The truth about the luminiferous ether and the basis for Einstein's special relativity can be arrived at by either of two rather different paths: I will call them the experimental and the theoretical paths.
At its conclusion the experimental path demonstrated that there is no luminiferous ether; light in a vacuum moves at a constant speed regardless of the motion of its source or observer.
However, Maxwell's wave equation does not have a place for the medium; the speed of light sits by itself with no place to add or subtract a velocity for the luminiferous ether.
When Einstein came seriously to this problem in 1904, the contradiction between the stellar aberration and the Michelson/Morley result was evident, but the impossibility of a luminiferous ether was not seen as inevitable, not even by Michelson.
He was fully aware of all of the steps along the experimental path and of the contradictions to be found in positing a luminiferous ether.
He showed that Maxwell's Equations make no allowance for a luminiferous ether because they are, in their original 1865 form, already fully consistent with special relativity.
By contrast, his thoughts on the structure of the Universe soon became outdated as new concepts in physics and astronomy emerged, such as how light is transmitted--overturning the need for a luminiferous
ether--and the fact that our Milky Way is merely one among billions of galaxies, or 'island universes'.
When the Michelson-Morley experiment failed to confirm the existence of the luminiferous
ether continuum, Einstein plugged the gap by postulating a four-dimensional spacetime continuum.
In the 19th century, Frensnel's dynamical theory of a luminiferous aether had an important influence on the mechanical theories of Nature .
Therefore, the concepts of a luminiferous aether and an elastic solid aether were removed with the concepts of an electro-magnetic aether or an electromagnetic field.
After a consensus has been reached between the present work and the literature that the luminiferous continuum cannot be detected from an experiment in which a single source and a receiver are moving together as a non-deformable system, then the interesting question which remains is whether the absolute continuum can be detected when the emitter and the mirror are in relative motion, i.
vi) The concept of existing of a material luminiferous continuum (i) is abandoned altogether.