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There is a fine line between genius and insanity...

Crazy Genius

Chapter Six:

Inertial Propulsion
Simulating the Effects of Anti-Gravity

     For some readers, it isn't much fun reading technical information, so I am presenting this chapter as a fiction story just to make things more entertaining. It also introduces some basic personal information about who I am as an individual, and there will be much more of that to come. For those who prefer to get to the facts without all the fluff, you can scroll to the end of this page to read a letter I recently sent to the Center for Advancement of Science In Space, which describes one particular way to test if inertial propulsion is possible.

     Luna was too tired from her long flight to watch TV on the home theater or even turn on all the special lighting in the bedroom. She did spend a few minutes watching the colors change in the Flame Face image above the sink in the bathroom as she brushed her teeth and got ready for bed. She was asleep before she knew it and her dreams were vivid and chaotic.
     Luna dreamed about Koda as a restless young boy around eight-years-old, sitting in his third grade classroom on the lower level of an old, 3-story school building. He is a good kid who does what he is told, but he is also very bright. He learns quickly, and that means he becomes bored easily. He sat at his desk fidgeting with his feet as he stared out the widow into the empty playground, watching the tetherballs slowly roll from side to side against their poles in the wind. He studied the clock as it clicked off the seconds in agonizingly slow motion, waiting for the bell to announce the recess period. It was a fine spring day after a long winter and he couldn't wait to get outside to play.
     When the bell finally rang all the kids exploded toward the door but Koda stopped to get his coat and that meant he was late getting in line to play tetherball. The minutes floated away as he stood there waiting for one kid after another to end the game by getting the ball to wrap tight against the pole. At long last he finally got both hands on the ball and was about to serve when the bell rang again. His opponent and all the other kids instantly took off running to get back in the building and Koda felt depressed and frustrated.
     He hit the ball and watched it swing from the rope tied to the top of the pole, then hit the ball in the other direction, all the while trying to time his delay so he wouldn't be the last kid in the door. The last kid in always got in trouble.
     "Look at them," he thought as the kids all bunched together in a huge mass in front of the double doors. "They all act like a heard of sheep."
     But he had no time to lose. Koda let go of the tetherball and ran toward the building as the last few kids were passing inside. It was too late. He was already going to be the last one in. Then Koda stopped running.
     "I am already in trouble," he thought, "so I may as well just stay out here and have some fun."
     The teacher standing by the door waved and yelled at him to hurry up, but Koda just turned around and went back to the tetherball pole. The teacher yelled a few more times then gave up and went inside the building.
     "I am really in trouble now," he thought, "but what are they going to do to me? They aren't going to beat me up or anything."
     Koda knocked the tetherball around for a few minutes, only to realize that playing alone was no fun, so he walked back to the building and looked at his classroom through the window. The lowest level of the old building was a half-basement, so when Koda sat on the wide window ledge he could look down at his classmates sitting at their desks below him. Now and then someone would turn around to look at him and Koda pulled faces at them, causing the kids to laugh, which made the whole class look at him. The teacher came to the back of the class and pulled down all the window blinds.
     Luna felt herself first hovering above the scene, then sliding into Koda's consciousness as he turned around and sat on the window ledge thinking about how much trouble he was in, but then something amazing happened. Koda came into true self awareness, and so did Luna.
     "I am not a sheep," he thought. "I am not going to do things just because some adult tells me I have to do it. I have as much right to make my own decisions as anyone else. I am a whole person, not just a kid, and I can think."
     At that moment a feeling came over him unlike anything he, or Luna, had ever experienced. He felt a power inside him that made him sit up straight and proud and breath deeply. The air around him felt like it was filled with invisible energy. He looked up at a big, white, fluffy cloud against the dark blue sky and the cloud seemed to almost glow, and suddenly he knew something beyond all doubt. He knew he was going to be famous, like George Washington, that he was going to do something amazing like invent anti-gravity. The feeling was so profound he knew it would completely change his life.
     Luna woke up, but only partially, feeling like she suddenly understood why some people strive to achieve the impossible, but it was only a feeling and a moment later one of the male teachers appeared at the nearby door to the school. Koda took off running with the teacher hot on his trail. Koda ran into a different building, down the hall then out into the playground again, leaving the man chasing him far behind. Thinking the chase was over, Koda walked toward his classroom again, but the teacher burst out through another door. Koda ran into the three-story building with the man right behind him. Koda raced up the wide, wooden staircase to the second floor, then the third, then across the building to the stairs on the other side with the man falling far behind. Down the stairs he went, back down to the first floor. Not knowing where to go, Koda ran into into his classroom, slamming the door behind him and rushed to sit at his desk.
     Everyone in the classroom was so stunned they just stared at him. The door flew open and the teacher who had been chasing him burst in.
     "Where is he?!" yelled the man.
     Koda had been holding his breath so his rapid breathing wouldn't give him away, but he finally had to gasp for air. The man grabbed him by both arms but Koda hung onto his desk. Koda, the desk and the attached chair were lifted high above the other kids as the teacher carried him to the front of the room then scraped the legs of the desk against the floor, forcing Koda to let go, sending the desk and its contents tumbling. Many of the kids were screaming as the man dragged Koda out of the room by his arm.
     "That's how Koda began his new life as an independent thinker," thought Luna, as she drifted into another dream.

