Where relativity and quantum physics meet: A new theory of inertia that could revolutionize space travel.
When spacecraft accelerate around planets, they end up faster than we expect and nobody can figure out where they get the extra boost from.
Equally puzzling, bouncing microwaves inside a funnel-shaped copper cavity seems to create a small but real thrust, in apparent defiance of the law of conservation of momentum. It is as if you could make your car move by pushing on the windshield from inside!
Dr Mike McCulloch of Plymouth University’s new theory links inertia with Unruh radiation. The upside: it could explain the two mysteries that have been baffling scientists: the so-called fly-by anomalies, and the Em Drive.
According to Dr McCulloch, inertia, which is the resistance of a given body to acceleration, and is usually equated to its mass, is in fact due to the relativistic phenomenon of Unruh radiation, the notion that the universe becomes warmer for you as you accelerate: inertia is just Unruh waves putting pressure on an accelerating object
At tiny accelerations the wavelengths of Unruh radiation are so long that they don’t even fit within the observable universe. The result? Inertia is forced to use only whole-level Unruh wavelength values. This phenomenon, where quantum physics meets relativity, not only explains, but accurately predicts the so-far mysterious measurements.
Furthermore, it predicts how, by tweaking the copper cavity dimensions, you can enhance the Em drive’s thrust, or even reverse it. This can be tested, so we will know soon if the theory holds water.
If it does, it will revolutionize the way we think about mass and the nature of reality, lead to space travel allowing us to get to Mars in a matter of weeks without using propellant, and probably make possible more astonishing discoveries. Ours is a fantastic time to be alive!