Rate this web site with the NASA Breakthrough Propulsion Physics (NASA BPP) criteria

The Problem

What is presented at this web site is very different in some key respects from what you think of as "standard physics." You will quickly be confronted with the question "Is this break-through physics or junk science? And how can I tell?"

It turns out that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has a similar problem in its Breakthrough Propulsion Physics program (BPP), and on essentially the same topics that I am trying to cover:

Another challenge of seeking breakthroughs is ensuring credibility without sacrificing openness to new perspectives. This is particularly challenging since genuinely new ideas often extend beyond the established knowledge base, or worse, can appear to contradict this base. In other words, a genuinely new, credible idea is very likely to appear non-credible. Also, it is common when soliciting new ideas to receive a large number of "fringe" submissions that are certainly non-credible. To address this challenge, it is recommended to: (1) concentrate on credible empirical data (how nature is observed to work) rather than depending on current theories or paradigms (how nature is interpreted to work), (2) compare the new idea’s value to existing approaches, (3) ensure that the new idea can be put to a test, and (4) look for the characteristic signs of non-credible science [34]. It should be noted that these credibility criteria do not check if an idea is correct, but rather check to see if the idea is credibly constructed and is leading to a correctness test.

Some of the characteristics of non-credible work is that references are not explicitly cited, and that conclusions are made without substantiating the work with supporting evidence. This can be easily checked by requiring that submissions cite credible, peer reviewed, references. References are required for supporting evidence (criteria E), and for comparisons to existing theories (criteria F). Fringe or pathological researchers often do not do this homework. These credibility checks still leave plenty of room for unconventional, visionary ideas.

My web site ( http://www.geocities.com/scripturalphysics/ ) was never intended to be a NASA project and of course has no connection with NASA. I write it in my spare time as a hobby. It is intended for those who "like science" and who probably read magazines like Scientific American and Popular Science. Because it has been pieced together over a period of years, it is a bit disjointed and requires a certain amount of patience to read. But aside from that, I believe it would rate well on the issues that are central to the NASA BPP project (mass, speed, energy) and on methodology, references, credibility, new physics, etc. In the NASA Criteria List (below) I think it scores very well on A,B,C,D,E,G (F is out-of-scope). Of course, no tasks were intended or defined, but if some were, I think they would also rate well on H through N (you can probably get a feel for this one by reviewing the actual research I cite in the references).

If you would like to contribute your own brief review, please do the following:

1. Read all of the NASA document ( http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/bpp/TM-1998-208400.htm
2. Read all of my web site (a once-through at http://www.geocities.com/scripturalphysics/
3. Write a few paragraphs of your thoughts and impressions and mention "NASA BPP criteria"
4. Also tell me if you want to see more (or less) of  "Scriptural Physics".

Please mail your comments to me at: Brian Fraser, P.O. Box 427, Scottsdale, Arizona, 85252

Brian Fraser
Dec 2002

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Assorted excerpts from the NASA document ( http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/bpp/TM-1998-208400.htm   )

In 1996, NASA established the Breakthrough Propulsion Physics program to seek the ultimate breakthroughs in space transportation: propulsion that requires no propellant mass, propulsion that attains the maximum transit speeds physically possible, and breakthrough methods of energy production to power such devices. . . 

As the name implies, this program is specifically looking for propulsion breakthroughs from physics. It is not looking for further technological refinements of existing methods. . . . Instead, this program looks beyond the known methods, searching for further advances in science from which genuinely new technology can emerge - technology to surpass the limits of existing methods.

. . .

The first step toward solving a problem is to define the problem. To determine the specific technical goals of the program, the "Horizon Mission Methodology" [32] was used. This method forces paradigm shifts beyond extrapolations of existing technologies by using impossible hypothetical mission goals to solicit new solutions. By setting impossible goals, the common practice of limiting visions to extrapolations of existing solutions is prevented. The "impossible" goal used in this exercise was practical interstellar travel. From conducting this exercise, the three major barriers to practical interstellar travel were identified and then set as the program’s technical goals. These are the breakthroughs required to revolutionize space travel and enable interstellar voyages:

(1) MASS: Discover new propulsion methods that eliminate or dramatically reduce the need for propellant. This implies discovering fundamentally new ways to create motion, presumably by manipulating inertia, gravity, or by any other interactions between matter, fields, and spacetime.

