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Not aerial cinematography.
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[Disclaimer] This post is lengthy. If you are not in for a good long chew, you might want to just skip this one. [Disclaimer]

A spinning gyroscope’s axis resists being tilted and as a result the gyroscope seems to defy gravity. The weight of it doesn’t seem to matter, in fact the more it weighs, and the farther that weight is from the centre of rotation, the better it works.
While it spins it holds its own weight from falling until the forces of mechanical friction, and drag slow it down. [link #2]
But, what about in a vacuum?
If a gyroscope is contained within in a vacuum the force of drag is eliminated leaving only mechanical friction from its axis, but if a magnetic ball socket or bearing is used for the axis, most of this drag could be done away with as well.

Picture the gyroscope as a hollow spinning globe instead of a disk, and this sphere is housed within another static, (unmoving) sphere. Both contain a vacuum.
If the shape of the two spheres are of a geodesic design and each of their triangular facets are magnetic with the same polarity opposing the inner and outer surfaces, the inner sphere will hover inside the outer, on a magnetic cushion.
Now visualize the facets on outer surface of the inner sphere, and the inner surface of the outer sphere, as being “dimpled” like a golf ball and 100% reflective. I don’t think anyone has managed to make a material that is 100% reflective yet, but close enough for the purpose I have in mind. A single one of these facets on the outer sphere will be a one way mirror which is only reflective on its interior.

If a (non heat) Laser beam was fired through the one way mirror at a tangent to the desired direction of spin, and if all of the mirrored facets on the inner and outer surfaces are aligned at just the right angle, the laser beam will be bounced from one mirror to another until it has made its way around the entire sphere and back to the initial one way mirror where it will lose some of its power, depending on how reflective that facet is, and then start back around the sphere.
This will have the effect of pushing the inner sphere in the direction of the initial beam in the same way that photons from the Sun or from a laser on the planet will push against a reflective solar sail in space. Link #3]
Because the sail is in the vacuum space, speeds just shy of the speed of light can eventually be reached, and I think that the same will be true of this gyro-sphere in a man made vacuum as well.

Ok, here is where it gets a little bit harder to put into words, bear with me.
Instead of one sphere, picture six of them, one inside of another. The innermost and outermost spheres remain static, and contain a vacuum between them. They also provide the magnetic axis upon which the inner four spin.
Each of these inner four spheres rotates along a different plane, thereby incorporating all of the forces of inertia.
The same single laser beam propulsion system as the original gyro-sphere, (housed within the innermost sphere), will accelerate all four spheres, though now each of the four has a single transparent facet, (the last in the series to be touched by the beam), in addition to the reflective dimples, whose refraction bends the beam in order to push the next sphere in a different direction than its predecessor.

This is where the physics start to get a bit sketchy.
I have read that the escape velocity to leave a planet with the Earths mass is seven miles per second, but this is a linear speed and I doubt if that speed would remain the same for a spinning object due to the conservation of angular momentum, I do think though, that with four planes of rotation spinning fast enough (near light-speed), this gyro-quadrasphere will resist being tilted in any direction; any direction at all, not only the tilt that will be caused by the rotation of the Earth, but also the Earths path within the solar system, the system within the galaxy, maybe even beyond. I don’t know what would be considered stationary in an expanding universe.

I am neither a physicist nor a mathematician so I could be wrong in this assumption, though I have read an article about a group of Japanese scientists spinning a gyroscope fast enough that, when it attained top speed, it weighed some fraction of an ounce less that when the gyroscope was at rest, (you have no idea how long I’ve looked through several years worth of Scientific American, and Discover, Popular Science, and yes even a few Omni magazines to find that article with no success, if anyone knows anything about the experiment I’m talking about, I would greatly appreciate a link)
Even if this is a faulty assumption, if you have all four spheres spinning simultaneously and you rapidly decelerate only one sphere, this should produce movement in a straight line in the vacuum of space due to the sudden absence of one force of inertia.
Think of a machine which does nothing but spin incredibly heavy fly wheels set at different tilts. The machine is calibrated to remain stationary while they all spin at top speed, but the contraption itself rests on casters and can move in any direction if pushed. Now suddenly stop just one of these flywheels, and stand back as it punches out the wall of your workshop that a moment ago was in its way. [Link #4]

[Entering the gyro-quadrasphere, without slowing it down, and without breaking the vacuum]:

The laser will need to be disengaged, and the coherent light either dumped, stored, or turned into electrical energy while entering or leaving the sphere.
The facets along both sides of each spinning sphere’s equator will retract and these splits in the spheres will align, creating holes on opposite sides. An air lock connecting the inner sphere to the outer can then be extended through this alignment, creating two potential entrances.

