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Anti-gravity Out of Magnetics?

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Showing 1-25 of 867 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 17, 2009, 4:48:15 PM PDT
I've always suspected that anti-gravity would eventually be discovered thru work with magnetics. Especially since we already have limited anti-gravity now with mag-lev.

So, if you open a story in, and then go to the left sidebar of topics, go down and open the topic on SPACE AND NANO-TECH. You will find some short but fascinating data out of the NIAC (NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts). Go down to "References for Space Related Predictions", then to "Current Work on Ion Engines", and you will find data on:

-- The NIAC study on collecting antimatter that is in the magnetic fields of planets. And the NIAC studies on efficient systems for using anti-matter for propulsion.

-- Also discussion on how sufficiently strong magnets would allow for a ground launched system that pushes against the magnetic field on Earth. Mainly by using room temperature superconductors.

-- Sailor B., they also mention your space elevators and tethers.

Posted on Jul 17, 2009, 7:27:05 PM PDT
Ronald Craig says:
If mag-lev is "anti-gravity", then so are hot-air balloons and airplanes. And so is the chair you're sitting on. Antigravity is NOT anything that opposes the effects of gravity. Mag-lev (LEVitation) opposes the effects of gravity, not gravity itself.

Words have meaning. Why do you, a writer, insist on doing such violence to them? :(

Posted on Jul 17, 2009, 7:48:30 PM PDT
Webster's Universal Dictionary states: "antigravity n the effect of decreasing or cancelling a gravitational field."
Perhaps Marilyn is more concerned with creating a magnetic propulsion system?

Posted on Jul 17, 2009, 11:15:31 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 17, 2009, 11:16:16 PM PDT
M. Helsdon says:
I believe Marilyn may be referring to the effects claimed by Eugene Podkletnov (which no one else has been able to repeat, suggesting his experiment was flawed) or Ning Li's magnetic field generator which was claimed to generate detectable gravitomagnetic and gravitoelectric fields (again unrepeatable). No one has been able to claim the one million Euros offered by the Gode Scientific Foundation to reproduce an 'anti-gravity' system.

Posted on Jul 18, 2009, 6:56:50 AM PDT
Thanks for your interesting postings! Just to clarify, all the data I quoted came from the NIAC, or the "NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts". These are ongoing studies, or merely "concepts" that might one day qualify for studies.

I just found it fascinating that NASA is articulating such cutting-edge ideas/concepts as using anti-matter for propulsion, and reverse magnetics to help with lift-off.

And I'm thrilled to learn that the Europeans are offering a cool million Euros to whoever discovers a reproducible form of anti-gravity! That would definitely qualify as a monumental society-affecting discovery. Probably nothing that earth-shaking has happened since the discovery of electricity.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2009, 8:36:31 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 18, 2009, 9:01:25 AM PDT
M. Helsdon says:

"I just found it fascinating that NASA is articulating such cutting-edge ideas/concepts as using anti-matter for propulsion, and reverse magnetics to help with lift-off."

It's not too surprising as these concepts have been in play for decades.

An antimatter rocket was proposed by Eugen Sanger in 1953, and has been subject to various studies since. Unfortunately we are still no closer to building one because antimatter is so expensive to generate. The studies on capturing antimatter in space have been around for a while.

Mag-lev assist has been discussed at least since one of the SSTO studies (one of ROMBUS, Ithacus, Pegasus, Hyperion - I forget which one) in the Seventies as a variant on the old rocket-sledge as seen in 'When Worlds Collide'. One of the Chinese Project 921-3 space shuttle variants includes mag-lev but the available information is... suspect.

None of these systems are 'antigravity', which NASA explored and abandoned as part of its Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Program 1996-2002 (an antigravity concept using a 'negative mass' was known as a diametric drive).

The ion drives employed by Deep Space 1 and Artemis (among others) are of interest, though at present ion engines are all low thrust but have a high propellant efficiency and can last for several years.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2009, 9:01:03 AM PDT
M. Ogre says:
Ronald Craig says: "Words have meaning. Why do you, a writer, insist on doing such violence to them? :( "

I'm new to the Science Fiction Forum, but not to the Zon boards; this thread caught my interest. And it never fails to amaze me that someone can post (what seems to me to be) a perfectly legitimate question, and someone else has to find something to disparage about the statement, and worse, insult and demean the author in doing so. Instead of doing violence, why not gently and politely suggest a clarification to the author's concept, or present and argue an alternative position, but with dispassion?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2009, 9:26:06 AM PDT
Ronald Craig says:
Fascinating. Have you checked out the rest of Marilyn's many threads? ;)

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2009, 9:57:37 AM PDT
M. Ogre says:
Ahh. OK, just glanced at a couple that I found. She seems to have posed some legitimate questions, has fostered what seemed to me to be intelligent discussion. No one else seems to be busting her chops over conceptualization or etc. So I'll suggest again, if you have a problem with something she says, use restraint, and gently and politely explain the issues you may have with what she's said. Enlighten her. Or if something about her or what she says just pisses you off, use more restraint, and ignore her, and don't participate in her threads.

