Pushing Physics with Exotic Spacecraft Propulsion


Professor Heidi Fearn, a theoretical physicist, and James F. Woodward, professor of history, are combining their research to develop a hypothetical form of spacecraft propulsion so powerful that — if real — it could potentially push our species out to the stars.

They've developed MEGA: the Mach effect gravity-assist drive. Their work has netted two of NASA's most competitive grants from the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program, which funds research that would be “huge if true.”

The grant funds projects ranging from really exotic to merely eccentric, but they all diverge from the traditional path and aim for somewhere new. Continue reading in Scientific America.

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