[System losses]:

The gyrosphere will not attain a spin equal to that of light due to imperfections in its materials, (and quite possibly in my reasoning).
The mirrored surfaces will only be ninety nine point something percent reflective so the laser will lose some power on each circuit, I also believe that it will begin to lose coherency and will have to be dumped periodically.
As well, there is supposedly no such thing as a perfect vacuum. Particles pop into and out of existence within a vacuum, (quantum physics, go figure), and these particles will create drag which will also slow the spheres. There is magnetic drag to contend with too.
Another factor will be aligning the dimples so as to keep the beam of the laser exactly on its course, the spheres will wobble slightly and even if the magnetic fields remain perfectly uniform there will still be a vibration of sorts, this will need to be compensated for.
I know we are all tired of hearing about Piezo electric gizmos, but if each of the reflective facets were controlled in this manner and could find their own sweet spot, (the tilt which would reorient the laser to the optimum angle), then any wobble can be accounted for many thousands of times per second.

[Attaining the speed of light]:

I don’t have the required knowledge to determine how long it would take to get the Gyrosphere up to full speed. I imagine it would take several years and with the flaws in its system, the percentage of the speed of light attainable will probably be somewhere in the low, to mid, nineties, I’m guessing.
This could be increased without additional propulsion using geometry.

Each of the spheres which are in motion will need to be constructed somewhat like an Hoberman Sphere. [Link #5]
Where the sides of each triangular facet meets the next, picture them as being connected by what looks like a baby gate on sliders. If the sides of every facet are joined in this manner, and any two points on the sphere are drawn apart from one another, the sphere will expand as a whole. Conversely it can also shrink.

If the spheres are fully expanded when top speed is reached, powerful electro-magnets in the outer shell can squeeze the spinning spheres and their rate of rotation will increase in the same way that a figure skater spins faster as her arms are brought in closer to her center. I believe that this will allow the rotation of the spheres to reach the speed of light, overcoming the previously mentioned restrictions.

I don’t know what the relativistic effects of this would be, but if the size of the globes were compressed enough would they not then spin faster than light? If so, would they not travel backwards in time?

Gyrosphere sketch http://s68.photobuc...nt%3DRandysScan.jpg
For benlevi7, and anyone else who wants to see the straw-grasping of an uneducated mind. Click on image to enlarge. [2 fries shy of a happy meal, Oct 05 2004, last modified Mar 28 2012]

Gyroscope math http://www.gyro-scope.co.uk/
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Solar sail links http://www.kp.dlr.de/solarsail/
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Gyroscopic inertial propulsion http://jnaudin.free.fr/html/IPEmain.htm
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Oct 05 2004, last modified Mar 28 2012]

Hoberman spere http://en.wikipedia...iki/Hoberman_sphere
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Oct 05 2004, last modified Mar 28 2012]

Memories http://www.aps.org/WN/WN90/wn010590.html
See #4. [Shz, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Myung Power Energy http://www.ibintl.com/myungpower2_en.htm
Better spin it to the right (whichever direction that is)... “The relationship between mass and rotating directions has also been demonstrated by Dr.Hayasaka Hideo and his team at Tohoku University in Japan. According to his report, a gyroscope rotating in a right-hand direction weighs less, and the amount of weight decrease is proportioned to the speed of rotation. The amount of rotation of left-hand particles(protons and neutrons) constituting the gyroscope were relatively reduced by the fast rotation of the gyroscope in the right-hand direction, at a speed of about 10,000 rotations per minute. It is thought that this resulted in weight decrease. On the other hand, the gyroscope rotating in the right-hand direction resulted in no change of weight.” [Shz, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Tachyons http://math.ucr.edu...clear/tachyons.html
For 2 fries. If they exist, they have imaginary mass (meaning the square of their mass is negative). [Worldgineer, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Not quite [Huw2]'s link, http://www.rexresea...aithwat/laithw1.htm
but close [2 fries shy of a happy meal, Dec 06 2004, last modified Mar 28 2012]

