THE FUTURE OF SPACE-BASED EXPERIMENTS

June 20, 2018 By Joseph P. Farrell

Every now and then I receive an article from an individual which, behind its bland rhetoric, might be implying much more sinister or more important things. Sometimes, it implies both. I believe this is one such article implying both important things, and potentially, sinister things, and want to thank Ms. P.H. for passing it along. When she did so, she included her own "high octane speculation" in a remark in her email, which we'll get back to, because I suspect she is on to something. But that something is one possibility among many possible "somethings" as we'll see.

The article itself reviews a recent conference in September of last year sponsored by Los Alamos Laboratories:

Assessing the Future of Space-Based Experiments

The first thing to notice are the actual sponsors of the event:

Last September, growing interest in a new generation of potential space experiments brought together 65 members of the active-experiments community for a workshop. Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Center for Nonlinear Studies and Center for Space and Earth Science sponsored this workshop, with the goal of assessing past accomplishments, reviewing lessons learned, and developing new ideas for future projects that conduct active experiments in space.

What caught my eye here was the conjunction of such specialized fields as non-linear physics and space and earth sciences. It is this conjunction which suggests a connection and correlation between the two. "Non-Linear" is a problem, because it means different things to different people. In its most basic sense, it can mean the simple difference between a straight line and a curve. Other senses can mean something that is non-sequential. For some, it is even akin to the phenomenon of entanglement, where information does not travel in a line, but "appears" in an entangled system. Yet again, for some, it indicates systems that contain geometric, rather than arithmetic, progression (which is, of course, closely aligned with the difference between straight lines and curves). Yet again, it can indicate the strange behavior of open or coupled systems, self-organizing systems, non-equilibrium thermodynamics, and the whole field of systems kinetics. Clearly, these more exotic senses of systems, coupled and open systems, complex systems, and perhaps even entanglement, are indicated by the Center for Non-Linear Studies' website reviewing its research emphases:

Current Focus Area

Clearly, the Center is interested in the relationship between information, materials, and complex systems both in and not in equilibrium. Which makes its sponsorship in conjunction with Space and Earth Science even more intriguing, for it would tend to indicate that they are thinking of spatial systems and planets in these terms. And let us remember, this is Los Alamos National Laboratory, and their ultimate purpose is, of course, advanced weaponry.

With that in mind, look at the list of what was discussed (and one must assume, much more was discussed, but this is only what they can say):

Attendees at the workshop discussed a number of important accomplishments from this period:

  • Active experiments stimulated critical work in basic plasma physics (waves, instabilities, structuring, transport) and spacecraft charging.
  • Barium and lithium releases elucidated the physics of plasma cloud dynamics, magnetic field modification, and auroral electric fields.
  • Electron beam experiments demonstrated long-distance beam propagation, beam excitation of plasma waves, and the physics of beam-plasma discharges.
  • Plasma jet experiments demonstrated plasma polarization effects and the propagation of plasma streams across magnetic fields.
  • The Starfish Prime experiment demonstrated the long lifetime (years) of an artificially produced radiation belt.
  • Ionospheric heater experiments stimulated the field of plasma turbulence and parametric instabilities research. (Emphases added)

Ms. P.H. wondered, in her email, "Are they acknowledging here that long-range coupling (low to high altitude, magnetosphere to ionosphere) is an active experiment?"  Well, that's certainly one implication, particularly of the last bullet point concerning ionospheric heater experiments in plasma turbulence and instabilities, for this suggests the deliberate creation within the ionosphere of regions, which by definition would have to be relatively large, which are unstable, and this might have coupling or possible resonance effects with other regions. It is planetary-scaled engineering.

What intrigued me about this list, however, was a very difference set of possibilities, both for deep space travel and thus for exotic propulsion technologies, and for weaponry. Look at that italicized list again, and out of context:

  • basic plasma physics: waves, instabilities, structuring, transport and spacecraft charging
  • magnetic field modification, electric fields
  • electron beams and long distance propagation
  • beam-plasma discharges
  • Plasma jets

Splicing these dots together, it appears to me, in my daily high octane speculation mode, that the focus is on the direction of high energy plasma by a variety of means: magnetic fields, contextual modification of the medium(the ionospheric heater experiments), and most importantly, by electron streams that are, in turn, being used to direct - i.e., to aim and point, or "target" - plasma jets. And note, the basic concepts could serve a dual purpose, both to precisely control plasmas of different sorts, for propulsion and for weaponization purposes. We are looking at an example how varying technologies and applications can emerge from the same underlying basic concepts. I suspect, strongly, that "electron streams" might indicate, for example, that free-electron lasers are being used as a kind of "guide channel" for powerful plasmas. If that makes no sense, then think of the laser as a boring machine, boring its way through rock, and clearing a channel for hot lava to move through the channel at very high velocities. The boring machine - or the laser - are there to steer and target that plasma, and also to keep it narrowly focused, and therefore, of great power. The uses of such conceptions for propulsion, or for that matter, strategic weaponry, are rather obvious. If one has difficulty imagining how this might be used as a weapon, then think of a hydrogen bomb exploding, but rather than have the explosion expanding in all directions, being rather directed through a channel, like our lava in the analogy above. In other words, one is pointing and aiming the explosion like a bullet, not buckshot.  And oh, did I mention, that while we're talking about asteroid mining, such a technology would be a very efficient means of drilling and boring for all those resources they want to mine, as well as a nifty way to get there, and bring those resources back, without the clumsy and expensive inefficiency of chemical rockets. Thinking even more out of the box, it might even be a possible technology to reduce those resources to plasma form, and then simply beam them back to the refining center where it is collected.

But whatever one makes of my high octane speculations about this conference, there are some things I am certain of: it was very important, we're not being told everything, and it was all about space - space propulsion, space security, and an entirely new generation of weapons. And it's this that convinces me, even more, that all the public talk about mining asteroids and going to Mars with chemical rockets is so much smoke and mirrors for public consumption. We need alternative technologies, and this conference tells me they're actively pursuing them.

See you on the flip side...