I have an issue with people online who demean or disparage people who do not deserve it. There are more positive and more effective ways of communicating than to just wholesale diss someone. She's not a troll, she just asks a lot of questions. If you know something or grasp some concept she doesn't, get past HOW she's asked, and explain what's incorrect about the way she has presented her concept. Help 'em Hammer, don't hurt 'em...

Posted on Jul 18, 2009, 10:17:59 AM PDT
Hi Meaty Orgre!

Thanks for joining the discussion. And you hit the nail on the head when you said "She seems to have posed some legitimate questions, and has fostered what seemed to me to be intelligent discussion." YES! I'm not a scientist, but I have questions that I enjoy people weighing in on, and which enlighten us all. (I don't ask these "scientific" questions in the Science Forum, since it's been hijacked by the Creationists and Evolutionists. You will find a LOT more genuine "science" here in the Science Fiction forum!)

Thank you kindly for your defense, but RC has been a long time resident and pest in this forum. (Every forum has at least one, it seems). I always ignore him, but that never stops him from adding snide, negative comments, unfunny jokes and sly personal attacks. He's actually run other people out of this forum with these poisonous tactics, but I refuse to either leave or stop posing questions I'd like to get some intelligent discussion going on.

Anyway, I'm glad such an intelligent and gentlemanly mind has visited this thread and forum. Please feel free to jump in to any discussion. And when RC pops up, just hit the 'ole "Ignore This Customer" button, and don't get drawn into a tit-for-tat with him, since this sicko seems to crave any kind of attention.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2009, 10:59:56 AM PDT
Tom Rogers says:
Ser Ogre, unfortunately Ronald is not growing bitter gracefully.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2009, 11:00:24 AM PDT
M. Helsdon says:
This is going to go way off topic and I don't wish to initiate a flame war but: in some small way these threads seem to be going the way of the 'Science Wars' of the 90s between the 'postmodernists' and 'realists'...

Ronald on this thread picked up on the use of the term antigravity. The use or the misuse of this term seriously affects what the topic of the thread is:

* If the topic is the use of mag-lev and other technology which "opposes gravity" then 'antigravity' isn't applicable.

* If the topic is antigravity which is "the effect of decreasing or cancelling a gravitational field" then mag-lev isn't applicable.

Certainly, with my first post on the thread, I couldn't determine what Marilyn was referring to as an attempt to access the pages she identified led to a 404 Error. My (incorrect) assumption was that Marilyn was referring to claims regarding magnetic fields used to generate 'antigravity' effects.

Both Marilyn and Ronald have contributed interesting material to this and other threads, so if you select "Ignore This Customer" you could be missing relevant material. Often it is valuable to read the opinions of others even if you don't agree with them.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2009, 4:01:00 PM PDT
M. Ogre says:
Marilyn, As someone who knows neither of you, I find you calling Ronald a "sicko", and etc, as---"unproductive", and distasteful---as anything he might have said (which in this case, as above, was quite frankly, not all that much). If you want to THINK him a sicko, that's fine. Or for him to THINK whatever negative thing he might have occur to him about you, fine. The thing is, we don't SAY these things. This is not The Playground. This is a community for adult discussion. What we SAY should be our best---and most well considered---representation of ourselves.

I've seen this all before. And I've also seen that when people put their attitudes away, and perhaps even apologize to each other for any past whatevers, and all choose to start behaving like adults, it is POSSIBLE for people who got off on the wrong foot to all start ACTUALLY having a decent and productive discussion.

I just reread what I just wrote above, and considered deleting it. It sounds like a lecture, and that's certainly presumptuous of me. But screw it, if somebody reads it and decides to change their behavior for the better, to focus on what is positive and productive, and restrain their impulse to pounce into the negative, well, then it'll be worth it me sounding all pedantic.

I'm tired of all the bickering fostered by the anonymity of being able to hide behind being online. If I'm going to say something online, I use the guide: Would I say this if I were in person, face to face, at an intelligent seminar peopled by respected peers? If the answer is no, then I run it through the ol' reality filter, and rephrase or rethink what ever it might have been.

Being online is, theoretically, an even easier situation in which to be able to behave in a civilized manner. We do not HAVE to respond immediately. If we find ourselves reacting with strong emotion to something someone has posted, we have the luxury of sitting back and considering how we best wish to respond.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2009, 4:17:30 PM PDT
M. Ogre says:
M. Helsdon, I agree, it seems that so many of the arguments that occur in these discussions occur over basic definitions. Instead of JUST finding fault with what someone has mistakenly or misguidedly or ignorantly said, let's point out the mistaken concept, and THEN discuss and agree on what the different terms in play actually mean.