Getting closer. Kelly Tippett's take on it. http://www.youtube....watch?v=7Lka6d6DDBs
Awesome conceptual video of gyroscopic propulsion proposal. [2 fries shy of a happy meal, Apr 27 2009, last modified Mar 28 2012]

Shz's Myung [link] replaced as best as I could find. http://earthtech.or.../papers/p2701_1.pdf
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Mar 28 2012]


       My refutations may be utter claptrap, since I have only a basic understanding of the physics to which you allude, but here goes:   

       The resistance of a spinning gyroscope is not to movement, but to rotation of the axis. If the gyroscope is spinning on the X-axis, and you apply a turning force around the Y-axis, that force will manifest itself around the Z-axis.   

       <digression>Once upon a time at university, our lecturer was explaining the physics of the gyroscope, and after showing us the aforementioned XYZ effect, asked rhetorically, "how does this happen?" To which one wag replied, "It's magic! He's a witch! BURN HIM!"</digression>   

       You can move the gyro around as much as you like, as long as you keep the axis pointed in the same direction, and it won't affect the gyro. Conversely, twisting the gryo around won't cause it to move sideways.   

       As for spinning it up to lightspeed, you can't - according to our friend Albert Einstein, the faster a thing goes, the more massive it becomes, and thus the harder to accelerate further, until a just below c, when it's mass is effectively just a sliver less than infinite.
friendlyfire, May 10 2003

       Will you have a problem with heat? The light-powered spheres will retain heat, and friction makes it worse. They’ll deform, flatten at the middle, and I’ll have to step out of the room before these puppies make contact. I’m completely baffled at how you pressurized the inner sphere without affecting the outer ones, but I baffle easily in these situations.

Could you use more traditional gyroscopes instead – or even separate spheres -- and position them in pairs or in geometric formations? It’s not as compact this way, but then they wouldn’t interfere with each other. They could then all be of equal mass, which you probably need for this to work.

[friendlyfire], if this device maintains its attitude (which is what it's theoretically supposed to do), it leaves the earth's rotation & orbit and continues to move in a straight line. But unless you "crash engage" it, so it flings itself into space, I think this thing will just fall back to the ground.
Amos Kito, May 10 2003

FloridaManatee, May 10 2003

       //I would greatly appreciate a link//   

       <link> (Wish I could find the original.)
Shz, May 10 2003

       How will you drive all consecutive spheres with laser energy if #2's surface (first inner sphere) is so purely reflective? It seems also that you are limited to laser braking. In this case deceleration of any sphere will take as long as accelerating it to top speeds. //Several years//? Well a long time anyway. Don't forget that magnetic forces are weak forces so while this governs your spheres' frictionless, precision mechanics, it would fail to provide you any directional force from braking a sphere's momentum. I think you'll find plain ionic propulsion more efficient. Unfortunately you must already be in zero gravity to utilize it.   

       All said and not said, croissant for your bold imagination!   

       *Forgive me for missing the part where holes open up in a sphere to allow for laser propulsion. I read only the gist of this idea at first. Just remember that any motion of pinholes opening or closing will affect a sphere's momentum. Likewise, any expansion of hoberman like spheres once top speed is reached will negate your top speed...
Tiger Lily, May 11 2003

       for some reason I can't even get a clear picture of what [2 fries shy of a happy meal] was talking about. Do you perchance have a completed idea picture?
benlevi7, May 11 2003

       [cheezynachos] What material?
When I saw the movie Contact I couldn't help but think about how close they got to my idea. By the way, I wouldn't be standing beside this thing, but in it.

[Tiger lily] There will be no pinholes opening up in the spheres. Both halves would actually separate along their shared equator and spin independently of one another. These splits line up on two sides of the gyrosphere, and an airlock can be slid through.
The Spheres will be at their maximum size until they reach top speed. The Hoberman effect is only to shrink them once they attain it.

[kwailo78] You may be right about the strength of material needed, but I think that it would be the strength of the magnetic containment of the outer sphere which will be really important, that and the magnetic fields between the spheres.

