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allen_kcCard
08-01-2014, 10:35 AM
Interesting stuff about a new space propulsion system that uses light to generate thrust.

http://sploid.gizmodo.com/nasa-reveals-new-impossible-engine-can-change-space-t-1614549987/+barrett

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-07/31/nasa-validates-impossible-space-drive

listopencil
08-01-2014, 12:31 PM
I just saw this on Sploid:

<header class="">NASA: New "impossible" engine works, could change space travel forever (http://sploid.gizmodo.com/nasa-reveals-new-impossible-engine-can-change-space-t-1614549987)

</header>
http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--yv-bULeb--/xnj0pqjgwcavftu7hqgy.jpg

Until yesterday, every physicist was laughing at this engine and its inventor, Roger Shawyer. It's called the EmDrive (http://emdrive.com/) and everyone said it was impossible because it goes against classical mechanics. But the fact is that the quantum vacuum plasma thruster works (http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-07/31/nasa-validates-impossible-space-drive) and scientists can't explain why.

Shawyer's engine is extremely light and simple. It provides a thrust by "bouncing microwaves around in a closed container." The microwaves are generated using electricity that can be provided by solar energy. No propellant is necessary, which means that this thrusters can work forever unless a hardware failure occurs. If real, this would be a major breakthrough in space propulsion technology.

Obviously, the entire thing sounded preposterous to everyone. In theory, this thing shouldn't work at all. So people laughed and laughed and ignored him. Everyone except a team of Chinese scientists. They built one in 2009 and it worked: They were able to produce 720 millinewton, which is reportedly enough to build a satellite thruster. And still, nobody else believed it.

Now, American scientist Guido Fetta and a team at NASA Eagleworks (http://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=20140006052)—the advanced propulsion skunkworks led by Dr Harold "Sonny" White at the Johnson Space Center—have published a new paper that demonstrates that a similar engine working on the same principles does indeed produce thrust. Their model, however, produces much less thrust—just 30 to 50 micronewtons. But it works, which is amazing on its own. They haven't explained why their engine works, but it does work: Test results indicate that the RF resonant cavity thruster design, which is unique as an electric propulsion device, is producing a force that is not attributable to any classical electromagnetic phenomenon and therefore is potentially demonstrating an interaction with the quantum vacuum virtual plasma.
The entire idea that we have found something that seems to go against the the principle of conservation of momentum just seems crazy to me. But the fact that it has worked for two independent parties can't be denied. That's the laboratory speaking. Then again, perhaps both labs made a mistake. I'm sure this will be tested by the Russians and the Europeans too, but at least I'm glad we are working on it.

But the fact that we may be witnessing something completely new, something that may push us forward into sci-fi territory once again, is very exciting.

Beef Supreme
08-01-2014, 12:32 PM
Interesting that Chinese scientists not only verified that this engine works first, theirs worked better. And still most people didn't buy it until NASA said so.

Gonzo
08-01-2014, 12:35 PM
"We don't know how the fucker works, it just does. Fuck it, let's run with it."

listopencil
08-01-2014, 12:41 PM
So are the microwaves interacting with the fabric of space-time or are the microwaves producing an unknown force that interacts with the fabric of space-time? They are saying it's the latter but it seems lazy to me to assume the presence of a previously unknown force rather than investigating the possibility that there are unknown properties of microwave radiation.

morphius
08-01-2014, 12:41 PM
Interesting that Chinese scientists not only verified that this engine works first, theirs worked better. And still most people didn't buy it until NASA said so.
After seeing the Chinese stealth fighters, would you believe anything from them?

listopencil
08-01-2014, 12:44 PM
I guess from the way this is worded...

Test results indicate that the RF resonant cavity thruster design, which is unique as an electric propulsion device, is producing a force that is not attributable to any classical electromagnetic phenomenon and therefore is potentially demonstrating an interaction with the quantum vacuum virtual plasma.


...it could be interpreted as the device is producing an unknown force which may or may not be a previously unknown property of microwave radiation.

Gonzo
08-01-2014, 12:49 PM
Go green! Stop microwave propulsion pollution immediately. It's tearing a hole in space.

Rooster
08-01-2014, 12:50 PM
"We don't know how the ****er works, it just does. **** it, let's run with it."

No one knows how posi traction works either. It just does.

Dave Lane
08-01-2014, 12:56 PM
.

Dave Lane
08-01-2014, 12:58 PM
After seeing the Chinese stealth fighters, would you believe anything from them?

We'll to be honest compared to their neighbors in North Korea they seem pretty legit.

Donger
08-01-2014, 12:59 PM
I hope they don't get any tattoos close to that thing.

petegz28
08-01-2014, 01:07 PM
I read about this yesterday. Pretty amazing stuff.

tiptap
08-01-2014, 01:14 PM
Most people have heard that light has momentum. The classic little silvered on one side black on the other, spinning little metal flags in a glass bulb is called to mind. (Usually they are not properly vacuumed and the black side is heated up and provides momentum to air present spinning the wrong way instead of proof of light momentum on the silvered side.) This is what this device is about. That it provides thrust with momentum from infrared portion of the spectrum is what is surprising. I suspect that the the "correct" shape and material of the waveguide is critical in making an effective operating machine.

Donger
08-01-2014, 01:17 PM
Sounds like an RF ion drive.

Graystoke
08-01-2014, 01:29 PM
Looks like a whiskey still.
I like it!