I'm reasonably science-savvy, but I am COMPLETELY ignorant of the terms in play here regarding gravity. It seems that Marilyn might also be. My point is, instead of berating her for her ignorance, enlighten her in an instructive way as to what's actually what. If I had posted her topic, and not had my facts straight, I'd hope that you'd all enlighten me with what you know. None of us are scientists (I'm assuming), yet all of us are interested. So let's all help each other further our understanding. That's what we're all here for to begin with, right?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2009, 5:57:36 AM PDT
Hello M. Helsdon!

Sorry for the confusion. I went back to and couldn't find the information I'd read earlier. I think it was in a side blog, that was probably outdated and removed. So I apologize. However, there is a new book out (and available here at AMAZON) by the former director of NIAC: "FRONTIERS OF PROPULSION SCIENCE" by Marc G. Millis and Eric W. Davis

Also, to those (like me) who are fascinated by the possibility of intelligent extraterrestrial life, you may want to check out another Amazon forum I just discovered: Aliens.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2009, 7:23:21 AM PDT
M. Helsdon says:

"However, there is a new book out (and available here at AMAZON) by the former director of NIAC: "FRONTIERS OF PROPULSION SCIENCE" by Marc G. Millis and Eric W. Davis"

Will look it up - I have a number of similar titles.

The British Interplanetary Society several decades ago performed a technical study for a 'realistic' unmanned interstellar probe: Project Daedalus. It used a fusion rocket using pellets of deuterium/helium-3 mix. Although it is now a little dated, it went into immense detail of the technical challenges of such an activity.

And it is far beyond our current technology.

Would it be possible to amend the title of this thread, or is it 'fixed' please?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2009, 7:30:13 AM PDT
M. Helsdon says:

Sorry: new to Amazon forums - can't locate the Aliens forum.

Only looked at the sf forums last week because they were listed on the bottom of the page of a friend's novel - I was looking at its sales ranking prior to its publication.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2009, 7:31:38 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 19, 2009, 7:35:02 AM PDT
Hello M. Helsdon!

I don't know how to change a thread's title, once it's set. And the first posters are usually responding directly to the initial post, anyway.

However, if you want to read more interesting postings about possible craft propulsion ideas, I recommend you check out "Craft Propulsion In Space Opera" in the Space Opera forum. You also may want to check out this forum's older thread, "Race to Space ..." Both have some very interesting postings involving possible craft propulsion.

As far as changing forums (such as to Space Opera or Aliens), go down the right side of this page to EXPLORE COMMUNITIES/What's your Interest? Type "Space Opera" or "Aliens" in the search box, and hit GO. Changing forums is that easy.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2009, 9:36:10 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 19, 2009, 9:39:37 AM PDT
Meaty, while it may have seemed to you to be "a perfectly legitimate question", for someone with enough physics training it was just a silly question.

Magnetism is one of four fundamental forces of physics. Gravity is another one. Until and unless physics understands how these forces are linked, there is no way that magnetism is going to be the basis of "anti-gravity".

As everyone else has pointed out, levitation is not the same thing as actually cancelling out or reversing gravity.

Perhaps this might seem like "just" a semantic argument, but there is nothing trivial about semantics.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2009, 9:54:36 AM PDT
M. Ogre says:
Mike thank you. Your few sentences sorted out the confusion for me, and made sense of what was going on here. I'd imagine that your explanation helped Marilyn, too, because she is seemingly as clueless as I am (now, was) about the distinction between the two forces.

That said, let's go 1200 years in the future, when EVERYONE uses their space flitter's magnetic focusizer beam grids for that quick jaunt out to Neptune.....

Posted on Jul 19, 2009, 10:39:05 AM PDT
M. Helsdon says:
I've spent an hour or two today working through some of the Amazon 'Science' forums. There's no way I would post on any of those threads...

Compared with these, the 'Science Fiction' threads are civilised and tolerant, even when they aren't. 8-)

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2009, 10:44:38 AM PDT
Ronald Craig says:
Well, Meaty, don't forget to use your inertial dampeners, too, or you'll arrive as a nasty smear on the flitter's cabin walls. Depending on how "quick" a jaunt you meant. ;)

In connection with mag-lev, and since this is the science fiction forum, has anyone else read Silverberg's Lord Valentine's Castle? It's been years since I read it, but I think I remember something about (some of the?) wagons and other vehicles being supported not by wheels but by a sort of mag-lev device, and there being some comment about the devices functioning as long as Majipoor (the planet) had a magnetic field.

Which brings me to the point of why NASA probably abandoned mag-lev as a propulsion method (I'm guessing here, not having read up on it): what magnetic field is your "engine" going to react against out in space once you're far from any planet? (And not all planets have a strong magnetic field like the Earth's. Isn't Mars' supposed to be fairly weak?)

