by Steven Craig
For the first few million years of mans existence, travel was limited to the sustained speed of a good walk, perhaps 3 to 4 miles per hour. Over those millions of years, our minds and our bodies became used to travel at those speeds. Conditioned to traveling on the surface of the earth, man developed instincts and patterns of thought centered on that existence.
Then, one faithful day, perhaps 4,000 years ago, travel changed when some anonymous ancestor crawled upon the back of a wild beast, and rode off into the future, never looking back. Man had taken the mental evolutionary step to do what nature had not provided for, increased speed with reduced personal efforts. Thus, for nearly the next 4,000 years, travel was possible by beasts of burden, at sustained speeds of upwards of 10 - 12 miles an hour. Mentally, if not physically, man adapted to this new velocity at which life could be lived.
Then, came another faithful day, and metal rails were laid upon the ground, and a steam engine was placed upon them, and mechanical power usurped the beast nearly overnight. Not long after the end of the American Civil War, engineers propelled their engines at the unnatural speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. At that moment in time, the thinking of men changed, and all the dreams of the genius past surfaced in mankinds thoughts, and a true quest for speed began. And it was that quest that would evolve into a future for mankind.
New energy sources, new power plants blossomed upon the earth, internal combustion engines pushed mans machines to nearly 600 miles per hour, chemical burning jets and rockets broke the sound barrier and lifted man into orbit, even once upon a time lofting him to the moon, nuclear power and ion generators promise slow but relentless progress towards a velocity reaching perhaps several percent of the speed of light, all hurling mankind toward .... what?
In our dreams and fanatics, we answer that we are destined to explore and colonize the universe. But the distances are vast, and are measured in lifetimes, and our bodies are not suited to the time and the boredom of such duration as would be measured in generations to reach out to the nearby stars. A new leap is needed, a new way of making progress though the universe is called for, a new leap of a significant order of magnitude. To make a leap corresponding to that of leaving ones feet for the back of a beast, one must make a leap that leaves ones physics for a new one not yet tried.
Such a new leap would require abandoning what we now know and trust, and depart from the self-imposed bounds we have taught generations to believe in. To abandon time as a measurement of velocity, to abandon forces that fight again gravity, and instead make use of what we have always attempted to power ourselves against.
Gravity has a power and energy that we know of only due to the limits it puts on us, the effects on us as we accelerate, the weight of our mass on a planet, the vector of our travels in space on orbit. Gravity seems like the back of a beast or the sound barrier, just another barrier, a hurtle that must be overcome using the sciences we are already aware.
But we also know that gravity can alter the path of light, even subvert it within a blackhole where gravity is so intense, the velocity of light is brought to nothing. It is with gravity and what should be called a gravity motor that man has the best hopes of traversing the universe unimpeded by time and distance. For gravity has not limits, has no place it can not perform, has no barriers it can not penetrate and exceed. Gravity does hold the promise of getting from here to there across the universe with velocities that would be meaningless by our current standards.
A gravity motor would take us for a ride where we would feel no acceleration or deceleration, there would be seemingly no limit to the apparent velocity, and no pollution of the universe in our passing. Making use of the energy in the form that gravity is expressed universally, their may well be no barrier at all to what such a motor would be capable of. Let us set the motor to drive us at a rather limited velocity of what would be measured as 60,000 times the speed of light, or some 11,178,000,000 miles per second, we would traverse a light year in something just under 9 minutes, reach Sirrus in about an hour, and cross to the other side of the galaxy in about a year and a half. Still, at such a currently incredible velocity, it would take 33 years, a generation, to reach the nearby Andromeda galaxy, so we would really have to step on the gravity to get there a little faster.
To make this leap, we must take on a new perspective of thought. Time will not be a factor, nor will the energy/mass problems of light limited travel relationships be a factor. Gravity expresses no limitations on any mass or energy, and has no discernible limits on its use by man. An endless source of power will be developed, based on the exchange of moving mass from one frontier of the universe to another.
With such a motor, mankind will deliberately step off the planet and seek the universe for what it is, not just what we imagine, and make it a universal home for the new age of mankind. A future will open just as the use of the beast of burden opened for our ancestors, though they could not dare conceive it, it was their future that brought us automobiles and flying machines and the clues to the making of a motor that gravity will provide the method and means of reaching the universe as species of dreamers and inventors.
Posted on 03/15/2008
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