. If the experiment gets the go-ahead and works, it could reveal new interactions between the fundamental forces of nature that would change the future of space travel. Forget spending six months or more holed up in a rocket on the way to Mars, a round trip on the hyperdrive could take as little as 5 hours. All our worries about astronauts’ muscles wasting away or their DNA being irreparably damaged by cosmic radiation would disappear overnight. What’s more the device would put travel to the stars within reach for the first time. But can the hyperdrive really get off the ground?

“A hyperdrive craft would put the stars within reach for the first time”

The answer to that question hinges on the work of a little-known German physicist. Burkhard Heim began to explore the hyperdrive propulsion concept in the 1950s as a spin-off from his attempts to heal the biggest divide in physics: the rift between quantum mechanics and Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

Quantum theory describes the realm of the very small – atoms, electrons and elementary particles – while general relativity deals with gravity. The two theories are immensely successful in their separate spheres. The clash arises when it comes to describing the basic structure of space. In general relativity, space-time is an active, malleable fabric. It has four dimensions – three of space and one of time – that deform when masses are placed in them. In Einstein’s formulation, the force of gravity is a result of the deformation of these dimensions. Quantum theory, on the other hand, demands that space is a fixed and passive stage, something simply there for particles to exist on. It also suggests that space itself must somehow be made up of discrete, quantum elements.

In the early 1950s, Heim began to rewrite the equations of general relativity in a quantum framework. He drew on Einstein’s idea that the gravitational force emerges from the dimensions of space and time, but suggested that all fundamental forces, including electromagnetism, might emerge from a new, different set of dimensions. Originally he had four extra dimensions, but he discarded two of them believing that they did not produce any forces, and settled for adding a new two-dimensional “sub-space” onto Einstein’s four-dimensional space-time.

In Heim’s six-dimensional world, the forces of gravity and electromagnetism are coupled together. Even in our familiar four-dimensional world, we can see a link between the two forces through the behaviour of fundamental particles such as the electron. An electron has both mass and charge. When an electron falls under the pull of gravity its moving electric charge creates a magnetic field. And if you use an electromagnetic field to accelerate an electron you move the gravitational field associated with its mass. But in the four dimensions we know, you cannot change the strength of gravity simply by cranking up the electromagnetic field.

In Heim’s view of space and time, this limitation disappears. He claimed it is possible to convert electromagnetic energy into gravitational and back again, and speculated that a rotating magnetic field could reduce the influence of gravity on a spacecraft enough for it to take off.

lass=”Apple-style-span” size=”2″>When he presented his idea in public in 1957, he became an instant celebrity. Wernher von Braun, the German engineer who at the time was leading the Saturn rocket programme that later launched astronauts to the moon, approached Heim about his work and asked whether the expensive Saturn rockets were worthwhile. And in a letter in 1964, the German relativity theorist Pascual Jordan, who had worked with the distinguished physicists Max Born and Werner Heisenberg and was a member of the Nobel committee, told Heim that his plan was so important “that its successful experimental treatment would without doubt make the researcher a candidate for the Nobel prize”.

But all this attention only led Heim to retreat from the public eye. This was partly because of his severe multiple disabilities, caused by a lab accident when he was still in his teens. But Heim was also reluctant to disclose his theory without an experiment to prove it. He never learned English because he did not want his work to leave the country. As a result, very few people knew about his work and no one came up with the necessary research funding. In 1958 the aerospace company Bölkow did offer some money, but not enough to do the proposed experiment.

While Heim waited for more money to come in, the company’s director, Ludwig Bölkow, encouraged him to develop his theory further. Heim took his advice, and one of the results was a theorem that led to a series of formulae for calculating the masses of the fundamental particles – something conventional theories have conspicuously failed to achieve. He outlined this work in 1977 in the Max Planck Institute’s journal Zeitschrift für Naturforschung, his only peer-reviewed paper. In an abstruse way that few physicists even claim to understand, the formulae work out a particle’s mass starting from physical characteristics, such as its charge and angular momentum.

Yet the theorem has proved surprisingly powerful. The standard model of physics, which is generally accepted as the best available theory of elementary particles, is incapable of predicting a particle’s mass. Even the accepted means of estimating mass theoretically, known as lattice quantum chromodynamics, only gets to between 1 and 10 per cent of the experimental values.

