The invention of the gravity drive was a turning point in human history. Before the development of the Katabatic Process, by IRAKi researchers under the permanently absent/stoned supervision of Milus Blondel, humans, and the tiny planet they were stuck on were locked into a technological dead-end (see Rocket Science). Space travel was limited to mainly un-manned vehicles which were tediously slow, fragile assemblages of tinfoil and recycled aluminium, pottering about in the local system on one-way journeys. This was about as useful as crawling around in a swamp in the dark with one hand tied behind your back while getting stuttered navigational instructions from a blindfolded committee. Without gravity propulsion humankind was doomed.
Like almost all IRAKi technology, the initial research was based on a phenomena that had been taken for granted for so long that no-one had ever thought to investigate it further. Everyone knew that children who don't want to be picked up are able to make themselves heavier - two-year-olds doubly so - but until the over-confident bunch of rejects and reprobates who formed the core 'scientists' for IRAK were given the task of explaining the screamingly obvious, no-one had any idea why it happened. It's important to understand that the 'invention' of Matter transmission had made everyone at IRAK so insufferably cock-sure of themselves that they thought they were capable of cracking the biggest long-term problem there was. While we can all be glad that they did crack it, we really would have preferred it if someone less annoying had got there first.
A key moment was when they (probably accidentally) discovered the LaGrange Rejection Phenomena, a sub-atomic modification of spacetime that could be initiated and controlled by managing the boson spin synchronisation within atoms using the same technology that the EMTI employs, ie Randomly Synchronised Spin. As Milus Blondel was often fond of saying; it's all in the spin.
At the heart of the gravity drive are two simple principals;
- Creating a co-proximal spacetime curvature anomaly, with the lowest vacuum pressure density located on one side of an object, creates an attractive force in modified spacetime.
- Creating a co-proximal spacetime curvature anomaly, with the highest vacuum pressure density located on the opposite side of the same object, creates a repulsion force in modified spacetime.
For obvious reasons this is called the Volfson force.
This process requires an eye-wateringly large amount of energy but fortunately the principle of Decoupled Momentum had recently been discovered so industrial-strength 'Noles'® which could deliver virtually unlimited power could be integrated in the spin synchronisers at molecular level.
The other reactant required to make gravity drives effective is, of course, mass. The greater the mass, the stronger the repulsive and attractive forces. Something planet-sized is a decent starting point, but there's nothing like a good-sized sun to really get things moving. It is important, however, to fail to collide with the attractant masses so all gravity drives are capable of cycling between high and low vacuum pressure density for manoeuvring purposes.
Gravity manipulation has many uses onSlab. Slab's leading face has a projected gravnet that collects all available mass within a million kilometre radius, the tubes run by a peristaltic katabatic process and all of the buildings in Seacombe and The Spin use anti-gravity to stay aloft and have local gravity generators to define or enhance local downs. UpSide and SideUp obviously rely on opposing downs and all the Big Yin bugs use low power gravity drives. Sis-controlled trauma-prevention gravity cushions are also ubiquitous.
We would all be both figuratively and literally lost without our ability to control gravity and Slab would be an infinitely more boring place.
Footnotes and references
- which didn't prevent him from claiming the credit
- and smugly rich
- however, in the case of gravity manipulation, there is nothing random about it
- again, the luck of these people was unbelievable