By J. David Baxter

My name is David Baxter. I am president of the Utah Space Association. We are a chapter of the National Space Society, with its headquarters in Washington, D.C. Although, our local organization has actually been in existence, since 1972.

I was an invited participant at the August 1997 NASA Lewis Research Center's Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Workshop, in Cleveland, Ohio. NASA Lewis has since changed its name to NASA Glenn Research Center. With the continuing NASA Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Program, I was invited to submit a proposal for a $150,000 research grant. I didn't get the grant at this time, but I'm now working on concepts much better than the ones I submitted to NASA in February (1999).

NASA scientists and engineers believe, that with currently known physics loopholes, and information coming from emerging new physics, related to quantum electrodynamics, it may be possible, and even economical, to accelerate spacecraft past light speed. The NASA Breakthrough Propulsion Physics program is looking for the possibility of star travel at acceptable energies, speeds, and transit times. The program's director, Marc Millis, personally told me that even if a way was not found to break light speed, travel around the solar system, would become very fast, and very cheap. Like ocean research voyages.

The emerging new physics, incorporates the proven discoveries of Einstein's theory of relativity, and then expands upon it, finding some exceptions to the rules in the process. This research process expands on Einstein, much in the same way Einstein expanded on Newton, finding some exceptions to some of his rules. In some cases, quantum electrodynamics offers better explanations for physical phenomena than general relativity. For example, there is evidence for gravitational waves from studies of the Hulse-Taylor pulsar. The gravitational wave propagation does not strictly follow the matrix pattern required for relativistic space-time curvature. But space-time relativistic curvature can only be implied from calculations using the speed of light. So, perhaps, according to quantum electrodynamics theory, the speed of light can't be a universal constant.

One of the most promising areas of research, relates to studies of the quantum zero-point-energy vacuum fluctuations. This energy was first discovered, and calculated, from the study of sub-atomic particles receiving a charge from the vacuum. Their vibrations change in proportion to this charge. Zero-point-energy involves many varying wavelengths, and frequencies of energy, in all possible orientations. The strength of this zero-point-energy becomes most pronounced in nano scales of spacing and volume.

Placing two flat conducting plates of two square centimeters each, at 5 nanometer distance from each other, the presence of matter blocks the wavelengths of zero-point-energy, approaching the plates, and also restricts wavelengths and their associated frequencies to 5 nanometers or less, between the plates. This causes an imbalance in the zero-point-energy, that creates a pressure on the plates, known as the casimir force. The amount of pressure, that also creates heat energy, that grows proportionately with closing space distance. There is a cutoff point, where the plates become transparent to a given range of smaller wavelengths.

At 5 nanometter distance, 209 Newtons of heat and related pressure energy is produced from the vacuum. At 5 picometer distance, this increases to 209,000 Newtons of force. At one second intervals, this is the same as 209 Kilowatts of power over a square centimeter. One square meter of plate material would produce 2090 Megawatts of power. But picometer distances are difficult to work with. In fact, presently beyond existing technology. At 5 nanometer plate distance, one square meter of plates would produce 2.09 Megawatts of power.

To explain what a newton of force is, 209 Newtons, is the same as pushing a one kilogram weight 209 meters, or 2.2 pounds, 680 feet.

The total amount of zero-point-energy in a cubic centimeter of space, is 1 times 10 to the 94th power of grams of mass-energy density. The comparison of energy described in terms of mass, comes from Einstein's E=MC square relationship. Considering the the estimated number of protons in the universe, on the order of 3 times 10 to the 30th power, it is self evident that the mass equivalent of energy contained in a cubic centimeter of zero-point-energy, represents more matter than that contained in the entire universe.

Matter itself, is actually concentrated particles of energy, measured in grams. Be mindful that the presence of matter is only a small ripple in the immense quantities of energy that exist throughout the entire universe. Above the micron range of access, it is all perfectly balanced. This balance makes it impossible for the zero-point-energy to gravitate upon itself, causing a collapse of the universe. However, I believe a created imbalance, involving less than a cubic centimeter of zero-point-energy, could have been involved in the creation of the universe. This involved the well engineered organization of matter before the big bang.