Gravity reduction

But in 1982, when researchers at the German Electron Synchrotron (DESY) in Hamburg implemented Heim’s mass theorem in a computer program, it predicted masses of fundamental particles that matched the measured values to within the accuracy of experimental error. If they are let down by anything, it is the precision to which we know the values of the fundamental constants. Two years after Heim’s death in 2001, his long-term collaborator Illobrand von Ludwiger calculated the mass formula using a more accurate gravitational constant. “The masses came out even more precise,” he says.

After publishing the mass formulae, Heim never really looked at hyperspace propulsion again. Instead, in response to requests for more information about the theory behind the mass predictions, he spent all his time detailing his ideas in three books published in German. It was only in 1980, when the first of his books came to the attention of a retired Austrian patent officer called Walter Dröscher, that the hyperspace propulsion idea came back to life. Dröscher looked again at Heim’s ideas and produced an “extended” version, resurrecting the dimensions that Heim originally discarded. The result is “Heim-Dröscher space”, a mathematical description of an eight-dimensional universe.

From this, Dröscher claims, you can derive the four forces known in physics: the gravitational and electromagnetic forces, and the strong and weak nuclear forces. But there’s more to it than that. “If Heim’s picture is to make sense,” Dröscher says, “we are forced to postulate two more fundamental forces.” These are, Dröscher claims, related to the familiar gravitational force: one is a repulsive anti-gravity similar to the dark energy that appears to be causing the universe’s expansion to accelerate. And the other might be used to accelerate a spacecraft without any rocket fuel.

This force is a result of the interaction of Heim’s fifth and sixth dimensions and the extra dimensions that Dröscher introduced. It produces pairs of “gravitophotons”, particles that mediate the interconversion of electromagnetic and gravitational energy. Dröscher teamed up with Jochem Häuser, a physicist and professor of computer science at the University of Applied Sciences in Salzgitter, Germany, to turn the theoretical framework into a proposal for an experimental test. The paper they produced, “Guidelines for a space propulsion device based on Heim’s quantum theory”, is what won the AIAA’s award last year.

Claims of the possibility of “gravity reduction” or “anti-gravity” induced by magnetic fields have been investigated by NASA before (New Scientist, 12 January 2002, p 24). But this one, Dröscher insists, is different. “Our theory is not about anti-gravity. It’s about completely new fields with new properties,” he says. And he and Häuser have suggested an experiment to prove it.

This will require a huge rotating ring placed above a superconducting coil to create an intense magnetic field. With a large enough current in the coil, and a large enough magnetic field, Dröscher claims the electromagnetic force can reduce the gravitational pull on the ring to the point where it floats free. Dröscher and Häuser say that to completely counter Earth’s pull on a 150-tonne spacecraft a magnetic field of around 25 tesla would be needed. While that’s 500,000 times the strength of Earth’s magnetic field, pulsed magnets briefly reach field strengths up to 80 tesla. And Dröscher and Häuser go further. With a faster-spinning ring and an even stronger magnetic field, gravitophotons would interact with conventional gravity to produce a repulsive anti-gravity force, they suggest.

“A spinning ring and a strong magnetic field could produce a repulsive anti-gravity force”

Dröscher is hazy about the details, but he suggests that a spacecraft fitted with a coil and ring could be propelled into a multidimensional hyperspace. Here the constants of nature could be different, and even the speed of light could be several times faster than we experience. If this happens, it would be possible to reach Mars in less than 3 hours and a star 11 light years away in only 80 days, Dröscher and Häuser say.

So is this all fanciful nonsense, or a revolution in the making? The majority of physicists have never heard of Heim theory, and most of those contacted by New Scientist said they couldn’t make sense of Dröscher and Häuser’s description of the theory behind their proposed experiment. Following Heim theory is hard work even without Dröscher’s extension, says Markus Pössel, a theoretical physicist at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Potsdam, Germany. Several years ago, while an undergraduate at the University of H
amburg, he took a careful look at Heim theory. He says he finds it “largely incomprehensible”, and difficult to tie in with today’s physics. “What is needed is a step-by-step introduction, beginning at modern physical concepts,” he says.

