Newton was wrong: Scientists dismiss Newton's theory of gravity and warn Einstein is next - Express.co.uk - Canadanewsmedia
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Newton was wrong: Scientists dismiss Newton's theory of gravity and warn Einstein is next – Express.co.uk

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More than 100 years after Albert Einstein published his iconic theory of general relativity, it is beginning to show signs of age. Now, in the most comprehensive test of general relativity near the monstrous black hole at the centre of our galaxy, University of California’s Professor Andrea Ghez has announced that Einstein’s theory of general relativity holds up – for now. Professor Ghez said: ”Einstein’s right, at least for now. We can absolutely rule out Newton’s law of gravity. “Our observations are consistent with Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

“However, his theory is definitely showing vulnerability.

“It cannot fully explain gravity inside a black hole, and at some point we will need to move beyond Einstein’s theory to a more comprehensive theory of gravity that explains what a black hole is.”

German-born theoretical physicist Einstein is, alongside Max Plank, considered one of the two pillars of modern physics.

His 1915 theory of general relativity holds that what we perceive as the force of gravity arises from the curvature of space and time.

READ MORE: A Jupiter-sized black hole is rampaging through the Milky Way

The scientist proposed celestial objects such as the Sun and the Earth change this geometry.

Einstein’s theory is the best description of how gravity works, said Professor Ghez, who has made direct measurements of the phenomenon near a supermassive black hole – research dubbed “extreme astrophysics.”

The laws of physics, including gravity, should be valid everywhere in the universe, said Ghez, who added that her research team is one of only two groups in the world to watch a star known as S0-2 make a complete orbit in three dimensions around the supermassive black hole at the Milky Way’s centre.

The full orbit takes 16 years, and the black hole’s mass is about four million times that of the Sun.

The researchers say their work is the most detailed study ever conducted into the supermassive black hole and Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

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The key data in the research were spectra Professor Ghez’s team analysed this April, May and September as her “favourite star” made its closest approach to the enormous black hole.

Spectra, which Ghez described as the “rainbow of light” from stars, show the intensity of light and offer important information about the star from which the light travels.

Spectra also show the composition of the star. These data were combined with measurements Ghez and her team have made over the last 24 years.

Spectra—collected at Hawaii’s W.M. Keck Observatory using a spectrograph built at UCLA by UCLA’s Professor James Larkin, provide the third dimension, revealing the star’s motion at a level of precision not previously attained.

Professor Larkin’s instrument takes light from a star and disperses it, similar to the way raindrops disperse light from the sun to create a rainbow.

Professor Ghez added: ”What’s so special about S0-2 is we have its complete orbit in three dimensions.

“That’s what gives us the entry ticket into the tests of general relativity.

“We asked how gravity behaves near a supermassive black hole and whether Einstein’s theory is telling us the full story.

“Seeing stars go through their complete orbit provides the first opportunity to test fundamental physics using the motions of these stars.”

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NASA news: Space engineer proposes accelerator propelling craft 'close to light speed' – Express.co.uk

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The NASA Marshall Space Flight Centre engineer has advanced an alternative to traditional fuel for propelling rockets through space. This is a huge, helix-shaped engine powered by a particle accelerator. Dr Burns describes the controversial and highly experimental device as a “helical engine.”

The Marshall Space Flight Centre Director proposed the idea in a series of slides published to the space agency’s Technical Reports server.

He wrote: “This in-space engine could be used for long-term satellite station-keeping without refuelling.

“It could also propel spacecraft across interstellar distances, reaching close to the speed of light.”

The design builds upon a simple experiment used to describe genius scientist Isaac Newton’s third law of motion that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

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A weight moving along a straight rod will only cause the box it is in to move back and forth along a frictionless surface: there is no forward acceleration.

Instead, Dr Burns proposes pushing a particle accelerator – rather than a weight – back and forth along a helix, with the mass increasing as it moves in the forward direction and decreasing as it bounces backward.

This way, when the rotating ion ring hits the front of the compartment, it produces a forward acceleration.

The NASA scientist suggests if his helical engine is provided with enough time and power, it could reach potentially extraordinary speeds aided with a particle accelerator.

READ MORE: This is what would happen if an asteroid hits Earth

The idea is admittedly controversial, with many in the field extremely sceptical of the idea.

Dr Burns admitted to New Scientist: “I’m comfortable with throwing it out there.

“If someone says it doesn’t work, I’ll be the first to say, it was worth a shot.”

