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DARPA invests in propellant-free rocket theory

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A propellant-free rocket engine would be more energy efficient. File Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA

By Brooks Hays, UPI

Physicist Mike McCulloch plans to use a $1.3 million grant from the federal agency DARPA to prove his quantized inertia theory is more than just a spark plug for heady debates on online physics forums.

McCulloch believes his ideas about quantized inertia and Unruh radiation can inspire the creation of a rocket engine that turns light into thrust without the assistance of a chemical propellant.

Engineers at DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, think McCulloch might be onto something.

"There is increasing global activity in space," Mike Fiddy, program manager for the Nascent Light-Matter Interactions program in DARPA's Defense Sciences Office, told UPI. "DARPA is seeking to deepen our understanding of how to move objects around in more energy efficient and versatile ways."

McCulloch thinks imbalances in Unruh radiation can be used to generate a more energy efficient thrust.

"Uhler radiation is a kind of radiation that you see when you accelerate," McCulloch, a professor of physics at the University of Plymouth in England, told UPI. "When you accelerate, a horizon radiation appears behind you, and the radiation emanates from this horizon the way Hawking radiation is emitted by the horizon of a black hole."

"One definition of quantized inertia is that the force we know as inertia is caused by a gradient in this Uhler radiation," he said.

In previously published papers, McCulloch has used his quantized inertia theory to explain galaxy rotation without the presence of dark matter, as well as the thrust achieved by the EmDrive.

The EmDrive was NASA's attempt at developing a propellant-less rocket engine.

According to the EmDrive's inventors, the engine musters up a bit of thrust by bouncing microwaves from one end to the other of an unevenly-shaped container, creating a difference in radiation pressure and generating drive -- although a study earlier this year questioned whether it worked at all.

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Technology - U.S. Daily News: DARPA invests in propellant-free rocket theory
DARPA invests in propellant-free rocket theory
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