A BBC documentary about Ministry of Defence (MoD) research project using gravity detection has revived talk about Project Greenglow and the quest for gravity control. What is gravity detection, what was Project Greenglow and where are we today with gravity control?

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Gravity control as demonstrated in the BBC documentary Project Greenglow: The Quest For Gravity Control

The documentary is called Project Greenglow: The Quest For Gravity Control and was broadcast on BBC Two on March 23rd - it can now be seen on Horizon iPlayer. The documentary reveals how the MoD has developed a gravity scanner that may be able to see through walls and underground, making it a phenomenal security innovation.

The gravity scanner works by freezing atoms with lasers, then detecting how they are affected by the gravitational pull of nearby objects. Researchers are calling it a “quantum gravity detector” and say it can create a 3D map of things behind a wall or underground without being detected or jammed. Beside being a tool for the military, it has commercial applications in any fields involving digging.

Before you get all excited, it’s not ready yet and it’s not gravity control, says Neil Stansfield of the the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory.

We are detecting the gravitational influence on an object.

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An original sketch used to help sell BAE on Project Greenglow

However, it’s close enough for the BBC to bring up Project Greenglow. In 1986, aerospace engineer Dr. Ron Evans persuaded his employer, BAE Systems, to allow him to conduct experiments in gravity control – specifically, to make gravity “push instead of “pull” in order to use it as a form of propulsion. An ant-gravity vehicle would make BAE’s current products – airplanes – obsolete, so the project was controversial. Yet NASA started a similar parallel project - the Breakthrough Physics Propulsion Program.

As the documentary points out, Project Greenglow ended in 2005 with no gravity control device, flying saucer or any other scientific or science fiction innovations. Well, except for one.

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The EmDrive

The research was used by British aerospace engineer Roger Shawyer to develop the propellant-less electromagnetic engine or EmDrive – another controversial device whose lack of propellant seems to defy Newton's law of conservation of momentum.

What’s next? The MoD will continue to test the military applications of gravity detection. NASA’s research on the EmDrive last year resulted in talk of a warp drive while Boeing and the Pentagon are said to be building their own versions.

The documentary goes into much greater detail on all of this and I'm sure minds greater than mine can explain it far better than I have.

I worry about one thing ... is it safe to break the laws of physics just to drive an anti-gravity car?

Paul Seaburn
Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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