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Feeling Antigravity's Pull
Can NASA stop the apple from falling on Newton's head?

By Adam Rogers

"Don't call it antigravity research," Ron Koczor pleads. He's a physicist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., and he's talking about a project he's been working on for almost a decade. "Call it 'gravity modification.' 'Gravity anomalies.' Anything but antigravity. That's a red flag."

When people find out that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has researchers working on sci-fi stuff like antigravity—or rather, "gravity modification"—the red flags do indeed start waving. Reputable scientists like Koczor earn polite disdain from colleagues (or worse, from funders of research). But truth's truth: NASA has been studying the manipulation of gravity for at least 10 years, as have nongovernment researchers.
NASA began its work after a Russian physicist named Evgeny Podkletnov published an article in the peer-reviewed journal Physica C in 1992. Podkletnov claimed that a device built around a superconductor and a magnet could shield an object from gravity. The trick, he said, was to make a superconducting disc about a foot in diameter, chill it, levitate it over magnets—a nifty property of superconductors is that they repel magnetic fields—and set it revolving like a compact disc. Podkletnov said an object placed above that contraption lost 0.3 percent of its weight. The object itself didn't change. Rather, gravity's effect on it lessened.
If that effect could be harnessed and strengthened, the aerospace industry would be upended. Vessels bound for space wouldn't have to ride atop massive, barely controlled explosions. All the energy human beings expend moving things around, from cargo to cars, could be reduced or eliminated. And post-Einsteinian physics would have to be rewritten to explain what the hell was going on. Podkletnov called the effect "gravitational force shielding," and even in the absence of a good theory to explain the phenomenon, other researchers took notice. "Because his experiment and results were published in a peer-reviewed, scientific journal, that gave it a level of credibility," Koczor says.
After Podkletnov published his article, it took NASA until 1999 to figure out how to make a large, thin superconducting disc. Ceramic high-temperature superconductors are brittle as cheap china, and the discs kept shattering. Once they solved that problem, NASA paid Columbus, Ohio-based SCI Engineered Materials $650,000 to build the entire apparatus. But Podkletnov had called for a disc with two layers, one superconducting and one not, and SCI didn't solve that engineering challenge until last year. Then they hit another roadblock. The disc wouldn't spin. SCI engineers stuck a rotor through the disc's center to turn it mechanically, but Podkletnov specified 5,000 revolutions per minute. SCI's device barely pulls 30 rpm.
Why not just ask Podkletnov how to build the thing? SCI brought him over to consult a couple of years ago, to little avail. "His excuse basically was that he was a ceramics physicist, not an electrical or mechanical engineer, and other people built the device for him," Koczor says. "Draw your own conclusions. All I know is, if I were a principal investigator on something like this, I would know the size and thread-depth of every screw in the damn thing. But you know, the Europeans and the Russians, they're different. They're much more, 'this is your job and this is my job.' So it's plausible that he didn't know the details." It might not matter. SCI's contract is ending, and Koczor's budget to explore "way-out physics" is spent. He hasn't got the money to actually test the device even if it did meet Podkletnov's specs.
But researchers outside NASA are working on the problem, too. This summer Nick Cook, a writer for Jane's Defence Weekly, reported that aerospace giant Boeing was pursuing antigravity research. Boeing denied it. "We are aware of Podkletnov's work on 'anti-gravity' devices and would be interested in seeing further development work being done," said a company statement. "However, Boeing is not funding any activities in this area at this time." Note Boeing's use of the Clintonian present tense. They never contacted Jane's to ask for a correction, Cook says. Meanwhile, British aerospace company BAE Systems says it's keeping an eye on the research, and that it had once funded its own antigravity project, Greenglow.
Unfortunately, Cook strains his own credibility somewhat. A couple of weeks after his Jane's piece appeared, Cook's book on antigravity research, The Hunt for Zero Point, came out. In it, he claims that the Nazis built an antigravity device during World War II. Its absence from present-day science, Cook says, implies a vast "black" world of secret antigravity aircraft that might explain the UFOs people see over Area 51. He's a careful investigative reporter, but once you start talking about UFOs and Nazi antigravity you're not far from hidden tunnels under the White House full of lizard-men disguised as Freemasons.
Even without Nazis, there are plenty of reasons to doubt Podkletnov. My e-mails to the account listed on his recent articles (not peer-reviewed) went unanswered. Even more problematic, I can't find the institution he lists as his affiliation in Moscow. "Eugene always expressed his worries that others could copy his work, although as far as I know he never applied for a patent," Giovanni Modanese, a collaborator of Podkletnov's at the University of Bolzano in Italy, wrote in an e-mail (using a Western version of Podkletnov's first name). "Nonetheless, at the scientific level if one wants a confirmation by others and a successful replication, one must give all the necessary elements." Well, yeah. Modanese says that the current version of the device, now called an "impulse gravity generator," is simpler and could be built "by a big-science team of people expert in superconductivity." A Boeing spokesperson didn't respond to follow-up questions. So, either there's nothing going on here, or it's an X-File.
And the science? Ten years is a long time to go without replication. Combine that with Podkletnov's cagey behavior and it's enough to make even sci-fi geeks like me lose hope. But like the core of any good conspiracy, antigravity research has the ring of plausibility. One of the outstanding problems in physics and cosmology today involves the existence of so-called dark matter and dark energy. They're by far the main constituents of matter in the universe, and nobody knows what they're made of—researchers have only inferred their existence from gravitational effects. Coming up with a new theory of how gravity works might explain that, though it'd be a scientific revolution on a par with relativity. "Changing gravity is in the cards," says Paul Schechter, an astronomer at MIT. "But so far no one's been able to do better than Einstein." Still, Einstein worked in a lowly patent office. Ron Koczor works for NASA.


