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Question:
I would like a genm, more detailed explanation of gravitic waves and (if available) a decription of the science fiction idea of "graivitic mines." Is this a concept with backed by factual data or just a fabrication?



Replies:
Suppose I wiggle a mass in my right hand back and forth. I have another mass in my left hand. I expect the gravitational force on the mass on my left hand to increase and decrease as the mass in my right hand comes closer and farther away from it. But actually the wiggling cannot be exactly in synch. Because it has to take a finite time for the fact that the mass on the right moved to "register" with the mass on the left. Specifically, that information travels at the speed of light (or so we assume -- it could travel slower, I suppose). I can regard this wiggling impulse moving from the right to left at the speed of light as a gravity "wave" if I like. The analogy is to moving your right hand in a pool, watching a wave then travel across the pool and hit your left hand, transmitting the push from the right hand to the left at a certain speed. The analogy is not exact, because the wave in the water travels via the water, and the gravity wave does not travel "through" anything, unless you want to invoke a "fabric" of space.

I have no idea what a gravitic mine is.

christopher grayce



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