(2) SPEED: Discover how to attain the ultimate achievable transit speeds to dramatically reduce travel times. This implies discovering a means to move a vehicle at or near the actual maximum speed limit for motion through space or through the motion of spacetime itself (if possible, this means circumventing the light speed limit).

(3) ENERGY: Discover fundamentally new modes of onboard energy generation to power these propulsion devices. This third goal is included since the first two breakthroughs could require breakthroughs in energy generation, and since the physics underlying the propulsion goals is closely linked to energy physics.

. . .

4.1 Research Prioritization Criteria List:

This list shows those factors that would be scored to measure the relative value and progress of research. Each of the lettered criteria below would receive a numeric score which would then be combined to arrive at a total score for a given research approach.

• Relevance To Program:

A. Directness (must seek advances in physics that are relevant to propulsion or power).
B. Magnitude of potential gains for goal #1 (mass) + goal #2 (speed) + goal #3 (energy).

• Readiness:

C. Level of progress achieved to date (measured using the scientific method levels).
D. Testability (ease of empirical testing).
[Note: experiments are considered closer than theory to becoming technology].

• Credibility: [Note: these are designed to insure credibility while still being open to visionary ideas]

E. Fits credible data (references must be cited).
F. More advantageous to program goals than current approaches (references of competing approaches must be cited).
G. Discriminating test suggested.

• Research Task Factors:

H. Level of progress to be achieved upon completion of task (measured using the scientific method levels).
I. Breadth of work (experiment, theory, and/or comparative study).
J. Triage (will it be done anyway or must this program support it?).
K. Lineage (will it lead to further relevant advancements?).
L. Time required to complete task (reciprocal scoring factor).
M. Funding required (reciprocal scoring factor).
N. Probability of successful task completion (based on credentials and realism of proposal).

Research Funding is Available

If you or your company can do some innovative research in these areas (propellantless propulsion, advanced atomic energy, or third-generation physics) you might consider writing some proposals and requesting funding from an appropriate agency such as:

http://www.acq.osd.mil/sadbu/sbir/

Small Business Innovation Research
Small Business Technology Transfer

See also:

http://sbir.gsfc.nasa.gov/SBIR/SBIR.html
http://www.sba.gov/sbir/

Funding in the field of education may be easier to obtain and should also be considered. The material at this Scriptural Physics web site could be developed further and taught either as third-generation physics or as a class in religion. Second year, semester length, college level classes could be offered on topics that stress exciting applications like:

Fundamentals of Advanced Space Propulsion Physics

Fundamentals of  Advanced Space Propulsion Astrophysics

Fundamentals of Hyperspace Navigation

Introduction to Third Generation Physics

These courses cannot be a rehash of conventional physics. Nothing even close to these concepts is currently available in any college level courses.

See also the student essay: One Christian's Perspective on Quantum Mechanics and An Overview of the Nature of Time .

Books:

Frontiers of Propulsion Science, Marc G. Millis (Editor), Eric W. Davis (Editor), 2009

Internet Comments:

http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/09/16/5118339-visualize-future-spaceflight?threadId=1076574&commentId=17598040#c17598040  
http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/10/01/5215017-scrunched-up-dimensions-untangled?threadId=1092183&commentId=18117687#c18117687
http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/08/20/4939982-going-to-mars-itll-be-one-wild-trip (comment #13)
http://technology-science.newsvine.com/_news/2010/10/21/5330993-the-best-options-for-flying-to-faraway-stars?threadId=1110755&commentId=18682551#c18682551
http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/12/03/5575877-could-x-particle-solve-two-puzzles?threadId=1147914&commentId=19902222#c19902222
http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/07/01/6994777-inside-nasas-skunk-works-lab?threadId=3164596&commentId=55575609#c55575609

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