The idea is, if we can modulate the rate at which nuclear reactions take place (Fusion/Fission), can we create and modulate gravitational ripples in space time, more or less in the same was as we do with AM radio?

The thinking being, if we can turn matter into energy, (and apparently now also vice-versa : https://www.forbes.com/sites/paulrodgers/2014/05/19/einstein-was-right-you-can-turn-energy-into-matter/#275f1e4d26ac ) then theoretically we could be bending the gravitational field, essentially creating ripples.



closed as off-topic by Jack, uhoh, kim holder, Nathan Tuggy, Organic Marble Jun 20 '18 at 16:23

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question is about other space sciences (physics, weather, astronomy, etc), and does not directly pertain to space exploration as outlined in the help center." – Jack, uhoh, kim holder, Nathan Tuggy, Organic Marble
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Interesting question! I think this would be a better match for Physics SE $\endgroup$ – Jack Jun 20 '18 at 15:03
  • $\begingroup$ I think the answer is no. If I understand correctly, a charged battery has a larger mass than a discharged battery by exactly Δm = ΔE/c^2. So if you turned nuclear mass (from a reactor) into energy in the form of flowing electricity or light, and then stored it as chemical energy in a battery, the total mass of the system doesn't change. But you should probably ask this in Physics SE instead. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jun 20 '18 at 15:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @uhoh: While this is true, simply moving large mass-equivalents of energy from one end of a large system to another at the speed of electrons could reasonably be expected to cause some gravitational waves. (Almost certainly far too small to be of the slightest use to any detectors we are capable of building now or in the future, but that's for Physics to say for sure.) $\endgroup$ – Nathan Tuggy Jun 20 '18 at 15:36
  • $\begingroup$ @NathanTuggy yep. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jun 20 '18 at 18:08
  • $\begingroup$ Speaking of changing energy into matter, Inverse pair production w/hohlaraum as photon target - is this experiment going to be carried out? might benefit from another answer. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jun 20 '18 at 19:58

No. Reactions of the level of the nuclear energy are roughly in the order of some MeV (megaelectronvolt).

They have zero measured effect to the gravitational field.

An effect is strongly estimated in the order of $10^{19} GeV$. The current record holder, the Large Hadron Collider, can produce around $7000 GeV$ per proton.

The direct gravitational effect of a modulated 1GW nuclear reactor would be roughly the same like a pendulum with an $\frac{10^9}{9\cdot 10^{16}} \approx 10^{-5} g$ mass on the end.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Nuclear reactors are 100's of megawatts or more, so that would be the energy per second that you should convert to mass per second by dividing by c^2. It's still tiny, but without question the rate of change of the mass of the nuclear fuel would be modulated by the power output modulation, and this would make quite minuscule but non-zero gravitational waves. "zero known effect" is probably not a correct statement, though "practically zero" or "probably immeasurable" might work. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jun 20 '18 at 16:27
  • $\begingroup$ @uhoh Right. I think the post wants to know some tricky nuclear-gravitational coupling and not for a purely GR idea. $\endgroup$ – peterh Jun 20 '18 at 18:02
  • $\begingroup$ I think the post is just asking about making mass "go away quickly" by changing it to energy. But a higher level answer is also interesting. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jun 20 '18 at 18:09
  • $\begingroup$ If you are in the mood for more physics, Inverse pair production w/hohlaraum as photon target - is this experiment going to be carried out? might benefit from another answer. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jun 20 '18 at 19:59
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you all! A good starting point. The question was put on hold as it was marked off topic for here with the recommendation to post in PhysicsSE, so I will head over there! $\endgroup$ – Dennison Jun 20 '18 at 21:28

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.