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My question is this: can excess mass be bled off into hyperspace (the large and compact extra dimensions, not the Star Wars-esque swirling vortex), yet the matter remains in our universe?

Is mass too fundamentally tied to matter for this to happen, or is it possible to condense a galaxy into a "small" area, but shunt off mass so it doesn't collapse into a black hole?

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  • $\begingroup$ I can clarify and edit the question if needed. $\endgroup$ – Ushumgallu Apr 3 at 16:36
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    $\begingroup$ What is "excess mass"? Would the matter, after shedding that "excess mass", remain normal matter or it has to become "exotic"? This is outside the realm of known science, by the way. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Apr 3 at 16:39
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure if this question is answerable. Just the existence of hyperspace or "large and compact extra dimensions" is purely theoretical. It's pretty hard to give a science-based answer to a question which is asking about things that haven't been experimentally verified in any way. $\endgroup$ – Gryphon - Reinstate Monica Apr 3 at 16:42
  • $\begingroup$ Mass is the energy intrinsic to holding a particle together. The energy allowing the particle to exist is its mass. You can't take the mass away from the particle. That's like taking the speed away from a moving train, without stopping it. $\endgroup$ – Adrian Hall Apr 3 at 17:05
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    $\begingroup$ It's a common misconception that the Higgs boson provides mass; the existence of the boson is predicted by the standard model and so finding it is evidence for the standard model, but it's not the boson itself that provides mass. Also, while the Higgs mechanism is responsible for the rest mass of fundamental particles, the majority of observed mass is actually due to binding energy, which doesn't involve the Higgs field at all. As @Adrian Hall put it, what we call mass is largely the result of the energy holding stuff together. $\endgroup$ – Dan Bryant Apr 3 at 20:01
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From the wiki:

In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having volume. All everyday objects that can be touched are ultimately composed of atoms, which are made up of interacting subatomic particles, and in everyday as well as scientific usage, "matter" generally includes atoms and anything made up of them, and any particles (or combination of particles) that act as if they have both rest mass and volume. However it does not include massless particles such as photons, or other energy phenomena (...)

So no, you can't dissociate one from another, at least not according to our current understanding of science.

That does not keep authors from creating sci-fi munbo-jumbo like EA's Mass Effect, which allows for all kinds of magic. But those have no scientific basis.

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    $\begingroup$ Agreed, mass can be thought of in different ways: Inertial mass, active/passive gravitational mass. It is both a property of matter and measure of its resistance to acceleration. $\endgroup$ – Rob Apr 3 at 17:14
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    $\begingroup$ @rob indeed, it is kind of a miracle that the inertial mass equals the gravitational mass -- even though the principle of equivalence requires exactly that. $\endgroup$ – John Dvorak Apr 3 at 17:25
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There are two kinds of mass. Gravitational mass, which is what keeps you stuck to the ground and makes the planets orbit and all that jazz. The other is inertial mass, which is what pushes back on us when we push on something. Currently, we think these are just two facets of the same phenomenon, but there's no solid proof. If it does turn out that these are actually different things, then it may be possible to alter one without altering the other. This is a big stretch, but if everything I've proposed here is true, you could do exactly what you propose. Reduce gravitational mass while keeping inertial mass the same, and you could make something so large it would normally become a black hole.

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    $\begingroup$ Eintein's general theory of relativity itself postulates that we have no means to distinguish. Indeed, any breakthrough on that would be huge. $\endgroup$ – Renan Apr 3 at 19:35
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What you want here is to mask the mass, not get rid of it. Antigrav is what you're after, integrated such that your system shields objects from each other while maintaining their local gravity wells (so you don't end up with the opposite problem of things spontaneously exploding as soon as gravity isn't holding them together).

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  • $\begingroup$ Re: the "problem of things spontaneously exploding," you've just invented the Little Doctor, which has its own set of uses. $\endgroup$ – thirtythreeforty Apr 3 at 20:04

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