What do you get when you put a group of Star Trek fans and fringe hobbyists in a virtual room with hundreds of working scientists from places like NASA and DARPA? If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to fly. It may sound like the start of a conspiracy theory, but the Alternative Propulsion Energy Conference held its first meeting last November. The theme was how to defy gravity’s laws. Physicists and engineers from MIT, Harvard, and CalTech, as well as representatives from NASA, SpaceX, Lockheed Martin, and the United States Army Research Laboratory — as well as well-known enthusiasts like Mark Sokol and Jeremiah Popp – were among those invited.
According to the meeting website, “The Alternative Propulsion Engineering Conference (APEC) is a totally online, Zoom-based conference on new propulsion research encompassing gravity-modification, inertial propulsion, warp-drives, and field-effect propulsion.” “From theoretical scientists publishing peer-reviewed articles on quantum and relativity theory to gravity-hackers trying to reverse-engineer UFOs in their garage,” says the website.
According to those interviewed for The Debrief’s deep dive into the conference, if you find it hard to believe that so many respectable scientists would be chasing the goal of anti-gravity, that’s exactly why you didn’t know they were doing it. Researchers don’t stop thinking about their pet project because they’re afraid of being laughed out of a lecture hall; they just keep it quiet. Antigravity, like UFOs before it, is a guilty delight of academic researchers, and a whole “invisible college” has sprung up around the subject.
“There are a few different email lists that circulate in this community. Sokol, who founded APEC, described it as “sort of like a WhatsApp discussion, but over email.” “So for the first conference, I mixed a couple of different email lists… and it turned out that half of NASA was on one of them.”
According to the Debrief, it wasn’t all. They uncovered 16 current or former NASA personnel among the 71 verified invitees, and another 14 who were linked with major universities such as MIT and Harvard. A few worked for DARPA-contracting companies, while a few more came from big aerospace engineering firms.
In reality, 11 amateurs and three members of the media were the only confirmed guests who didn’t fit into those broad categories. As one attendee described it, the “Woodstock of gravity modification research” was a success. Since then, 23 APEC conferences have taken place — the event is now held every two weeks – and the attendee list continues to grow. According to APEC presenter Tim Ventura, the membership roster has grown to over 500 persons, ranging from UFO aficionados to Relativity redesigners.