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NASA: New "impossible" engine works, could change space travel forever
Gizmodo ^ | August 1, 2014 | Jesus Diaz

Posted on 08/02/2014 12:16:09 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

Until yesterday, every physicist was laughing at this engine and its inventor, Roger Shawyer. It's called the EmDrive and everyone said it was impossible because it goes against classical mechanics. But the fact is that the quantum vacuum plasma thruster works 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—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.


TOPICS: Government; Science; Travel
KEYWORDS: ftl; guidofetta; microwaves; nasa; physics; rogershawyer; space; spaceexploration; spacetravel; stringtheory; superluminal
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1 posted on 08/02/2014 12:16:09 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Love how scientists say it’s “impossible” because it violates “laws.”


2 posted on 08/02/2014 12:21:45 PM PDT by wastedyears (Everything Obama does wrong is Bush's fault.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“Hey! You can’t do that, it’s against the law!


3 posted on 08/02/2014 12:25:08 PM PDT by Sparticus (Tar and feathers for the next dumb@ss Republican that uses the word bipartisanship.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
It breaks the law of Physics (conservation of motion).

If it works, our understanding of Physics is WRONG. Everything newer than Newton is suspect...

4 posted on 08/02/2014 12:25:20 PM PDT by ZOOKER (Until further notice the /s is implied...)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

It violates ‘laws’ as established by man. There are many more laws we have yet to identify, especially in space.


5 posted on 08/02/2014 12:25:25 PM PDT by CivilWarBrewing
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Sometimes great leaps are made by those who try the impossible.


6 posted on 08/02/2014 12:28:16 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Adeo pro sedatus scientia.


7 posted on 08/02/2014 12:28:26 PM PDT by outofsalt
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To: wastedyears

Nothing unreal about physical laws.

And Chinese scientists? Why would they want to present something that works to NASA? Not that the NASA team has proven anything anyway (and the Chinese claim of 2.59 ounces force has not been independently verified by them, never mind their own alleged 0.00018 ounce force).


8 posted on 08/02/2014 12:29:39 PM PDT by Olog-hai
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I taped our Dyson vacuum cleaner to an old microwave and fired them up. It’s a good thing I put that plastic bread bag around my head because we shot around Mars like Nancy Pelosi chasing Republicans.


9 posted on 08/02/2014 12:29:43 PM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
NASA is writing checks with it's mouth that can't be cashed.

I'll listen the next time they get a human up in low earth orbit.

10 posted on 08/02/2014 12:29:45 PM PDT by AU72
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To: wastedyears

Reminds me of the scene in the original Planet of the Apes, where Taylor’s translator tells the court he flew there, and the court says “flight is a scientific impossibility!”. Taylor then sends a paper airplane flying across the room.


11 posted on 08/02/2014 12:31:02 PM PDT by Hugin ("Do yourself a favor--first thing, get a firearm!")
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The infinite improbability drive is a wonderful new method of crossing interstellar distances in a mere nothingth of a second, without all that tedious mucking about in hyperspace. It was discovered by lucky chance, and then developed into a governable form of propulsion by the Galactic Government’s research center on Damogran.

The principle of generating small amounts of finite improbability by simply hooking the logic circuits of a Bambleweeny 57 Sub-Meson Brain to an atomic vector plotter suspended in a strong Brownian Motion producer (say a nice hot cup of tea) were of course well understood — and such generators were often used to break the ice at parties by making all the molecules in the hostess’s undergarments leap simultaneously one foot to the left, in accordance to the theory of indeterminacy.

Many respectable physicists said that they weren’t going to stand for this, partly because it was a debasement of science, but mostly because they didn’t get invited to those sorts of parties.

Another thing they couldn’t stand was the perpetual failure they encountered while trying to construct a machine which could generate the infinite improbability field needed to flip a spaceship across the mind-paralyzing distances between the farthest stars, and at the end of the day they grumpily announced that such a machine was virtually impossible.

Then, one day, a student who had been left to sweep up after a particularly unsuccessful party found himself reasoning in this way: If, he thought to himself, such a machine is a virtual impossibility, it must have finite improbability. So all I have to do in order to make one is to work out how exactly improbable it is, feed that figure into the finite improbability generator, give it a fresh cup of really hot tea... and turn it on!

He did this and was rather startled when he managed to create the long sought after golden Infinite Improbability generator. He was even more startled when just after he was awarded the Galactic Institute’s Prize for Extreme Cleverness he was lynched by a rampaging mob of respectable physicists who had realized that one thing they couldn’t stand was a smart-ass.