The general consensus seems to be that Dröscher and Häuser’s theory is incomplete at best, and certainly extremely difficult to follow. And it has not passed any normal form of peer review, a fact that surprised the AIAA prize reviewers when they made their decision. “It seemed to be quite developed and ready for such publication,” Mikellides told New Scientist.

At the moment, the main reason for taking the proposal seriously must be Heim theory’s uncannily successful prediction of particle masses. Maybe, just maybe, Heim theory really does have something to contribute to modern physics. “As far as I understand it, Heim theory is ingenious,” says Hans Theodor Auerbach, a theoretical physicist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich who worked with Heim. “I think that physics will take this direction in the future.”

It may be a long while before we find out if he’s right. In its present design, Dröscher and Häuser’s experiment requires a magnetic coil several metres in diameter capable of sustaining an enormous current density. Most engineers say that this is not feasible with existing materials and technology, but Roger Lenard, a space propulsion researcher at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico thinks it might just be possible. Sandia runs an X-ray generator known as the Z machine which “could probably generate the necessary field intensities and gradients”.

For now, though, Lenard considers the theory too shaky to justify the use of the Z machine. “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.”

Who was Burkhard Heim?

Burkhard Heim had a remarkable life. Born in 1925 in Potsdam, Germany, he decided at the age of 6 that he wanted to become a rocket scientist. He disguised his designs in code so that no one could discover his secret. And in the cellar of his parents’ house, he experimented with high explosives. But this was to lead to disaster.

Towards the end of the second world war, he worked as an explosives developer, and an accident in 1944 in which a device exploded in his hands left him permanently disabled. He lost both his forearms, along with 90 per cent of his hearing and eyesight.

After the war, he attended university in Göttingen to study physics. The idea of propelling a spacecraft using quantum mechanics rather than rocket fuel led him to study general relativity and quantum mechanics. It took an enormous effort. From 1948, his father and wife replaced his senses, spending hours reading papers and transcribing his calculations onto paper. And he developed a photographic memory.

Supporters of Heim theory claim that it is a panacea for the troubles in modern physics. They say it unites quantum mechanics and general relativity, can predict the masses of the building blocks of matter from first principles, and can even explain the state of the universe 13.7 billion years ago.

The following discussion was posted by Larrison on fencing.net:


