National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Dr. Marc Millis

Undiscovered Propulsion Physics and Future Views on Space Flight
Monday June 9, 2008 – Old Angle Tavern – Cleveland, OH
 

Dr. Marc Millis talked to us about the area of breakthrough propulsion physics. In this area of study, scientists try to uncover new laws of physics and discover more of the fundamental connections between the different aspects of nature in order to create propulsion devices that would enable interstellar travel, and would make manned interplanetary travel a reality. He told us that there is a network of scientists who are committed to this goal, and who are carrying out this research despite the lack of funding. Millis said that even though concepts like space drives and warp drives may sound like science fiction, they are discussed among these scientists in a scientifically sound way, and they publish papers on these theoretical propulsion ideas in reputable journals.

Millis explained that much of the research in this area is at the first step of the scientific method which is defining the problem, but some are at the point where they are able to carry out experiments on their ideas and theories. He said that the scientists who are pursuing this area of research have the courage to do so, because they realize that a reward can only be as great as the challenge that is tackled. Even though there is a possibility that a breakthrough can not be found; if one is found, then it can revolutionize our world, give us a deeper understanding of our surroundings, and propel us into a new era. In addition, using the goal of breakthrough propulsion to investigate the different areas of science (quantum mechanics, electricity and magnetism, general relativity, cosmology, ect.) could give further insights into these areas that might otherwise be overlooked from just curiosity driven science.