The topic of “gravity modification" elicits both skepticism and disbelief.
Inappropriately confused with science fiction, the subject has been
intensely studied for years both by NASA and the European Space Agency
(ESA). Now, a three-year study and its follow-up indicate that the artificial
generation of local gravity effects is possible. The resultant ability to modify
gravity locally might lead to microgravity or zero-G applications on Earth,
as mentioned in a 2006 cover story for New Scientist magazine (Nov 11-17).
Formation of this study group has been recommended to the University
of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs’ Center for
Science, Technology, and Public Policy to initiate early discussions on how
gravity modification might positively benefit the economy and technological
leadership of Minnesota. Participants in these exchanges should understand
that the discussion points and projections of future applications within this
document currently rest upon a single set of research results from grants
funded by ESA and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. If the results
are confirmed and further refined then the projections will necessarily change
focus and scope.
At least two other physics labs are currently attempting to replicate the ESA
results. If independent confirmation of the above research results is found
to be lacking then these study group exchanges should be tabled. If
confirmation is suitably convincing then these exchanges should be expanded
and the workings of this study group formalized. However, waiting until
confirmation of results are universally accepted puts economic development
opportunities in Minnesota at a distinct disadvantage.
Therefore two questions must be asked and answered early in the process
of establishing these exchanges: 1) how to identify when promising research
becomes institutionally acceptable, and; 2) how to restrain criticism of formative
ideas until they can reach maturity.
The State of California found early public support of nanotechnology research
and private partnerships not only drew talent to the state but also positioned it
as a leader in the field. According to nanotech publication Small Times, California
took the lead not only in their overall research category, but also in three out of
their four micro- and nanotech-specific measures.
Similarly, early discussions of the benefits and policy outcomes for gravity
modification research will give Minnesota an opportunity to position itself as a
leader in what has been described as “the basis for a new technological domain"
with significant implications for transportation, architecture, urban planning and
statewide economic development.
©2008 Gregory Daigle