     Boris Chrochenko was also an independent thinker. He was only 22-years-old when he received his doctorate in engineering and became a cosmonaut. He met his wife Nadia when they were both training to work on the International Space Station and it is rumored that they were the first couple to have sex in space, but they may not have been the first. After their first mission Nadia helped train new cosmonauts and Boris worked his way up the ranks to become head of procurement for the entire Russian space agency.
     Boris was both ambitious and clever, so it wasn't long before many millions of rubbles allocated to the space program had somehow found their way into his secret offshore accounts, and into the hands of his many mistresses living high all across the world. Kickbacks to many people in power, and his fame as a cosmonaut, insured Boris would never go to jail, but he had many enemies. His way of manipulating the books had caused several senior project managers to lose their jobs under charges of corruption and nearly everyone in the agency hated him. His wife Nadia was among them, yet they remained together to keep up appearances.
     Boris was nearing retirement in 2031 when the head of the space agency discovered that Boris had been sleeping with his wife for many years. It just happened that a disaster on Mars enabled the head of the agency, along with Nadia, to devise an ingenious plan to get even with the famous cosmonaut.
     The four men who recently landed on Mars discovered that a valve on one of the fuel tanks had malfunctioned and all the fuel had slowly leaked out without anyone knowing. They had no way to return to Earth unless a supply ship was launched immediately. That is how Boris "bravely volunteered" to fly alone to Mars and avoid going to prison. He was on the launch pad a week later, and during that week many of the people who hated Boris found their own ways to get even.
     The entire food supply consisted of nothing but frozen salisbury steak meals, the music library contained only Russian folk music and the video library had only Chinese musicals without subtitles. The more than 1,000 ebooks were all identical copies of the Tibetan Book of the Dead written in sanskrit. Aside from his spacesuit the only clothing on board was women's lingerie, and Nadia supplied the coup de gras by spiking the water supply with estrogen and human growth hormone.
     Boris was on his way to Mars before he discovered most of the details of his unusual accommodations, and it took about 3 weeks before Nadia explained why his nipples were so sore and swollen. As his breasts continued to grow Boris began to drink his own urine to avoid dosing himself any further, till the ground crew let him informed him that excess estrogen was also in his urine.
     The hero cosmonaut had to pretend all was well in his broadcasts back to adoring fans on Earth, but after 8 months he finally snapped and blurted out the facts during a "live" broadcast, which was delayed by over an hour so his outburst could be edited out.
     By that time Boris had a fine little pair of perky breasts and his penis had shrunk to a third it's normal size. He was also speaking with a bit of a lisp and his behavior had become rather swishy, though he hadn't really noticed. The audience back home noticed and the great hero was becoming a laughing stock. Nadia and the head of the agency liked to uplink videos of the two of them having sex in Boris's magnificent bedroom, one time pointing the camera out the window to praise Boris for allowing a refugee camp to be set up on the sprawling grounds of his estate.

