National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Dr. Marc Millis

The Lunatic Fringe

August 7, 2007

One of the biggest concerns when dealing with breakthrough propulsion system analysis and research is maintaining credibility, according to Marc Millis. He has to examine all proposals with extreme scrutiny and has established a set of precautions in order to protect and distance himself from the quack propulsions scientists he calls “the lunatic fringe.” These people typically exhibit delusions of grandeur and/or paranoia when discussing their breakthrough propulsion systems, and have accounted for approximately 9% of all correspondence sent to Mr. Millis through the mail. In order to discourage further communication, the preferred method of reply is not to respond at all when the writer is suspected of belonging to the fringe.

Another portion of the letters received belonged to another group of interested persons Marc categorizes as “the one percent-ers.” These people often send in propositions that they take quite seriously without displaying any of the warning signs indicating that the best course of action would be to ignore their letters. Typically these submissions are 1% inspiration and lack the 99% perspiration that is required to turn an idea into an actual design. Often, they hope Marc will do the missing 99%. In order to encourage these submissions and their writers, Marc provides tests to do or suggests further work in order for the writer to validate or refute their idea’s results.

Below are some quotes and descriptions of actual submissions by the lunatic fringe:

  • 10 pages copied from the Star Trek Star Fleet Technical Manual were submitted as original. They were supposedly written after a 5 month drug free commune with God.
  • “… and to think that my concepts were rejected merely for breaking the laws of physics!”
  • “… travel space free of charge? Blithering idiots! Every member of the public needs a toilet!”
  • “I am dark knight of gravity horse.”
  • “Do you need a guinea pig for any of your experiments? If so then I am your man!”
  • “I think some of them were clones or else people changed clothes a lot.”
  • “Hi! I’ve heard of warp drive. I love strawberries.”
  • “Just call that some schizophrenic Irish humor”

—Adam Pfendt