Antigravity Device

posted: 04/11/12
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As seen in "MythBusters: Antigravity Device"

Finding: BUSTED

Explanation: Although the force of gravity does a good job keeping the world — and everything in it — in place, some researchers want to unwind Newton's brainchild and discover the secret of antigravity. Unlike counter gravity, which propels 747 jet planes by canceling out gravity's force with an opposite force, antigravity completely eliminates that downward pull.

With open minds toward the sketchy science, MythBusters Kari Byron, Grant Imahara and Tory Belleci trolled the Internet for three of the most promising antigravity devices floating around out there. Their antigravity mother lode consisted of the following devices, which they tested and ruled out:

1) A base plate and spinning top that supposedly defies gravity with its rotational movement. The team discovered that, in actuality, the plate creates an electromagnetic field that supports the seemingly weightless top.

2) A triangular device that supposedly establishes a new gravitational field based on the theory of the Biefeld-Brown effect. The theory maintains that 30,000 volts of electricity forced through a wire ionizes the air around it and elevates the device. However, the MythBusters found that the lift happens because ionization actually creates a thrust by shifting the flow of air around the gadget.

3) A set of magnetic cones that supposedly activate an electro-gravitational field in which charged particles act in opposition to gravitational force. For this device, the theoretical field should elevate objects in the center of the arranged cones. However, the opposing magnetic forces in the cones fail to get anything off the ground.

To ensure that they weren't simply being overly skeptical, the MythBusters even brought in physicists with a super-sensitive gravity detector to test each device. Although the Biefeld-Brown effect has received some attention from folks at NASA, even it failed to register a decrease in gravitational pull on the gravity-o-meter.

Newton can rest easy in his grave for now, since the busted myth leaves the possibility of antigravity ungrounded.

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