     Luna felt like a voyeur watching the sex tape scene, which made her uncomfortable and confused. The scene in front of her dissolved into the blackness of the bedroom at Koda's place, and she wondered what happened to the little boy.
     A moment later she was a waitress pouring coffee for a long haired man in his fifties, sitting at the counter in a restaurant writing in a notebook filled with text and little diagrams.
     "What do you write in that notebook all the time?" she asked the man.
     He looked up and flashed her a million dollar grin.
     "Mostly I just think on paper," he said, "but sometimes I get stuck for hours working on an invention that is supposed to be impossible. I'm sorry I take up the seat for so long. I know you need the turnover to make tips."
     "You tip 100% of your bill, so I don't mind, though it would be nice if you had something besides coffee sometime and tipped that well."
     Koda had been going to coffee shops pretty much every day since he was a teenager. Now in his mid-fifties, his habit was to go alone and sit at the counter, chain smoking and writing in his journal. As a starving-artist who had dedicated his life to creating music, going out for coffee was about the only social activity he could afford.
     "So what is this mysterious invention?" asked Luna.
     "Inertial propulsion," said Koda, smiling broadly because he knew she had no clue what he was talking about.
     "It's similar to anti-gravity, but different," he said. "Do you know what centrifugal force is?
     "Ummm, not really," said Luna.
     "Imagine you fill a small bucket with water," said Koda, "then you tie a rope to the handle and swing the bucket in a circle around you. You can even swing the bucket upside down above your head and the water won't come out, because centrifugal force pushes the water back into the bucket. Centrifugal force can appear to defy gravity, and I am trying to figure out how to design a machine that would convert the inertia of spinning masses into directional momentum."
     Luna stared blankly.
     "I'm sorry," said Koda. "I can't expect most people to understand those terms, so it's my fault if you don't understand. Let me put it another way.
     "When you throw a baseball upward as high as you can," he said, "the ball keeps going up even after you stop pushing on it, because your hand put a form of energy called inertia into the ball. Gravity acts against the inertia, and when the inertia runs out, the ball falls back down. What I am trying to do would be like building a little machine you put inside the ball that keeps adding inertia, so the ball would keep going, all the way to the edge of space and beyond."
     "I think I get it, sort of," said Luna. "Have you figured it out yet?"
     "Yes, and no," said Koda. "I think I know how to make it work, but the design requires a lot of machine work I can't afford, and no one will finance it because every scientist and engineer out there knows that inertial propulsion is impossible. It's because Newton's third law of motion states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. If you push something up, something else gets pushed down, so in a closed system no net motion can occur."
     "So why do you even try?" asked Luna.
     "When I was eight-years-old I had this experience that changed my life," said Koda, "where I was certain I would do something great like invent anti-gravity. Then about 20 years ago I had this dream where I saw some gold colored balls moving in a circular pattern that was beautiful to watch. I got out of bed and walked across my dark bedroom and suddenly realized I could still see the balls moving in that same pattern, while I was wide awake. I have never experienced a vision like that before, or since, and because it happened about a week after I started wondering how UFOs might operate, I knew that vision was some sort of metaphysical message telling me how to build something that worked like anti-gravity."
     Koda continued talking but Luna wasn't listening. She found herself in complete darkness watching about 6 gold-colored balls the size of basket balls moving in a spiral pattern as they followed each other around in a horizontal circle about 6-feet-wide. As the balls moved counter clockwise in a horizontal circle, they would come up near the center of the circle then move outward over the top, go down on the outside then come back up near the center of the circle again. The balls were moving in spirals as they went around in a circle.
     Luna found herself back in the restaurant with the coffee pot still in her hand.
     "If the balls were moving in a circle really fast," said Koda, "centrifugal force would make it really hard to push those weights down on the outside of the circle. But when the weights are lifted up again they are near the center of horizontal rotation where the centrifugal force would be much less. The means it would require much more force to push the weights down on the outside than to lift them up again on the inside. Since every action has an equal and opposite reaction, when you push down with more force the device has to go up. I win… I think."
     "Can't you build some sort of test device to find out if it will work," asked Luna.
     "I did, sort of," said Koda. "Like I said, it requires a lot of machine work to spin weights around without everything going out of balance and shaking everything apart, so I built something I hoped would be similar enough to work. I made a box-shaped frame with a motor spinning a vertical shaft in the center. Then I mounted 2 wheels vertically on opposite sides of the shaft. The first motor would rotate the wheels horizontally. Then I used two separate motors to spin the wheels vertically. If you painted a dot on the top of the wheels, those dots would move in a spiral pattern around a horizontal circle.
     "I didn't have to make the thing fly to prove it would work, it just had to move in a straight line across the floor. So I put some marbles on the floor to act as ball bearings, turned the box on its side, turned on the motors that spun the wheels, then turned on the main motor."
     Koda paused to create a dramatic effect.
     "Yeah, yeah," snorted Luna. "What happened?"