First, the design would only be able to work up enough momentum in space, a completely frictionless environment.

READ MORE: NASA chief reveals nuclear ‘game changer’

Were it on Earth, it would require a ton of power—about 125 megawatts, enough energy to power a small city — to achieve just one newton of energy, the same amount of force it takes to type on a keyboard.

The helical particle accelerator would additionally need to be huge.

Dr Burns believes that in order to create actual momentum, it would have to be approximately 65ft (20m) long and 40ft (13m) across.

For reference, the International Space Station (ISS) is almost 330ft (100m) in length.

As Dr Burns suggests in the proposal, this would make it a good option for powering large spacecraft.

There are a number of issues that make his engine designs difficult to employ in space.

The greatest of which is the engine is extremely inefficient and will likely violate the laws of the conservation of momentum.

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NASA engineer invents physics-breaking new space engine – Newshub

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SPACESHIP

It doesn’t look like this, but this is what it might let us do.

Photo credit: Getty

Star Trek‘s Montgomery Scott famously said “ye cannot change the laws of physics”, but a real-life space engineer says he might have just done that.

David Burns of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama has unveiled what he’s calling the ‘helical engine’, which could potentially power flights across space without using any fuel at all.

There’s just one small problem – it breaks the laws of physics as we know them.

“I’m comfortable with throwing it out there,” Burns told magazine New Scientist. “If someone says it doesn’t work, I’ll be the first to say it was worth a shot.”

The simple version of how the helical engine works – or doesn’t work – is like this: a ring inside a box is sprung in one direction, the box recoiling in the other, just as Isaac Newton’s laws of motion say they should.

“When the ring reaches the end of the box, it will bounce backwards, and the box’s recoil direction will switch too,” New Scientist explains.

A simplified version of the engine.

A simplified version of the engine.

Photo credit: David Burns/NASA

But if the box and ring are travelling near the speed of light, Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity says as the ring approaches the front end of the box it will increase in mass because it’s going faster than when it’s going backwards – so it’ll hit harder, resulting in forward momentum. 

The actual engine itself will use a particle accelerator and ion particles, but that’s the basic gist. 

“Chemical, nuclear and electric propulsion systems produce thrust by accelerating and expelling propellants,” Burns’ paper reads. “Deep space travel is often a trade-off between thrust and large propellant storage tanks that eventually limit performance. The objective of this paper is to introduce and examine a unique engine that uses a closed-cycle propellant.”

According to Burns it could produce a forward thrust up to 99 percent the speed of light without breaking Einstein’s rules, but totally breaching Newton’s third law of motion – that an action always has an opposite and equal reaction.

There are other hurdles to overcome too – it would have to be 200m long and 12m wide to work, and would only operate effectively in the frictionless environment of deep space.

David Burns.

David Burns.

Photo credit: NASA

Burns isn’t worried if it turns out not to work at all, like others’ attempts at fuel-free propulsion, such as the microwave-powered EM drive. 

“I know that it risks being right up there with the EM drive and cold fusion,” he told New Scientist.

“But you have to be prepared to be embarrassed. It is very difficult to invent something that is new under the sun and actually works.”

Burns’ full paper can be read online here.

Newshub.

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NASA'S Long-Delayed Icon Mission Set For Unconventional Launch Off Daytona Beach Coast – WLRN

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Weather has delayed the first launch attempt Wednesday night. NASA will attempt to launch the payload Thursday night. 

An unconventional launch is now scheduled Thursday evening off the coast of Daytona Beach after a 24-hour weather delay. NASA is aiming to send up a spacecraft to study weather at the edge of space.

The spacecraft called ICON will hitch a ride beneath an airplane. At 39,000 feet, the Pegasus rocket carrying the satellite will drop from the plane’s belly and launch the spacecraft into space.

Once in space, the mission will study the planet’s ionosphere, where terrestrial and space weather meet. “The ionosphere is where we see aurora,” said NASA’s Nicky Fox. “Aurora is one big sign that space weather is happening.”

The ionosphere affects radio and satellite signals that make way for communications and GPS navigation. “This ionosphere is continually changing and it is very, very dynamic. That can have a big impact on our ability to do this type of communication,” she said.

The mission has been delayed since 2017 because of issues with the rocket’s navigation instruments. Wednesday’s attempt was scrubbed. NASA has another opportunity to launch the Pegasus rocket Thursday.

NASA TV will air coverage of the launch attempt starting at 9:15 p.m. ET.

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