[benlevi7] I've got it sketched but I don't have a scanner. I'll try to swing by the office depot tomorrow. It was very hard to put into words, the drawings definitely help.

[Shz] Thanx for the links.

       Yeah, the mass increase thing, have you thought about that? I mean, really thought about it? Have you run any of these numbers?   

       As you approach the speed of light, m=m0/(sqrt(1-(v/c)^2)). The limit as v goes to c of m is positive infinity. It's been said in words, but you should have the formula.   

       Now, the force you need to hold a piece of this spehere in, any given section, is F=m*v^2/r. So what you're saying is that you want to bring m close to infinity and you want to bring v close to c. This is very bad.   

       Suppose you bring this thing up to a speed of, oh, 0.5c. That's pretty fast. Say a panel weighs only 0.01 kg. It doesn't really matter, as you'll see, but that gives you the advantage. Light materials, which makes sense if you want to accelerate it quickly with light, right? We'll make r big to give you the advantage too, and you'll want to bring lots of passengers, and your towel. r = 10000m, good? m0 = .01, so m = 0.0116. 0.5c doesn't increase the mass much. Now F=m*v^2/r. so F=2.6*10^12 N. Uh-oh. To hold that panel on, you're going to need some way to resist the force that the weight of 26 billion kilograms of material would exert on Earth.   

       That's just at 0.5c. Run the number at 0.9c and you get ten times that.   

       You really have to check your assumptions with numbers. I thought the mass thing would matter more, but when I looked at the formulae the F varied as v^2, so clearly the thing was going to blow apart long before it achieved relativistic speeds.   

       Something else someone mentioned is that you can't just stop one sphere faster than you started it. There are a lot of ideas that sound good, but there's one line in there where on says something that sounds easy, but needs to be thought out more. There are a lot of proofs that 1=2 where you divide by 0. It's easy to find this step. It's oftent he place where you say "voila." "Then you STOP one...." You see?   

       Oh, and by the way, one more thing. You're keeping these spheres apart with magnets? You're going to have to deal with a whole range of issues that come out of spinning magnets, moving them back and forth, and the spheres magnetizing the outer hull, possibly inducing currents all through the ship. The frequencies of those currents will change as the thing accelerates... you have a lot to worry about before you talk about friction from virtual particles. Basic physics and math. Half-baked is about other people filling in the holes, but when you've got the germ of an idea but you have a weight of 26 billion kilograms to hold, you have to do the early footwork yourself.
AllenChristopher, May 12 2003

       This write-up is based on erroneous understandings of linear and angular momentum, mechanics, magnetism, geodesic geometry, relativity, strength of materials, quantum mechanics, optics, and probably lots of other stuff. Good work!
pluterday, May 12 2003

       I keep expecting a certain passage from Ezekiel to crop in sometime.   

       [FM] seconded. May I be excused? My brain is full.
RayfordSteele, May 12 2003

       Oops, I think I missed the part about you, [2 fries shy of a happy meal], being inside this thing also. Sheepish appoligies.   

       [RayfordSteele] Could Ezekiel's ship have been this very thing made not of physical materials but of spheres of trapped light? Could the image of a wheel have been the effects of light escaping from the separation of a sphere's equator? Neat, aside from the occupants' gory but necessary demise confirmed by [AllenChristopher]
Tiger Lily, May 12 2003

       Why do you have 4 rotating spheres, inbetween the outer and inner stationary spheres? Shirley you would only need 3 to have all inertial forces covered.   

       As I understand it, you fire a laser through the outermost stationary shell A at the first rotating sphere B, and the light bouncing between spheres A and B gets sphere B a-spinning.   

       However, you're also sending some of that light through sphere B onto sphere C, where it bounces between B and C to spin C. What prevents B from getting spun around from the inside?
friendlyfire, May 13 2003

       [freindlyfire] You got it right.
I don't know if this would work, but at the axis points, on the inner and outer shells, for all of the spinning globes there would be attractive polarities to lock the tilts in place. I thought, that since these attractive points would remain opposed to one another that they would not interfere with the repulsion of the rest of the sphere.
Or a type of magnetic ball socket, where the pole of each inner sphere would have a protrusion that would not be able to leave its "cup" on the outer.