Recommended book for further reading:

The Hunt for Zero Point: Inside the Classified World of Antigravity Technology
by Nick Cook

Editorial Reviews
Imagine the power, economic and military, that would fall into the hands of the person who figured out how to bypass the ordinary laws of physics, defy gravity, and travel near the speed of light.

Though it sometimes seems to fall in the realm of science fiction more than pure science, aviation-technology journalist Nick Cook's intriguing tale involves the long quest to develop antigravity vehicles and the sometimes eccentric characters who have played a part in it: Nazi rocket engineers, backyard inventors, NASA scientists, conspiracy theorists, and UFO watchers among them. The last group figures, Cook explains, because the ideal craft for "electrogravitic reaction" would take the form of a disc, a design consideration seen in the shape of current stealth aircraft. It could just be, the author suggests, that what witnesses have taken to be flying saucers might instead be antigravity-aircraft prototypes, though he cautions that "the subject is too complex ... to conform to a single explanation."

And therein hangs a good part of this always interesting, if admittedly speculative, story, which, regardless of the truth of the matter (or, perhaps, antimatter), will appeal to techies and Trekkies alike. --Gregory McNamee

From Publishers Weekly
For the last 15 years, Cook has been an aviation reporter and editor at Jane's Defence Weekly, a defense industry trade journal that one would expect to find Cheney and Rumsfeld discussing on the way to the briefing room. A full-length project from a high-ranking Jane's editor creates a certain confidence in the contents, yet, as Cook makes clear, most of what's in this book won't be found in Jane's, as the evidence for "zero point energy" is less concrete, even if just as scrupulously sourced here. The book begins when Cook jokingly calls the possibility of antigravity drives "the ultimate quantum leap in aircraft design" in one of his Jane's pieces more than 10 years ago. A few years later, someone anonymously slips him an article, dating to the 1950s, that shows officials at Lockheed Martin and other big contractors claiming they were close to exactly that. Intrigued, Cook takes the bait and follows the trail to the wildest territory imaginable: destroyed or pulled reports; disappearing battleships; silent, glowing flying discs; time distortion; Nazi slave labor. To simplify in the extreme: Cook has found evidence that Nazi scientists had tapped into zero point energy the quantum energy that possibly exists within vacuums in amounts that make nuclear energy look like a joke (enough energy in the space of a coffee cup, Cook explains, to boil the world's oceans six times over). When WWII ended, Nazi secrets were plundered by the U.S. Army, which spirited them, along with many of the German scientists themselves, into "black" programs not acknowledged by the government and which may have produced working aerospace technology based on zero point. Through his cover as a Jane's reporter, Cook seeks out the stealthy wonks of this top-secret world, but readers will have to wade through some opaque thumbnail descriptions of the science and arcane WWII history to understand what he and others are getting at. It is well worth it.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist
Cook's position as aviation editor at Jane's Defence Weekly, a military-affairs journal, and his determinedly skeptical approach to his subject give his investigation of antigravity technology credence. Research by the Nazis, and then by the Americans and Canadians, found that the ideal shape for an antigravity vehicle is a perfect disk, making antigravity tests a possible explanation for the numerous UFO sightings reported in the last 50 years. Cook's curiosity about antigravity was piqued by a popular science article from the late 1950s. If a "zero point" of gravity actually exists and can be reproduced, that means it's possible to harness gravity, which would give nations the ability to build military planes of unlimited speed. The theory has long been dismissed, but Cook spoke to engineers, some mainstream types at NASA, others evidently on the scientific fringe, who think antigravity is not a crackpot idea. Cook's sleuthing is intriguing, diligent, and indefinite. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright American Library Association. All rights reserved

Book Description
This riveting work of investigative reporting and history exposes classified government projects to build gravity-defying aircraft--which have an uncanny resemblance to flying saucers.