12 posted on 08/02/2014 12:31:06 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: CivilWarBrewing

Listen, Scotty could have told us about this old technology; pre-warp drive , ya know.


13 posted on 08/02/2014 12:31:28 PM PDT by biff (WAS)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Precursor warp drive?


14 posted on 08/02/2014 12:32:08 PM PDT by stboz
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

That gives a lot of credence to Burt Rutan’s comment about NASA being pronounced “NaySay.” NASA dissed the technology but the Chinese didn’t...now we find out it’s real and we’ve lost 5 years of R&D time.


15 posted on 08/02/2014 12:32:25 PM PDT by Paco
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I want to know which Muslim discovered this so we can give appropriate credit...


16 posted on 08/02/2014 12:32:29 PM PDT by neodad (USS Vincennes (CG-49) Freedom's Fortress)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Cool. Sounds like they have a device which is tapping into the quantum vacuum. You don’t need to bring your own reaction mass if you can do that.


17 posted on 08/02/2014 12:32:35 PM PDT by Flick Lives ("I can't believe it's not Fascism!")
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To: Paco

As if Barry would’ve let them do anything with it.


18 posted on 08/02/2014 12:34:50 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself.)
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To: Flick Lives

Alcubierre drive?


19 posted on 08/02/2014 12:35:35 PM PDT by wastedyears (Everything Obama does wrong is Bush's fault.)
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To: stboz
Precursor warp drive?

I was thinking impulse engine myself.

20 posted on 08/02/2014 12:36:50 PM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: Flick Lives

Just using what is in abundance. Plenty of space in space.


21 posted on 08/02/2014 12:38:09 PM PDT by rawcatslyentist (Jeremiah 50:32 "The arrogant one will stumble and fall ; / ?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
“every physicist was laughing at this engine and its inventor, Roger Shawyer”

Who is the idiot who wrote this article?

I doubt “every physicist” was laughing at Roger. Scientists are expected to be skeptical and demand proof. That is what the scientific method is all about.

Two experiments showed an extremely tiny amount of thrust. Not enough to be of any practical use but potentially a breakthrough. Physicists recognized the potential. More work needs to be done.

It may be it is a theoretical advance that if improved has the potential to change space travel or it may be just a very small error by the labs.

It is an interesting concept but get rid of the drama queen who wrote the article. He provided no scientific analysis. He just a made up story about scientists bullying this poor guy.

22 posted on 08/02/2014 12:39:26 PM PDT by detective
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
720 millinewton,

Had to re-read that. First glance had it ...
720 milliwonton. :)

23 posted on 08/02/2014 12:42:07 PM PDT by Vinnie
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Would someone please ping me when this engine can power a spaceship? Thanks in advance.

5.56mm


24 posted on 08/02/2014 12:43:25 PM PDT by M Kehoe
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To: 2ndDivisionVet; 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."

Given that this news is valid, what are students being indoctrinated with in “science” classes in USA schools?

25 posted on 08/02/2014 12:43:30 PM PDT by Amendment10
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To: wastedyears
Alcubierre drive?

Research going on there as well.

Generally its believed to require far to much mass-energy equivalence to be practical but some researchers appear to have discovered a way to get a tiny curvature of space with considerably less mass energy. (Nanometers at this point)
26 posted on 08/02/2014 12:49:27 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Political hacks have already begun thinking of ways to tax it!


27 posted on 08/02/2014 12:49:38 PM PDT by Oldpuppymax
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I wondered why my microwave was levitating.

Seriously, this is quite fascinating.


28 posted on 08/02/2014 12:51:09 PM PDT by NewHampshireDuo
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To: dfwgator
LOL!

Write that yourself?

29 posted on 08/02/2014 12:55:22 PM PDT by stillonaroll
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To: neodad

Then,it must have been created in India!


30 posted on 08/02/2014 12:58:51 PM PDT by Dr. Ursus
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To: wastedyears
Love how scientists say it’s “impossible” because it violates “laws.”

That would mean that 0bama is “impossible”.

31 posted on 08/02/2014 1:02:15 PM PDT by mountainlion (Live well for those that did not make it back.)
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To: 6SJ7; AdmSmith; AFPhys; Arkinsaw; allmost; aristotleman; autumnraine; backwoods-engineer; ...
Thanks 2ndDivisionVet, earlier on FR: NASA Confirms The Plausibility of Reactionless Drives??!!