     "The box moved!" said Koda with sarcastic enthusiasm. "It just sat there wobbling and slowly rotating in place. Total fucking failure."
     "So why do you keep working on it?" asked Luna, finally setting the coffee pot on the counter because her arm was tired.
     "I keep trying to come up with a different way to do it, a different method that would be easier to build and test, but you really need a machine shop to build this sort of thing. If I were floating in space I could test the theory in 2 minutes.
     "Imagine an astronaut inside the space station," he said. "The astronaut is a closed system. If he (or she) is floating there and the astronaut kicks and twists his arms and legs, jerking himself around as much as possible, according to Newton's third law of motion he should be incapable of moving anywhere, but chances are he will drift in one direction or another. If this were not true, any astronaut who happens to find himself out of reach of one of the walls would be stuck there till some other astronaut came over to help him move. Any movement at all is evidence that a closed system can move. Every action still has an equal and opposite reaction, but there would be time delays between the reactions and that might explain why the astronaut can move just a little.
     "But there is a simple test ," he went on, "that will prove whether my main design will actually work or not.
     "The experiment involves two astronauts on the space station. The first holds masses of equal weight in each hand while another astronaut gets him spinning like an ice skater. The spinning astronaut starts out holding the masses directly out to the sides from his shoulders, then he brings them down near his knees in a wide arc. Because the centrifugal force is pulling the mass in his hands outward with a lot of force it is very difficult for the astronaut to push the mass downward. That means the astronaut will be pushed upward, in the direction of his head. Everyone knows that will happen because the center of mass will have moved lower on his body. If he moves his arms back up to shoulder height by reversing the initial movement, he will return to essentially the same place he started.
     "But, here's where the trick happens. After the spinning astronaut quickly pulls his weighted hands down from shoulder height in a wide, sweeping movement, he then raises his hands back up to his shoulders while keeping his hands as close to his body as possible.
     "Because the mass in the hands of the astronaut is closer to the center of rotation when it is moved upward, it experiences less resistance to movement (inertial) then when the mass was moved downward far away from the center of rotation.
     "If I am correct," said Koda, " when the cycle is complete and the hands are once again at the starting point, the astronaut will have moved several inches in the direction of his head. By repeating this process the astronaut should be able to swim through the air to reach the other side of the cabin.
     "It is a very simple experiment to do," says Koda, " and if it works it means it will be possible to take huge payloads into space, and to travel to other planets, using nothing but solar power. If it doesn't work, a couple of astronauts will have wasted 5 minutes of their time — and one of them might get pretty dizzy."