The atomic bomb was not the only project to occupy government scientists in the 1940s. Antigravity technology, originally spearheaded by scientists in Nazi Germany, was another high priority, one that still may be in effect today. Now for the first time, a reporter with an unprecedented access to key sources in the intelligence and military communities reveals suppressed evidence that tells the story of a quest for a discovery that could prove as powerful as the A-bomb.

The Hunt for Zero Point explores the scientific speculation that a "zero point" of gravity exists in the universe and can be replicated here on Earth. The pressure to be the first nation to harness gravity is immense, as it means having the ability to build military planes of unlimited speed and range, along with the most deadly weaponry the world has ever seen. The ideal shape for a gravity-defying vehicle happens to be a perfect disk, making antigravity tests a possible explanation for the numerous UFO sightings of the past 50 years.

Chronicling the origins of antigravity research in the world's most advanced research facility, which was operated by the Third Reich during World War II, The Hunt for Zero Point traces U.S. involvement in the project, beginning with the recruitment of former Nazi scientists after the war. Drawn from interviews with those involved with the research and who visited labs in Europe and the United States, The Hunt for Zero Point journeys to the heart of the twentieth century's most puzzling unexplained phenomena.

About the Author
For more than a decade, NICK COOK has served as aviation editor of Jane's Defense Weekly, the world's leading military-affairs journal. His articles have also appeared in newspapers worldwide. He lives in London.


Reviewer: Verne Robinson

Is this "stuff" real? Absolutely. What is it? No one has a clue. But this excellent journalistic journey by Nick Cook deserves high marks and much praise.

Author "smarter than he lets on" Nick Cook deliberately goes over the head/under the radar of the average reader. The author lays out the irrefutable facts about secret Nazi technology that was kept hidden from the public. German Luftwaffe Secret Technology was, for example, far more advanced with nuclear reactors used for enriching uranium than is commonly known. And US intelligence groups shipped thousands of tons of it home in 1945, as did the Russians. It included countless patents, "weird science stuff" but also the Nazi scientists/engineers who had fathered it; even ones who should have gone to trial as war criminals.

If Germany produced better scientists it was because they were not restrained by the narrow, dogmatic way math & engineering are taught in the USA. Germany simply produced better scientist who were not blinded by existing theories. For example--Werner Von Braun was developing an intercontinental version of his V2 (the A10) that could bomb New York City. Contrast this with America's ...Robert Goddard whose rocket failures blew up all the time. It demonstrates a powerful point of this book; America has not produced a vision of science that understands how to deal with this "weird stuff." As Cook says there are two types of science; the stuff you learn in school and then all this "weird stuff".

America cultivated a deadly cold war science/technology hidden from the public with top-secret "black" projects. These "black" programs have become a vast system that cleans up evidence even if it means eliminating people. The public has no way of knowing what has been developed. Not only are we in the dark, but also "they" actively create disinformation, UFOs/Philadelphia Experiment, etc. to silence people. No one knowledgeable about these black projects could leak information about them and live.

The point is that we don't know what to do with zero-point energy. We split the atom and immediately made it a weapon, then dropped two devices on Japanese civilians to impress Stalin. Next we employed it in nuclear submarines to carry nuclear bombs all over the planet and further threaten the Soviets.

Physicists say zero-point energy makes nuclear energy look like "a child's firecracker", so playing around with zero-point could create a planetary nightmare. Debating whether or not some black project has developed anti-gravity drive is simply asking the wrong question. Nick Cook elicits the right questions and he showed me where to look to see this very obvious "black hole" in our science.

Review #2

A fringe of researchers (and their readers) have been aware of the existence of the types of secretive projects Cook outlines in this book for a while now. However, it is unique that an editor of Jane's Defense Weekly is now owning up to the fact that for the past decade, he has been deeply and personally involved in this field of research, and is indeed a "believer." You probably will be too, after reading this book.

It turns out that the Nazi's had some success tapping into the Zero Point Energy Field, and were well on the way to building a completely new type of antigravity aircraft/infinite power supply/super weapon. At the end of WWII, the Soviets and Americans managed to scoop up not only the scientists involved in this research (many of whom were blatant Nazi sympathizers), but also the devices they had been developing. These technologies have since gone "deep black," that is to say, have been buried in the deepest recesses of the military industrial complex and intelligence apparatus. But it seems that this whole underworld may have become contaminated by the Nazi thought-virus, and even to this day shares, to some degree, the ideology and methodology of the Nazi Secret Service. This is a theme that Cook brings up, but does not fully delve into. It is clear that he is literally frightened by some of the truths he managed to uncover in his decade-long quest for knowledge.

