The Massless Space Drive, A Hypothetical Basis

Consider this fiction or speculation. (Legalese for quit hitting me with that rolled up newspaper)

Newton’s third law states that for every action (force) in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction. Newton’s third law is also seen in boats. For a boat to move forward, water has to be driven backward. Right now, the only way a spacecraft can put its paddle into the water of spacetime is by throwing mass (mass which is anchored within spacetime).

Newton’s third law might have some small print because it was limited to observing the actions of masses. In my interpretation of spacetime, the property of inertia is physically realized as a field of displaced time surrounding a mass. A field into which that mass is constantly falling. The amount of energy it takes to displace that spacetime is equivalent to the kinetic energy of that mass.

Kinetic energy is energy physically expressed as the displacement of time. The argument that mass is the only way to displace time and produce an inertial field is simplistic. The energy requirements to produce kinetic energy are relatively small for a spacecraft. If energy could be pumped directly into the kinetic/inertial field of a spacecraft the concept of a massless drive could be realized.

We need to learn how to swim through spacetime if we want to stop using rockets.

How do we directly pump energy into an Inertial Field?​

Rather than reinventing the Space Drive I have a Dremel tool and a whole pack of cutoff wheels. I also have a “liberated” Starlink satellite/torpedo.

I am very good at taking things apart, putting them back together again (not so good).

If the Starlink is using a single Space Drive it would likely be near the center of mass (with solar panels deployed).

Sound of Dremel tool and evil maniacal laughter (followed by lots of coughing)​
Consider this fiction or speculation. (Legalese for quit hitting me with that rolled up newspaper) . . .

. . . We need to learn how to swim through spacetime if we want to stop using rockets.

How do we directly pump energy into an Inertial Field?​

You mentioned pumping energy into an inertial field. Inertia isn't a field first of all, it's a property of matter. But we can pump energy into it. That's what rockets do. Not very efficiently, but they do it. So do firearms, into the bullet that is. The bullet then transfers that impulse ( a measure of the change in your inertia) into you. Though you should note that it isn't always a gentle process. Many people have been killed by too rapid a change in the inertia transfer from bullet to body.

The basic problem is that we need some bit of matter to hold the inertia for transfer. The smallest easiest container is an electron, but using that for large transfers has problems. Using a slightly larger container, say a proton or an alpha particle, and you get the problems of Cosmic Rays. That's what they are after all, The larger the amount of inertia you are transferring, the faster the particle. There is a limit of the Speed of Light for that. The mathematics of General Relativity says that there is no upper limit to the amount of inertia that could be transferred this way, but any realistic amount transferred will mean a quite powerful particle. Truly fast ones might hit like a nuclear bomb.

If you could focus the particles, and send a bunch of them, you might be able to make a sort of inverse particle accelerator and by slowing them down speed up your ship. That's beyond any currently possible technology to the best of my knowledge.

Still, advancing technology means that things I don't believe possible may become possible. So keep trying. But don't just propose. Build.

Models are more impactful than drawings just as drawings are more impactful than written descriptions. To get serious financial backing, you may need working models.
Do you have any idea what a machine shop or a specialty fabricator charges per hour?

As an Inventor I learned that you do as much research as you can before you attempt to build something. Planning leads to successful execution. Inexperienced people prefer to act since they have a psychological boss looking over their shoulder forcing them to look busy.

Once you have acquired the information you need to assess its validity and you have to be familiar with it enough to use it like a hand tool (without thinking).

I am greatly annoyed by story plots where a couple of young geniuses recite a bunch of technobabble and then have a working device an hour later. A moment of real inspiration is usually the result of thousands of hours of acquiring and processing a lot of information.

You go to physical models only when the trail of public knowledge fades out or you need to fill in information or verify decision tree branching. Creative efficiency is increased by using formal methods.

The Empire has been quite thorough about keeping a lot of hard data related to time and gravitation a secret.

I could suggest several Medieval methods to extract that information from the Empire. For the not so homicidal, I recommend subpoenas and warrants issued against the Empire’s scientific databases. Public taxes paid to create and fill those databases so arguments of Imperial Proprietary rights should be ignored.

Don’t reinvent the massless drive, take it from the Empire’s cold dead hands!


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