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The issue came up at a BlackLight Power board meeting, according to sources. Executives at the meeting urged Mills to refer to energetic materials as potential propellants, and not explosives, even though a rocket is just a controlled explosion. One source says Mills bridled at the inherent intellectual dishonesty in the euphemism.
"That would be as if I pointed a duck gun at you and said not to worry, because it only kills ducks," Mills reportedly said.
BlackLight Power and researchers at the weapons division of the Naval Air Warfare Center at China Lake, California, confirm that they are heading toward a research and development pact that would allow the navy to produce energy and materials from hydrinos and to develop applications of the new compounds. A spokeswoman for the Indian Head Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Maryland says in ane-mail letter that after a meeting with Mills "there was considerable interest in the reported properties of the new hydrogen-containing compounds, and in obtaining samples for independent analysis and evaluation."
BlackLight Power's newest board member is retired vice admiral Michael P. Kalleres, who commanded the U.S. fleet in the Atlantic during the Gulf War and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Striking Fleet. He's also a consultant for the Defense Science Board and the Naval Studies Board of the National Academy of Science.
"I feel very confident in what [Mills] has created," Kalleres says. He adds that he has no investment in BlackLight Power and takes no salary from the company, although he anticipates an option to invest later. After observing the company's practices for years, he believes that it's produced things of which the military should make use.
Ships with hydrino material cladding would likely be stealthy and rustproof, Kalleres says. Eliminating rust could radically reduce crews on some ships, savings millions of dollars.
It's not just BlackLight Power's work in bombs, rockets, and rusty ships that has the military's attention. Mills has stacks of proprietary research on artificial intelligence. In what he calls Brain Child Systems, Mills has done the math for a reasoning machine with consciousness. To advance the project, Mills may soon enter into a collaboration with the Institute for Simulation and Training at the University of Central Florida, which does the bulk of its work for the military.
But Mills wasn't thinking of the military when he began his work in artificial intelligence. Mills has a lifelong dream of making spaceships to travel at near light speed, and he says that only a mind with the switching rates of a computer could pilot them. A human brain, which Mills disdains as "wet processing," would fly into a rock before its owner could blink.
If spaceships are to hit such speeds, NASA scientists agree that rockets are a dead end. Mills says the answer may again lie in the electron, which according to his theory might be made to respond negatively to gravity. He quickly emphasizes that this part of his work awaits experimentation, and he has kept quiet about it so far because he's quite aware of how his critics will ridicule it. Mills is uncharacteristically coy in referring to the antigravity machine as a "relativity device."
There was a moment when it seemed NASA engineers might look into Mills's antigravity theory. Luke Setzer, a mechanical engineer at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida requested permission to investigate the idea's potential. Setzer says as a mechanical engineer, he's more intuitively comfortable with Mills's deterministic view of the universe.
Engineers, he says, "are used to classical physics. Mills applies classical physics to the subatomic level." Setzer was encouraged by his two managers to pursue the work, but after NASA physicists objected, "I dropped the whole thing." Without their nod, there would be no funding. "One of them kept referring to 'fictional energy' rather than theoretical energy" after glancing at Mills's self-published thousand-page tome, The Grand Unified Theory of Classical Quantum Mechanics (1995), Setzer says. "That kind of language tells me they're already shutting their minds to possibilities."
Setzer also plans to visit BlackLight Power's labs on his vacation time. "I think he's a real Renaissance man," Setzer says. "And even if reality is different than his theory, it could still be another source of energy. The Mills theory may accurately predict previously inexplicable phenomena. That doesn't mean that he's right, but string theory seems less well defined than Mills's theory yet is more accepted than Mills's."
Marc Millis, who is leading NASA's Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Project, says that a major reason for not pursuing BlackLight Power projects is that tight budgets dictate that administrators approach ideas with a triage mind-set. "If someone else has the funds to get behind an idea, why should we redouble that?" he asks. "We have to use our resources for things that look promising and we know we'll have to do for ourselves."
The craft Mills imagines would be made of hydrino compounds and powered by hydrino engines and batteries. There would be pods containing intersecting helium and electron beams under a negatively charged plate. The electrons in the beam would be deformed in such a way that they would oppose gravity and push up against that electric field of the negative plate, Mills theorizes. Anything attached to the plate would also experience lift.