Sorry for the long response on this — had to go dig up the paper and read through this… As a bit of background. I’ve got a couple of degrees in Physics, but I’m wwaaayyyy out of practice in the state of the art in “Grand Theories of Everything”. So accept this discussion with a bit of a skeptical eye…
Is there something there? Who knows — there’s a lot of derivation of things from a barely understood theory written in non-standard formulation and terminology, with some added speculation from quantum gravity theory. It doesn’t look testable with today’s hardware, but its right on the edge of what we can test to see if it might have some basis in reality — but no one really understands the theory well enough to say that confidently. My guess is that to test this is going to same some years and some big bucks, well beyond the wishful thinking in the reference New Scientist article. 
The rest of this is why I say that… 
First, what’s being talked about as “hyperspace drive” is at the moment, a strictly theoretical outcome of some calculations coming out of 40 year old mathematical models build up by Heim in Germany. The recent papers were published by the AIAA, which is a non-peer reviewed forum, usually used for engineering practice data, but also theoretical and speculative papers. Since its not peer reviewed, the stuff published in the AIAA isn’t the highest quality overall like Physical Science Review or Science, where papers getting in have to reviewed by other leading lights in the field in question. 
Now, Heim the originator of this theoretical approach to looking at the world, had some significant personal challenges to put it mildly, including loss of his hands and vision. He worked from home, and was not part of the mainstream of physics work at the time, so his work was never subjected to the rigor of peer review and discussion. As a consequence of this, he also used non-standard terminology, his mathematical approaches were rather obtuse, some of his assumptions are questionable, and the techniques he used in getting the solutions to some of the equations he derived from these postulates and assumptions are obscure (at best). He didn’t even use standard notation or units, which means everything has to be translated from a rather idiosyncratic notation into something that can be compared to current physical terminology and notation. 
Since he dictated his work to assistants who were not physicists (members of his family) he could not check their work or even check for typographical errors in the papers that he had published. But he did have some correspondence with some of the leading lights in physics in the 50s and 60s. They encouraged him to come up with some way to develop a means to experimentally test his theory. This resulted in his ONLY peer-reviewed paper in 1977 where he worked out a means to calculate some of the properties (charge, angular momentum, mass) of some fundamental subatomic particles. However, he did it still in his rather obtuse notation and approach, which few people even claim to understand. 
In the 80s these were shown to produce particle masses to a pretty high precision, and that approach seems to have held up. 
The basis of all this was work Heim had done in the 50s. In the 2000 time period, a retired Austrian named Walter Droscher extended Heim’s work into a more general mathematical model of the physics of the universe. I should note that the “Heim-Droscher” “Standard Model” is an amalgam of experimental observations and theoretical derivations, but needs around 30 adjustable parameters to be determined from experiments. The context of the model is that the universe is an 8-dimensional space, comprising 2 subspaces which are used to construct a “polymetric”. Digging through the mathematics that derive physical properties, it is derived that there are 6 fundamental interactions, instead of only the 4 known interactions or forces (The 4 forces are electromagnetic, gravitational, strong and weak nuclear forces). I’ll note unifying the underlying physics between these 4 forces is the basis of “grand unified field theory” or “the theory of everything” and has been pursued in a number of different directions over the last several decades. 
What’s different about Heim’s derivation, is that the two additional interactions are gravitational-like, allowing the conversion of photons into hypothetical “gravitophoton” particles generated from the vacuum, and the gravitophotons come in two forms, namely repulsive and attractive. If the theory holds, then it also allows for a special Lorentz-type transformation permitting at least theoretically, some type of travel outside the boundaries of light speed limitation. 
Droscher and Heim extended their initial work in a paper (AIAA 2004 – 3700, “GUIDELINES FOR A SPACE PROPULSION DEVICE BASED ON HEIM’S QUANTUM THEORY” by Walter Dröscher and Jochem Häuser). They added an additional concept that concerns the transition of a material object into a so-called parallel space or parallel universe, where the limiting velocity is nc (c being the speed of light, and n an integer greater than 1) . This isn’t explained well at all – the paper says “A complete mathematical discussion of parallel space cannot be given in the framework of this paper. Therefore, only the salient physical features and their consequences are presented.”. This is the hyperspace part, as they discuss building “type one” propulsion systems using just the Heim system, and “type two” propulsion systems which “transition to a parallel universe” where they can go faster. 
Reading through the papers on hand, it appears they believe the Heims-interactions can produce a change in the gravitational constant, which can produce propulsive force, powered by vacuum energy. Under the assumption that the gravitational potential of the spacecraft can be reduced by the production of such gravitophotons, a transition into parallel space is postulated to avoid a potential conflict with relativity theory, then some of the properties of this parallel space or “hyperspace” are derived from the theory of quantum gravity using Heim’s 8D formulation. 
But it’s really important to note the paper ends with “Substantial work needs to be done to refine the calculations for the gravitophoton force and the experimental setup.”
The final paper I can find is AIAA 2005 – 4321 “MAGNET EXPERIMENT TO MEASURING SPACE PROPULSION HEIM-LORENTZ FORCE” again by Droscher and Hauser. Here they work out in more detail what the theoretical requirements for an operating spacecraft propulsion system might be, and the requirements of an experimental set up to test the basis for this – to produce a measurable Heim-Lorenz force. I’ll ignore the spacecraft calculations, and look only at what it would take to demonstrate this force might actually exist. 