[Allen Christopher] I had given thought to the infinite mass thing, but I have to admit that I don't really understand that part of Einstein’s theory, (yeah, like I truly understand any of it), does this mean that theoretical particles that break "C" like tachyons, or the ones that we accelerate to almost light speed in particle accelerators, attain infinite mass? If so, why isn't the universe one big singularity by now. I am probably just exposing my own ignorance by asking, but I figure I already did that fairly well with the posting itself so, no harm, no foul.
If this contraption could in no way reach light speed, so be it, but what speed do you think would be necessary to resist the tilt caused by the Earths spin?
As for rapidly decelerating one sphere, I thought that "light braking" combined with "magnetic braking" would reduce its speed at least half again as fast as it was accelerated, as it only used light to get up to speed.

P.S. News of my future gory but necessary demise has been/will be greatly exaggerated.

       I'm sure Allen will be along soon to answer you more completely, but I thought I'd give you a thumbnail sketch of the increasing mass with speed thing. The particles we accelerate don't have infinite mass, but that's because we only get them most of the way to the speed of light. The only particles that can travel at the speed of light are ones with no rest mass. Taking Allen's equation m=m0/(sqrt(1-(v/c)^2)), you can see that as v approaches c, m approaches infinity. Since what we accelerate starts out with a very small mass, the mass only gets large at very high speeds. Let's take 99% the speed of light. Solving the equation above, the mass will have increased 7x. Trying 99.9% you get around 22x. This increases the closer you get to 100%. Protons in the Fermi accelerator are sped up to about 99.999% of the speed of light, and have a mass 800x their rest mass. This is still only 1.34E-24 kg.
Worldgineer, May 13 2003

       Quick sketch. new Link 1.   

       With respect to the first part of the idea, I think I see two problems. One is that you describe a magnetic suspension system that may be impossible to actually implement. That is, if you took a bunch of bar magnets and tried to position them around a sphere so that all the "N" poles were outside, and all the "S" poles were inside, well, THAT is what is impossible to do. Some kind of cancellation occurs that prevents it from working. Thus, you cannot create smooth spherical magnetic suspension. You CAN create various ring-shaped magnetic suspensions, and if a sphere is expected to ALWAYS rotate such that its axis passes through the centers of those rings, then this would work OK. But I get the impression that your spheres are going to precess....   

       The other problem has to do with your laser driving system. You describe the beam causing rotation of your mirrorred geodesic spheroids, and that is OK, but what about the action/reaction effect at the laser itself? THAT force may cancel the other force, which you expect to cause rotation!   

       Next, it looks like you may have a misunderstanding about a "one-way mirror". This is actually a half-silvered mirror, and the fact that it LOOKS like it works only one way is actually an illusion. Consider two rooms A and B, with this mirror between them. If A is illuminated while B is dark, then a person in A will see his reflection and a person in B will see the person in A. But if A is dark while B is illuminated, the Person B will see his reflection while Person A will see Person B! Photons of light, after all, can only go FROM where they are (the illuminated room), TO somewhere else (reflection or transmission at the mirror). Since I said the mirror was half-silvered, 50% of photons will transmit (pass through), and 50% will reflect. (I ignore the ones that are absorbed by the glass and/or mirror-coating; this is why no mirror is yet 100% efficient.) You will lose half the power of your laser, just trying to get it's beam into your gyrosphere! AND--every time the beam comes back around to reflect off this particular mirror, 50% of what arrives at it will go right through and escape the system! EVERY time!   

       So, this idea isn't going to work very well...sorry.
Vernon, May 17 2003

       You can drop a gyroscope. You just can't rotate it.
my-nep, Oct 19 2003

       Damn. I just deleted someone’s anno from Nov.5th. I clicked delete by accident while trying to see the profile page.
My apologies, and can this be retrieved?

       This guy did a lot of serious work in this area http://www.alternativescience.com/eric-laithwaite.htm
Huw2, May 21 2004

       i believe they showed something similar to this on South Park. Except it was developed by Mr. Garrison, and you had to let it, umm, do naughty things to you to operate it. you know what i mean if you saw it...
xer0negative, Jul 13 2004


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