Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Robot shows it’s possible to swim through the void of the rotating universe: ScienceAlert

If the astronauts suddenly drifted into the interstellar void, they would have to propel their bodies to safety, kicking and swinging their limbs toward heaven in the void.

Unfortunately for them, the physics is unforgivable, leaving them hopelessly floating around forever. If only the universe had been distorted enough, their defeat would not have been in vain.

Centuries before he left Earth, Isaac Newton briefly explained why things move. Whether it is expelling gas, pushing it into solid ground, or rotating a flipper against a liquid, the speed of action is maintained by the number of elements involved, making the reaction that moves the body. .

Eject the air around the bird’s fins or the water around the fish’s tail, and the effort of each flap will proceed in one direction like the other, causing the poor animal to flap without any net motion to its destination.

At the beginning of the twenty-first century, physicists consider this a loophole for the law. If the three-dimensional space in which this motion occurs is curvilinear, then changes in the shape or position of objects do not necessarily obey the normal laws of the exchange of motion, meaning there is no need for a motive. .

The curvy geometry of spacetime itself can mean the deformation of an object—a right kick, a flutter, or a flutter—you can see only a clean, subtle change in position.

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On the other hand, the idea that the curvature of space-time affects motion is as simple as watching a rock fall to the ground. Einstein discussed this in his theory of general relativity more than a century ago.

But showing how distorted hills and valleys of space can affect the body’s ability to propel itself is another ball game.

To make it work without traveling to the nearest space warp, a team of researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Cornell University, the University of Michigan and the University of Notre Dame created a model of the curved space in the lab.

The mechanical version of their circular chamber consists of a set of motorized blocks that move along a curved rail track. Attached to a rotating arm, the entire setup is positioned so that gravitational pull and frictional resistance are minimal.

A “space” swimmer who moves on a rotating arm trajectory. (Georgian Technology)

While mass doesn’t break with the physics that dominates our rather flat universe, the system is balanced so a twist in the path would have a dramatic effect similar to a space war. Or so the team hoped.

As the robot moves, a combination of gravity, friction and bending is combined into motion with unique properties that are best described by the geometry of space.

“We let our shape-changing object study motion in the simplest curved space, a sphere, systematically curved space,” says Georgia Tech physicist Zip Rocklin.

“We learned that the expected effect, which is so reversed that some physicists have refuted it, has occurred: When the robot changes shape, it moves around the sphere in a way that cannot be attributed to environmental interactions. May go.”

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Even if the effect is small, using experimental results consistent with this theory could help better position the technology in areas where the curvature of the universe is important. Even in gentle regressions such as Earth’s gravity, understanding how restrained motion can alter ultra-fine space over the long term may be even more important.

Of course, physicists went the route without fuel. ‘Impossible Engine’ first. Experiments have their own way of coming and going small imaginary powers, resulting in endless debate about the validity of the theory behind them.

More research using more precise machines could reveal more insights into the complex effects of floating on the faster edges of the universe.

For now, we can only hope that the gentle shield of the void surrounding the hapless astronaut will be enough to get him to safety before the oxygen runs out.

This research was published in PNAS,

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