The following research supports the immense figure given for zero-point-energy. First, calculations based on studies of sub-atomic particle vibration energy transfers. Also, evidence supporting a coupling of electromagnetism to mass in motion. Creation of sub-atomic particles, from the vacuum, in linear accelerator experiments. The fact that a single proton, placed into a hard cold vacuum, will absorb 1000 electron volts per second, from the vacuum. You could put billions of protons in a thimble. Also, studies related to the casimir force.

In emerging quantum electrodynamic physics theory, inertia is viewed as a resistance of the zero-point-energy spectrum created by mass in accelerating motion. It is impossible to measure mass without acceleration. Be mindful that this resistance, related to the amount of mass in an accelerating object, is very small compared with the total energy present. This energy is acting on contact with matter, at a sub-atomic level. Gravity becomes related to inertia, as waves interacting through polarized zero-point-energy at a distance. This explains why gravitational mass, and inertial mass are both the same measurements.

Current theory also shows that using small reductions in zero-point-energy, it might be possible to control the amount of inertia on an accelerating spacecraft. With zero net inertia, a spacecraft could be accelerated fast to light speed and beyond, using only comparatively small amounts of energy.

The information supporting these theories, are not from science fiction. This information comes from highly respected physics journals, such as "Physical Review Letters".

Also, from conference reports , given at national meetings, attended by representatives of professional engineering societies, that have an interest in advanced propulsion concepts. Sometimes engineers know things about physics that the theoretical physicists miss. I have an electronics degree, and tend to approach this research from an engineering angle.

Some top experts in this field, that I have met, or corresponded with, includes Berhard Haisch, and H. David Froning of Lockheed Martin Corporation, and Dr. Hal Puthoff, of the Institute For Advanced Studies At Austin, Texas.

Dr. Scarnhorst produced an interesting, though highly technical article, on speed of light expansion, in "Physical Review Letters". Bernhard Haisch, and Dr. Puthoff have published articles on the relationship of zero-point-energy to inertia, and gravity, also in "physical Review Letters". David Froning shared a bunch of articles of his with me, that he had done for professional engineering joint propulsion conferences.

I personally believe that it is possible to use casimir force extracted zero-point-energy, to both power and accelerate a spacecraft, as well as to create net zero inertia on the spacecraft. Zero-point-energy extraction could also be used to expand the speed of light. Control over inertia could also mean providing an Earth Gravity environment for a starship crew, during rapid acceleration to millions of times conventional light speed. Marc Millis uses "Star Trek" for his inspiration, but not as a strict research guide. He is impressed by the inertial control self-evident in Star Trek.

Froning claims that zero-net-inertia would permit acceleration to and past conventional light speed, requiring low levels of energy. The Hubble Expansion of the Universe implies the possibility of space stretching, which would expand the speed of light. Dr. Scharnhorst's calculations show that a small comparative amount of zero-point-energy in a casimir cavity, would expand the speed of light for both matter, and energy.

I believe that radiating casimir force energy, equal to the spacecraft mass and energy, in newtons, will permit a breaking of the light barrier.

Since giving this speech, I have corresponded my ideas to Dr. Hal Puthoff, and he has shown considerable interest in the possibilities. I suggested the use of spectral canceling of the zero-point-energy spectrum on an accelerating mass to achieve zero-net-inertia. He stated this would work, but would require a quadrillion detectors, and a quadrillion low power generators. I recommended emerging nanotechnology as a possible solution to that problem. In nanotechnology, the goal is to create self replicating machines that produce each other in geometric progression. These machines are also designed to create other types of machines, such as the nano-power-generators, and the nano-spectrum detectors, all growing in geometric progression, as long as proper feed material is supplied. I also found out about an atom laser, that can manipulate individual atoms on the nano-scale. I believe it might be possible to create micro-circuits that would extract and organize zero-point energy, and radiate it away from a spacecraft as low laser power, to achieve reduced, or zero inertia.