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US investigation into gravity weapons 'nonsense'
If you think the idea of gravitational waves propelling interplanetary spacecraft sounds like science fiction, you're in good company – any astrophysicist will rubbish the idea out of hand.
However, that didn't stop the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) from commissioning a report to investigate whether the elusive waves could pose a threat to US security.
The JASON Defense Advisory Group were also asked to judge whether high-frequency gravitational waves could image the centre of the Earth, or be used for telecommunications….
Physicists striving to actually detect gravitational waves expressed surprise that a committee needed a 40-page report to come to that conclusion.
David Shoemaker, from MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a member of the LIGO project to detect gravitational waves, agrees that a quick phone call to a physicist may have been sufficient.
But he quips that given the US defence establishment's history of funding bad science, over-long reports that rubbish such ideas at an early stage may not be a bad thing.
“The Department of Defense always have a few projects on the go that disobey the rules of thermodynamics, so I wish they would commission this kind of in-depth study in more cases.”
In the mid-1990s and early 2000s the Pentagon spent millions of dollars on developing a quasi-nuclear weapon called the hafnium bomb that was actually based on junk science. When put into that context, perhaps the money spent on a report that prevents similar spending on gravitational wave weapons was actually a good investment.