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Exotic Propulsion Update

Emeritus Professor Jim Woodward and Professor Heidi Fearn
Emeritus Professor Jim Woodward and Professor Heidi Fearn, photo by Charles Platt

It’s time for a brief update on our Exotic Propulsion Initiative.

As you know, for a few years now SSI has supported the efforts of the Woodward-Fearn Lab at CalState Fullerton’s Physics Department. We’ve helped fund two interns (one in 2014 and one this year) and we also provide minor support for equipment and supplies. Progress is nevertheless slow since adequate funding has been a challenge, but we want to take this opportunity to thank all the donors to date, who have contributed over $23,000 so far.

Most particularly, we’d like to acknowledge the fund-raising efforts of Henri Heinonen who provided the Exotic Propulsion Initiative with more than $5,000 via his Bitcoin Utopia campaign!

All of these generous contributions have contributed to four recent papers:

Theory of a Mach Effect Thruster I

Theory of a Mach Effect Thruster II

New Theoretical Results for the Mach Effect Thruster

Mach’s principle, Action at a Distance and Cosmology
H. Fearn, Journal of Modern Physics, 2015, 6, 260-272

(In which Professor Fearn refutes Hawking!)

On the technical side of things, the Woodward Lab is working on experiments relating to the explanation of thrust for devices like ME Thrusters and EMdrive (being studied at NASA Johnson Space Flight Center’s Eagleworks lab). Results should be publishable in a few months. And responding to what are termed “over unity” arguments against propellant propulsion devices of all types, Professor Woodward has written this monograph:

Over-Unity Argument & Mach Effect Thrusters

Please enjoy.

From Citizen Space Exploration to Space Settlement

(Los Angeles, CA) – A new strategy for space development will be presented at the International Space Development Conference, which takes place at the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel this week.

Citizens in Space, a project of the United States Rocket Academy and the Space Studies Institute, will present “The Great Enterprise: From Citizen Space Exploration to Space Settlement” in the Redondo California Ballroom at 3:00 on Saturday, May 17.

“The Great Enterprise is a theme developed by the Space Studies Institute over the past several years,” said Robin Snelson, executive director of SSI. “The end goal of the Great Enterprise is the permanent human settlement of space.

“Space settlement was envisioned by SSI founder Dr. Gerard K. O’Neill, Princeton physics professor and author of the best-selling book ‘The High Frontier,’ nearly 40 years ago.

“O’Neill’s vision inspired the creation of space-advocacy groups like the National Space Society, the sponsor of the International Space Development Conference. Despite the widespread interest in O’Neill’s ideas, space settlement has remained an elusive goal.

“A new strategy is required. Dr. O’Neill showed that permanent human settlement of space is a realistic goal, but we need a practical path to reach that goal. The old belief that government will step in with large sums of money has led nowhere and failed to inspire the general public.”

“The burgeoning Do It Yourself movement provides a model for the new strategy,” said Edward Wright, founder of the United States Rocket Academy and program manager for Citizens in Space. “530,000 people attended Maker Faires last year. Citizen-science projects and hackerspaces are springing up all over the country. Space advocacy organizations must tap into that community to a create a Do It Yourself space movement.

“All progress starts at the low end. We will outline a path for incremental development, beginning with low-cost suborbital spacecraft that are already under construction, followed by practical, achievable steps, leading ultimately to space settlement.”

“Now is the time for a new type of space movement, based on individual initiative and enterprise,” said Robert Smith, evangelist with the Space Studies Institute. “It is time we moved beyond mere advocacy. We must roll up our sleeves and take the bull by the horns. As the saying goes, ‘If you want something done right, do it yourself.’”

Citizens In Space

Exotic Propulsion Initiative

This blog post from 2013 is just the tip of the iceberg. See the SSI Programs page for the latest information on SSI’s Exotic Propulsion Initiative


Update 11/24/14: Welcome BoingBoing Readers!
Strange thrust: The unproven science that could propel our children into space by Charles Platt

Help us reach our goal of raising $42,000 to provide the Woodward Lab at CalState Fullerton the new instrumentation, computers and power supplies that Emeritus Professor Jim Woodward and his colleague Professor Heidi Fearn need to continue their research on Mach Effect propulsion! Please donate (tax deductible) using the button below.

SSI has always prided itself on focusing our resources on projects that work to provide technologies that further the cause of space settlement and permanent life off Earth.  We’ve announced two efforts, the G-Lab and the E-Lab, to provide technologies required for understanding the amount of gravitational force and practical closed life-support systems required for long-term or permanent human habitation in space.

To these projects we have added the Exotic Propulsion Initiative, to explore exotic propulsion opportunities at the very borderlands of physics.

Much public and press excitement has been generated by the DARPA-funded “100 Year Starship” effort, and work on warp drive theory and concepts at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

Prof. Jim Woodward has donated major royalties from his new book to kick start SSI's Exotic Propulsion Initiative
Prof. Jim Woodward has donated major royalties from his new book to kick start SSI’s Exotic Propulsion Initiative

An intriguing and thoughtful recent book by Professor Jim Woodward, Making Starships and Stargates: The Science of Interstellar Transport and Absurdly Benign Wormholes (Springer Praxis Books / Space Exploration), has further heightened interest in “exotic” physics propulsion concepts.

While no one can predict if or when these technologies might become practical, we can say for certain that not funding basic research will consign any breakthroughs to the realm of science fiction forever.

Accordingly, SSI has established our Exotic Propulsion Initiative to take bold new risks that are unlikely to find conventional funding.  Donations to the project will be first used to extend and replicate Professor Woodward’s provocative research findings at his lab at CalState Fullerton, and as resources permit, to open new avenues of exploration into advanced propulsion with other scientists.

Professor Woodward has donated major royalties from his book to SSI in order to jump-start this project’s funding.  We are grateful for his donation and are very pleased to be able to offer an opportunity to all interested parties to extend and increase his gift.

Space Manufacturing 14 Proceedings Now Online

SSI is pleased to announce the publication of papers from the 14th Space Manufacturing Conference. Thirteen papers from the conference at the NASA Ames Research Center are now available for download at no cost. They cover a broad range of key areas including space transportation, closed environment life support systems, in-situ resource utilization, space solar power, and emerging technologies such as 3-D printing.

To economize, we have decided to make these papers available for free download rather than producing a printed volume. As was done for the 1st and 2nd conferences, SSI will combine these papers with those from the future (15th) Space Manufacturing Conference into one volume for purchase. We are working on plans for the 15th Conference at this time and will announce venue and dates shortly. In the interim, this approach will guarantee the widest possible distribution.

Please see this page to download papers from Proceedings of Space Manufacturing 14.

SSI relies upon your support to continue our important work in pushing back the frontiers of space. Membership starts at only $50 annually ($25 for students). You can also become a Senior Associate with a five-year membership pledge of $100 per year.

We greatly need your support. Please give generously. You can use the buttons at right to pay electronically. Or send us a check at:

Space Studies Institute
1434 Flightline
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Thank you for your support!