· List topics · post a topic · subscribe · Google ·

32 posted on 08/02/2014 1:04:35 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: stillonaroll

It’s from The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy


33 posted on 08/02/2014 1:07:48 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
shall I engage the quantum vacuum plasma thruster?
34 posted on 08/02/2014 1:08:59 PM PDT by JPG ("So sue me". OK, we will.)
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To: Flick Lives

And reaction mass, because you need so much of it, is the limiting factor.


35 posted on 08/02/2014 1:10:06 PM PDT by reg45 (Barack 0bama: Implementing class warfare by having no class.)
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To: wastedyears

Hey, these guys are messing with “settled science’”. Someone call Obama!


36 posted on 08/02/2014 1:10:14 PM PDT by Ouchthatonehurt ("When you're going through hell, keep going." - Sir Winston Churchill)
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37 posted on 08/02/2014 1:10:47 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: blueunicorn6
Operational Dyson Sphere

(Ideal for quantum Vacuuming, plus containing other particulate matter -- Dark or not...)

38 posted on 08/02/2014 1:12:34 PM PDT by mikrofon (Science Friction)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
It is real, 'cause I saw it in a movie, only they called it a "Flux Capacitor". Here's the proof.

That being said, if it's not a lab error redux, it is fascinating news. I always thought that when people/scientists said that aliens couldn't get here because of the vast distances, I thought of the arrogance of the human race. "We haven't discovered it, so it can't be done."

No doubt that way back when, if you told scientists that sound and images could be transmitted over the air, you'd have been laughed at - or burned at the stake.

39 posted on 08/02/2014 1:15:02 PM PDT by Oatka (This is America. Assimilate or evaporate.)
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To: cripplecreek

Generally its believed to require far to much mass-energy equivalence to be practical but some researchers appear to have discovered a way to get a tiny curvature of space with considerably less mass energy. (Nanometers at this point)
++++
Are you saying that since M = E/C2 then you are not going to get enough bang for the buck? Too much E to get a bit of M? If so, how do you get around that except by the expenditure of time?


40 posted on 08/02/2014 1:24:17 PM PDT by InterceptPoint (Remember Mississippi)
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Ah, now I see how these things work -- Zero Point Modules™

41 posted on 08/02/2014 1:24:59 PM PDT by mikrofon (a/k/a "Zed-Pee-Ems")
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To: ZOOKER

It breaks the law of Physics (conservation of motion).
If it works, our understanding of Physics is WRONG. Everything newer than Newton is suspect...

“Free Momentum” would indeed be a startling finding
The idea that there can be non-conserved momentum is would severely disturb Newton, and all Physicists forward.


42 posted on 08/02/2014 1:26:38 PM PDT by HangnJudge
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I have this uncle who made a Chevy 350 get 200 mpg, then someone killed him.


43 posted on 08/02/2014 1:26:57 PM PDT by DungeonMaster (No one can come to me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.)
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To: stillonaroll

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams


44 posted on 08/02/2014 1:27:28 PM PDT by reg45 (Barack 0bama: Implementing class warfare by having no class.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
quantum vacuum virtual plasma.

Is that how the Fed produces Fedbucks?

45 posted on 08/02/2014 1:29:06 PM PDT by Stentor (Maybe the Goldman Sachs thing is just a coincidence. /S)
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To: wastedyears

I always find it funny too.. Violated laws they know but I am sure their billion of laws yet to be discovered.


46 posted on 08/02/2014 1:48:05 PM PDT by scbison
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The video I’m listening to in another tab had a soundtrack resembling those YT vids purporting to reveal all about some top secret (and often imaginary) project. He should rethink that.

http://cannae.com/about

Here’s Shawyer’s site:

http://www.emdrive.com/

and a paper of his:

http://www.newscientist.com/data/images/ns/av/shawyertheory.pdf


47 posted on 08/02/2014 1:48:52 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: wastedyears

Actual scientists don’t use words like “impossible”.


48 posted on 08/02/2014 1:56:11 PM PDT by RFEngineer
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Build one into a little sattelite, loft it into LEO. See if it can fly itself around or not.

If it can, without expending reaction mass, that's what we want, whether we know how it works or not.

49 posted on 08/02/2014 1:58:21 PM PDT by Lee N. Field ("And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise" Gal 3:29)
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To: cripplecreek

Even small curvature “short cuts” over millions of miles would save much energy.


50 posted on 08/02/2014 1:58:45 PM PDT by mdmathis6
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