While still an admittedly remote possibility, the concept of an interstellar mission has become a legitimate topic for scientific discussion as evidenced by several recent NASA activities and programs. One approach is to extrapolate present-day technologies by orders of magnitude; the other is to find new regimes in physics and to search for possible new laws of physics. Recent work on the zero-point field (ZPF), or electromagnetic quantum vacuum, is promising in regard to the latter, especially concerning the possibility that the inertia of matter may, at least in part, be attributed to interaction between the quarks and electrons in matter and the ZPF. A NASA-funded study (independent of the BPP program) of this concept has been underway since 1996 at the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center in Palo Alto and the California State University at Long Beach. We report on a new development resulting from this effort: that for the specific case of the electron, a resonance for the inertia-generating process at the Compton frequency would simultaneously explain both the inertial mass of the electron and the de Broglie wavelength of a moving electron as first measured by Davisson and Germer in 1927. This line of investigation is leading to very suggestive connections between electrodynamics, inertia, gravitation and the wave nature of matter.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.