(And yeah, Thomas, I fully plan to go ballistically bitter into that good night. But not for a long while yet. ;)

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2009, 11:03:19 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 19, 2009, 11:07:14 AM PDT
M. Helsdon says:

I haven't been able to access the document Marilyn identified, but from doing a search on the web, it appears that some NASA studies have looked into using one of the three current mag-lev methods to provide a track along which a spaceplane can be accelerated to 'give launch vehicles a "running start" as they lift off to orbit.'

A model aircraft has been 'launched' in this way, and there are other military studies considering this as a method to accelerate aircraft from aircraft carriers.

One article in full:


Overcoming the grip of Earth's gravity is a supreme challenge for engineers who design rockets that leave the planet. One of the cutting-edge technologies being developed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., would give launch vehicles a "running start" as they lift off to orbit.

Marshall engineers are testing magnetic levitation-or maglev-technologies that could levitate and accelerate a launch vehicle along a track at high speeds before it leaves the ground. Using electricity and magnetic fields, a maglev launch-assist system would drive a spacecraft along a horizontal track until it reaches desired speeds, and then the vehicle would shift to onboard engines for launch to orbit. A full-scale, operational track would be about 1.5 miles long and capable of accelerating a vehicle to 600 mph in 9.5 seconds.

Maglev technologies could dramatically reduce the cost of getting to space. Much of the expense of conventional rocket launches is traced to the weight of propellant. Since maglev-assisted vehicles use electricity-an off-board energy source, the spacecraft's weight at liftoff could be about 20 percent less than a typical rocket, resulting in significant cost savings. Each launch using a full-scale maglev track would consume only about $75 worth of electricity in today's market. Electricity is both inexpensive and environmentally safe.

The Marshall Center and industry partner PRT Advanced Maglev Systems Inc. of Park Forest, Ill., installed a 50-foot maglev track at Marshall in September and plan to extend it to 400 feet. Tests conducted with the experimental track help NASA learn more about aerodynamics, magnetic fields and energy storage devices associated with maglev. Experiments to validate the concept have been conducted successfully on a 20-foot electromagnetic track at the University of Sussex in Brighton, England.

The Marshall track is an advanced linear induction motor. Induction motors are common in fans, power drills and sewing machines, but instead of spinning in a circular motion to turn a shaft or gears, a linear induction motor produces thrust in a straight line. It's basically a rotary motor split in half and rolled out flat.

When the coils of the linear induction motor are energized by alternating current, a magnetic field is created, providing thrust that pushes an aluminum carrier along the maglev track. A horseshoe-shaped carrier containing a 5-foot, 30-pound spacecraft model is levitated about one-half inch above the track as it accelerates from zero to 60 mph in less than one-half second.

The track-50 feet long, about 2 feet wide and about 1.5 feet high-is mounted on concrete pedestals. It consists of 10 identical, 5-foot-long segments that weigh about 500 pounds each. Most of the weight is iron used in the motor. The track is shrouded with nonmagnetic stainless steel.

Magnetic levitation of the carrier and its vehicle on the experimental track requires about 200 kilowatts of electricity-the equivalent of turning on 2,000 100-watt light bulbs at one time.

In addition to industry partner PRT, NASA is joining with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory of Livermore, Calif., to develop maglev technologies. The Livermore team is building a track that uses permanent magnets and a linear motor that runs without superconductors or complex feedback circuits.

Maglev is one of many technologies being developed by the Marshall Center's Advanced Space Transportation Program to reduce the cost of getting to space from today's $10,000 per pound to only hundreds of dollars per pound.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2009, 11:06:49 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 19, 2009, 11:24:08 AM PDT
Hi M. Helsdon!

Actually, you can find the most vitriolic postings in "Politics" and "Christianity". They are also the most active of the forums I've found, and mere name-calling is the nicest thing they post.

The problem is that some of the forums have practically no traffic at all. I checked out the "Medicine" forum for a question on detecting cancer on a cellular level, and decided to post on "Science" just to get some feedback.

Also, you can go to This is NIAC's website and, although it has now morph'ed into something else, there is still some interesting data. You can open "The Library", chose "Miscellaneous Documents" from the right sidebar, and then open the document "The Vision For Space Exploration". Great artwork, and -- while everyone now debates why we need to go back to the moon --offers up some interesting vistas of what the old NASA dreamers were studying.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2009, 1:02:16 PM PDT
M. Ogre says:
Ronald, I had actually considered the "nasty smear" scenario. I was thinking of using my SpongeBob SquarePants suit as a cushioning device. Perhaps your inertial dampeners might be a better solution.

Regarding: "what magnetic field is your "engine" going to react against out in [deep] space", I've also wondered about this since I first heard of anti-grav or mag-lev (or whatever) propulsion. Also, how would one execute a course change?
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