Researchers had recently stepped into something, that they never did and which completely contradicted the idea they had before – behavior of objects when they move in curved space. The study that comprised of a robot which was made to move around a curved space with minimal disturbances acting on it.
Ultimately, the result pushed a foot forward in discovering how to squirl around black holes one day in future.
According to physics, the constant thing that happens when an object or humans or animals move is that they always push against something, either ground, air or water. Like when we walk, we push against air, for example. This is due to the law of conservation momentum, ‘the one’ that comes in Class-11 Physics textbook. The phenomenon states that for two or more bodies in an isolated system acting upon each other, their total momentum remains constant unless an external force is applied, i.e., when no external forces act upon, the momentum is always conserved.
New Physics Principle
In contrast, the new research led by Zeb Rocklin, assistant professor in the School of Physics at Georgia Institute of Technology proposes that when bodies exist in curved spaces, they can move without pushing against something, which means with no external forces, the object can still move.
A robot confined to a spherical surface with unprecedented levels of isolation from its environment, in a way that these curvature-induced effects would predominate was deployed for the study.
“We let our shape-changing object move on the simplest curved space, a sphere, to systematically study the motion in curved space,” said Rocklin. “We learned that the predicted effect, which was so counter-intuitive it was dismissed by some physicists, indeed occurred: as the robot changed its shape, it inched forward around the sphere in a way that could not be attributed to environmental interactions.”
Specialized Robot to study ‘travel around blackholes’
The purpose of the designed robot was to evaluate how an object moved within a curved space.
The system involved a set of motors rotating on curved tracks as moving masses, which is connected to a rotating shaft so that the motors would always move on a sphere.
Air bearings and bushings were also included to minimize the friction and the alignment of the shaft was adjusted with the Earth’s gravity to minimize the residual force of gravity.
When put into action, the forces hybridized with the curvature effects produced a strange dynamic with properties that they couldn’t induce on their own. Means, moving around in a curved space induced dynamic properties for the object, that couldn’t be induced naturally by them.
Around Black holes
The research could be implied to study how could we one day travel around black holes by recreating the same environment the celestial objects exist in, and also study of ‘impossible engine’, as they fundamentally challenge physical laws known so far.
“Its creator claimed that it could move forward without any propellant. That engine was indeed impossible, but because spacetime is very slightly curved, a device could actually move forward without any external forces or emitting a propellant – a novel discovery.”
The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
This discovery may let mankind to play with physics and science to design a machine / object that works without battery / energy source, when modulated under certain circumstances, which is impossible as of now.