.: The USPTO has granted Boris Volfson, an inventor in Huntington IN, US Patent 6,960,975: Space vehicle propelled by the pressure of inflationary vacuum state. According to National Geographic News, the patent is a design for an antigravity space vehicle:
Volfson's craft is theoretically powered by a superconductor shield that changes the space-time continuum in such a way that it defies gravity. The design effectively creates a perpetual-motion machine, which physicists consider an impossible device.
The "invention" defies the laws of physics (you cannot change the laws of physics, laws of physics, laws of physics). Robert Park tracks scientifically absurd patents for the American Physical Society, and is the author of Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud. Excerpt from an article in 10 November 2005 Nature, as discussed in Physics Forums:
This is not the first such patent to be granted, but it shows that patent examiners are being duped by false science, says physicist Robert Park, watchdog of junk science at the American Physical Society in Washington DC. Park tracks US patents on impossible inventions. "The patent office is in deep trouble," he says.
"If something doesn't work, it is rejected," insists Alan Cohan, an adviser at the patent office's Inventors Assistance Center in Alexandria, Virginia. And when something does slip through, he says, the consequences are not significant: "It doesn't cause any problems because the patent is useless."
But Park argues that patenting devices that so blatantly go against scientific understanding could give them undeserved respectability, and undermine the patent office's reputation. "When a patent is awarded for an idea that doesn't work, the door is opened for sham."
Patent 6,960,975 was granted on 1 November to Boris Volfson of Huntington, Indiana. It describes a space vehicle propelled by a superconducting shield, which alters the curvature of space-time outside the craft in a way that counteracts gravity. The device builds on a claim by the Russian physicist Eugene Podkletnov that superconductors can shield the effects of gravity. NASA was at one stage investigating the idea, but it has become almost as notorious as cold fusion as an example of fringe science.
On his own site, the inventor notes:
This proposal is for the patented inflationary vacuum spaceship. The implementation of this proposal would take years and billions of dollars. All new spaceships cost billions to develop. However, it would be cheap, quick and easy to build an orange-sized, electrically-powered "breadboard" device of my patent. The device could be gently placed, with the shuttle's mechanical arm, on the shadow side of the next space shuttle, fired up, and observed whether it moves comparatively to the shuttle.