Is it possible to control gravity?
Gravity is one of the ‘fundamental forces‘ (sometimes referred to as ‘fundamental interactions’) known to physics. The others are electromagnetism, the weak nuclear force and the strong nuclear force. Of the four forces, humans have achieved of mastery over three of the four. Is it possible to control gravity?
We are most directly familiar with electromagnetism, the invisible force behind an endless array of modern conveniences. You’re looking at one of them right now!
The ‘weak force’ is used, for example, in radiation treatments for cancer.
The ‘strong force’ holds atomic nuclei together and produces the energy released when atomic bombs go bang.
But control of gravity? Eh…Not so much.
Or… not so fast?
It seems we cannot control or manipulate gravity. So we are forced to simply overcome it with the other forces at our disposal, resorting instead to a lower chemical reaction: fire. Internal combustion, jet engines, even rockets are all some kind of chemical reaction – the same force that cavemen used to barbecue their wildebeests.
Have We Over Looked Something?
Is it possible that direct control of gravity – producing synthetic gravitational fields – has been possible since early in the 20th century? And if that is the case, then why are we still earthbound save for gigantic rockets?
In 1929, Townsend Brown published an article in Science and Invention magazine with the provocative title, “How I Control Gravitation.”
As I gather info for marketing the new book, I’ve been learning the Dark Arts Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Those studies gave me the bright idea to search Google for “is gravity control possible?” – just to see what comes up from those keywords. That led me to a Google-recommended search for “What if you could control gravity?” and following that link led me to this speculation from good old NASA:
If you could control gravity or inertial forces, you would have a propulsion breakthrough (thrusting without rockets), a means to create synthetic gravity environments for space crews, a means to create zero-gravity environment on Earth – hey that could be fun – and a whole host of other things.
Why, yes indeed, that would be fun!
And it sounds exactly like something that Townsend Brown said when he took his future wife sailing on their second date. Some day, Townsend told Josephine, mankind “will push away from the earth as easily as this boat pushed away from the dock.”
At the time Townsend Brown made his discoveries, only gravity and electromagnetism were recognized as fundamental forces. But Albert Einstein was already hard at work trying to tie those two forces togetherin a “Unified Field Theory.” The addition of the nuclear forces to the spectrum only made is task that much more complicated.
Everything We Know We Have Learned from Electricity
It was appropriate that Einstein would be looking for the link between electromagnetism and gravity. Much of what we have learned in the past two centuries began with our rapidly evolving understanding of electricity. We have learned to control electromagnetism to great advantage, so why not imagine that we could control gravity as well?
As the search of Google reveals, the answer to that question remains a great mystery. There is much speculation that the aerospace industry has been exploring the prospect since at least the 1950s, as discussed in this video, which is one of the things that comes up in the Google search:
If indeed gravity control (or ‘antigravity’) is being investigated, then it is being studied in the most secretive of realms.
The only thing it seems we can say with certainty is that all the speculation about gravity control begins with Thomas Townsend Brown. The mysteries of his live are unveiled as best they can in his authorized biography, The Man Who Mastered Gravity – coming soon to a bookshelf or reader near you.