     Luna began laughing much to much to be a response to such a slight bit of humor.
     While Koda was talking about astronauts in space, Luna remembered her dream about the cosmonaut on his way to Mars and she suddenly found herself looking right at him.
     Boris was wearing his french maid outfit while cleaning the spacecraft and doing his laundry when his wife contacted him on the video link. (By 2030 quantum entanglement was being used for faster than light communication so the 20 minute delay in the radio signal wasn't an issue and they could talk in real time.)
     "Nice outfit," said Nadia. "What have you got clipped to your waist?"
     "A couple of urine bags," said Boris. "I was taking them to the recycler and clipped them on when I pulled the laundry out of the washer. The fucking bra is caught on the spindle inside the washer. Damn! I'm stuck again."
     Boris had drifted away from the walls of the spacecraft and couldn't reach anything, so he was just stuck there, floating.
     "See if you can reach the bra," said Nadia.
     One end of the black bra was floating outside of the circular opening of the recessed washing machine, fluttering slightly in the breeze from the air circulation system. Boris stretched out his hand as far as he could but could barely manage to tap the floating bra strap with the tips of his fingers. He finally managed to squeeze the material between his thumb and forefinger and give a little pull, but the material slipped away from him. Still, it was enough of a pull for him to very slowly float toward the washer. When the bra fluttered outward again, he grabbed the free end in his hand and pulled. He moved quickly toward the washer with the bra still in his hand, which hit the start button, and the bra began to spin rapidly. Afraid to let go because he didn't want to be stuck floating in the cabin again, Boris hung on and soon found himself spinning faster and faster.
     "Let go you moron!" yelled Nadia.
     Boris let go but by then he was spinning rapidly in the center of the cabin.
     "This is just fucking great," said Boris, sarcastically. "Now what am I going to do?"
     Nadia laughed and laughed, then she called over the other engineers in the control center and eveyone was practically rolling on the ground. Boris was spinning in the middle of the cabin, swinging his arms and kicking the high heels on his feet, with the spinning causing his french made outfit to pull far away from his bra-less boobs,
     "Wait. Wait," said Nadia, trying to catch her breath. "I remember reading this book called Crazy Genius years ago. All you have to do is hold those urine bags in your hands while doing the breast stroke and you should be able to swim to the wall.
     Boris unclipped the bags, wishing one of them was a gun so he could kill himself.


END of Chapter Six. The following is a letter I sent to CASIS: the Center for Advancement of Science In Space, on 27 December, 2016. It is a US government funded agency which organizes research projects performed at the International Space Station. It is a condensed version of what you just read, and I am hoping they will take the ideas seriously enough to have the test done.


Letter to CASIS

     It is possible for two astronauts on the International Space Station to spend two minutes using two bags of water to test a theory which would dramatically transform the world if it proves valid. I would hope that the potential benefits and simplicity of the experiment will overcome any initial prejudice implying the experiment is certain to fail. Besides, I think it would be entertaining for the astronauts involved :)
     The object of the experiment is to propel a closed system through space using inertial propulsion.
     A closed system does not interact directly with the environment surrounding it. Rocket motors operate by throwing their fuel away in one direction in order to propel the spacecraft in the opposite direction, so they are not a closed system. Newton's third law of motion states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, so if something is pushed upward, something else is pushed downward. This implies that it should be impossible for a closed system to propel itself through space. The first step is to prove that this assumption is incorrect.
     An astronaut floating in microgravity is a closed system. It should be impossible for an astronaut to move inside the Space Station without pushing against the walls or otherwise interacting with his environment. However, if the previously stationary astronaut rapidly twists and turns his body for a few seconds he will begin to drift in one direction. This is PROOF that a closed system CAN propel itself through space.
     The experiment I propose has one astronaut inside the ISS holding a bag of water (or other item with substantial mass) in each of his hands while his arms are extended directly out to the sides from his shoulders. A second astronaut then anchors himself to the cabin and starts the first astronaut spinning. (The second astronaut is not part of the closed system, but the spinning could be achieved inside a closed system using self contained flywheels and motors.)
     The spinning astronaut then pulls the mass in his hands downward in an arc toward his knees. The mass will strongly resist being pushed downward out of the plane of angular momentum, resulting in the astronaut moving a significant distance upward relative to his starting position. He then raises the mass in his hands upward to the level of his shoulders while keeping them as close to his body as possible. Because the mass in the astronauts hands has less inertia (resistance to movement) when being lifted upward near the center of rotation, than it had when the mass was pushed downward while far from the center of rotation, the net result should be a movement upward of the closed system.
     At this point the astronaut again extends his arms and the mass in his hands directly out from his shoulders, then the entire process is repeated. In effect, the astronaut should be able to "swim" through the cabin — a closed system propelling itself through space.
     If this experiment proves the validity of inertial propulsion, satellites could be placed in orbit and spacecraft could reach the outer planets using only solar energy — zero fuel cost. It would transform not only space travel but all forms of transportation.
     I am not an engineer. I am just some guy with a creative imagination who has been working on various inertial propulsion designs part time for roughly 30 years.
     Two astronauts, two bags of water and two minutes that could change the world.
     What do you think?

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