In space, artificial gravity can be practically achieved by spinning a spacecraft or space station. The rotational motion produced as a result of spinning generates a force known as the centrifugal force and this can be used to simulate gravity in space; and creating an artificial gravity on Earth, although maybe possibly achieved, remains just a theory. However, a physicist André Füzfa of Namur University in Belgium has just proposed that artificial gravity can be created, controlled and detected at will using superconducting electromagnets.
At present condition, Füzfa and his team could only observe and study existing gravitational fields produced by large inertial masses, such as stars or the Earth, and they could do nothing to manipulate them even with the magnetic fields used. Füzfa expressed his frustration at this passive studies of gravitational fields and his frustration led him to come up with a revolutionary approach in which gravitational fields can be created at will from well-controlled magnetic fields and observed how these magnetic fields could bend space-time, according to news release.
In the paper titled, How Current Loops and Solenoids Curve Space-time, Füzfa has proposed, with supporting mathematical proof, that gravitational fields can be created using superconducting electromagnets. To achieve so, Füzfa and his team employed a device that is based on superconducting electromagnets – like the technologies in which European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) or the ITER reactor periodically rely on – for their experiment.
“We finally propose an experimental setup, achievable with current technology of superconducting coils, that produces a phase shift of light of the same order of magnitude than astrophysical signals in ground-based gravitational wave observatories,” said Fuzfa in his paper. For space travel to other planets, gravity is a must. And as noted above, making artificial gravity in space sorely relies on rotational motion of the large spacecraft or space station. With Füzfa’s experiment, it may be possible to create artificial gravity in a much smaller space, reducing the cost of spacecraft carrying humans destined for other planets.
Moreover, Füzfa notes that if his experiment turns out to be successful, it would transform physics and put Einstein’s theory of general relativity to an ultimate challenge. Also, a successful experiment could open up many new applications in the future and it would eventually revolutionize advancements in telecommunications.
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