To get a measurable change in the weight of an object that you can measure (they use about 1 part in 100,000), you’re going to need a LARGE magnetic field. Moreover, you’re going to need a very high velocity of electrons in the current loop, which means a high current in the magnetic loop as well. Depending upon the specific design factors, they’ll need a magnetic field current of several tens of Teslas (1 Telsa is a BIG magnet), and they may need up to 100 T to demonstrate the transition to parallel space), plus current of at least several hundred Amps per square mm (up to 1000 A/ mm^2 — that’s a pretty powerful current). For a number of reasons, they would prefer a steady magnetic field as well, so pulse magnetic field generators aren’t quite the answer. If anyone has ever done the exploding wire trick in high school physics lab, you know that if you’re running a high current you’ll need virtually no conductivity in the wires you’re using, or else this experiment is going to explosively disassemble itself. So they’re going to require a very BIG superconductor – but for a number of technical reasons, the Heim Lorentz field test can’t use metal superconductors (has to do with the atomic number). Current Type II (alloy) superconductors might work, but they are notorious for failing at high current densities. There are a couple of compounds around which might work, but as of this time, no one has managed to make suitable wire for a magnetic coil from them. 
The best solution to test the approach looks like a 3 meter diameter coil with several tens of thousands of turns of superconducting wire around it, with enough current to get to around 20 T. You can trade off current for “turns” of conductors to some extent, but you’ll need to get the electron velocity in the wires up pretty high, and for other technical reasons, you’ll want a larger current instead of more turns of wires (they’re assuming 10s of thousands already). Pretty demanding… but probably doable if you throw money at it. 
This will demonstrate the Heim-Lorentz field works, and that you can generate graviphotons. It won’t generate enough force to actually move anything (remember it’s a 0.01% change in the weight of something), and it won’t be enough to prove you can do the “hyperspace transition” – that would require something closer to a 100T magnetic field, and larger currents. There are some basic engineering problems in just making a device that will work doing that, that would turn my hair white if I was involved with it – how to handle the large currents, building the superconducting wire and coils, magnetic effects etc…. And of course, if you want to develop an actual usefully operating device, that would be even larger system with a requirement for a larger magnetic field (and larger currents as well).
So.. what does all this mean? It’s an interesting theoretical approach, and something that looks like it might be testable, at least for the Heims-Lorentz gravitiphoton effect. It’s right at edge of what today’s physics and engineering can do… and something that I don’t think any existing experimental setup can test right now. You can get the high magnetic fields in a couple of places – the Grenoble High Magnetic Field Laboratories can generate up to 28-30 T now, in a steady state for example – but you can’t generate the high electron velocities needed as well. Plus, there’s no real guarantee that the logic or mathematics behind this approach will really turn out to be true. 
What needs to be done is to first throw some smart Physics post-docs and grad students at it, to redo Heim’s rather obtuse notation, work their way through all his derivations and put it into standard format. If you get through that, without discovering some fatal logic flaw in the mathematics and assumptions, then you can start working on refining the calculations for something to test. And if that test works out, and IF you can derive a better case for the “hyperspace” logic (which is quite speculative at best, right now), then you can scale up the test setup to maybe test that. 
Cost to get to the first test verification? Maybe 5-7 years, and I’d guess around $200 -500 M dollars. (The Z machine pulsed high-magnetic field machine at Sandia has cost well over $100 M and uses known engineering techniques and costs $200 K every time you fire it. The test machine will probably quite a bit more since you’re going to have to develop the new superconducting wire, plus enough money for a good test series…)
Is there something there, after all this? Who knows… I’d bet against it, since there are lots of grand theories which haven’t panned out although they explain one or two things really well – and there’s enough strangeness in the way this has been derived and tested that some minor mistakes could really screw up the finally results when you check the math. It’s a good bet in my books to send out the post-doc’s and graduate students to check the math first. But we’re certainly not a few years away from hyperdrive spacecraft by any means… 
My gut says this is probably crazy. Large lightning strikes and auroral discharges produce very large fields and currents, particularly if you look at astrophysical data from places like Jupiter. If there really was a 5th and 6th force resulting in an antigravity force, you’d probably see something that not quite explainable in the astronomical and spacecraft data — which we haven’t seen yet. And we haven’t seen it in terrestrial data either.

3 Responses to Take a leap into Hyperspace

  1. heim allowed for a differing feild equations i remember long ago that maxwells feild equations were adjusted to suit eienstien in our space time but originally suited 8 speed of light dimention.or rather feild equations now 8* speed of light occures in heim on matter? time dimentions are different and feilds , also mentioned,that things like this can,co extential…can co exist.that friction on space time may allow for other spacetimes.and other matter quintesences.matter creation and zero point.where matter pops into existence in the form of energy fields on space time matter = twisted feilds on manofold?”or space frabric.

    • matter.higgs , matter feild particals predictions,bosons .ect.space time speeding up..that other feild particals push, i also remember that there have been like paticals found ,,gravity, in feild colliders.

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