Cook avoids tying his research to the UFO phenomenon, which is both good and bad. Good, in that it will probably allow the book to appeal to a much wider audience, and will allow the book a greater degree of credibility. Bad, in that tying these two strands of research together, in an intelligent manner, will most probably yield some truly incredible pieces of information that, as cliche as it sounds, may change our civilization forever. Cook does seem to acknowledge the reality of the UFO situation in the epilogue, however, and it seems safe to assume that this is an area of research he has looked into and found to be a valid, if misunderstood, phenomenon.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. While it is certain to stretch the imagination of many people, it will also go a long way to validating this field of inquiry. Hopefully, this will allow more reasonable and intelligent investigative journalists to enter into the fold. Who knows what they will find there...


The Hunt for Zero Point
Author searches for origins of anti-gravity research

by Nick Cook

Book Review of "The Hunt for Zero Point" by Nick Cook, Published by Century

A decade ago, the Editor of Jane's Defence Weekly Aerospace, Nick Cook, arrived back at his desk from lunch to find a grainy, photo-copied article from 1956 lying by his word processor.

Headlined, "The G-Engines are Coming", the article-featuring a futuristic, illustration of a wingless aircraft and peppered with quotes from heavyweight US aerospace gurus -- claims that the era of anti-gravity flying machines was not far off. The concept of anti-gravity goes against all the accepted theories of
Physics, including those of Einstein.

Cook was intrigued but, for a journalist with one of the world's most
respected factual publications, dabbling in what appeared to be SC-if was not exactly a great career move.
But, as he explains, "Here were quotes from the leading engineers of the
time, working for the leading aircraft builders. It was amazing that they all concurred. These American aircraft manufacturers would not spend millions of dollars on science fiction."

More revealing was not what other publications went on to say--Cook
researched high and low-- but what they didn't say. It was almost as if the idea of anti-gravity---- technology which would cancel out the weight of an object or be transformed into engines capable from producing energy from "nothing"---- had never been mentioned.

What unfolded for Nick Cook, however, and what he reveals in "The Hunt for Zero Point" was a 10 year intercontinental search for the
truth. A work of investigative journalism, his book reads like a thriller.

"There were times when I thought I was a little crazy, so I had to keep
reminding myself of the facts."
And at every turn, every dead-end, something, --- or someone --- would
appear and lead him back on the trail.
The most startling finding surrounded the origins of anti-gravity research
in Nazi Germany.

As the Reich crumbled towards the end of the war, the Nazis stepped up
their search for the ultimate weapon.
"This was not, as everyone imagined, the holy grail of the nuclear bomb ---
although research into this was ongoing ---- but something even more
outlandish, the search for an anti-gravity machine.

"The great irony was, because Einstein was a Jew, the Nazis would not
adhere to the Einstein theories."
"It was 'Jewish Science', and it was avoidance of this that set them off on

Deep in the Polish countryside, in about the remotest place you could find in Europe, Cook visited miles of underground installations, built by the
Nazis to protect their scientists working on "The Bell", a flying-saucer-like craft that harnessed Zero Point energy: matter leading
to the unleashing of anti-gravity.
It was, he says , as if time had stood still. It was like being transported
back into 1944."

As the Allies combed Germany and the occupied countries --- searching for
any technology left in the wake of the retreating Nazis --- they discovered
all manner of advances which were spirited back to the USA. These, in no small measure, lead to America's economic ascendancy in the
post-war world.

"Along with this technology went maybe thousands of Nazi scientists ---
under huge secrecy to continue Nazi projects in the US." It is evident, too, that the Nazis' methods of concealment were transferred along with the scientists and the science, creating a "black world" of American technology research which Cook found virtually impossible to penetrate.

In 1956, leading technologists claimed anti-gravity was not far away, then
they fell strangely silent. In the '60s and '70s, arts of the US fell prey to UFO fever. But were they UFOs or anti-gravity craft, the UFO myth propagated to hide the truth?

In the '80s came the Stealth bomber, a quantum leap in aircraft design. And in 2001, Nick Cook's book has been met with a huge response from contacts throughout the US aero-space industry. One contact, an engineer for a major US aircraft manufacturer, e-mailed him to say that he'd seen just such a UFO, as he left the office one day --- flying out of the air force base adjacent to his plant.

As Nick Cook says: "he ought to be able to tell the difference." END.

Review by Mike Orton, CPhys., MInstP.,DCT(Batt)., MSRP., PGCE(Wales) 40 years in computing from Stretch to the networked Pentium, 35 years as a Health Physicist.
I.T. Training, & I.T. Security Consultant

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Last updated : Monday, November 18, 2002 0:42 AM