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posted by takyon on Friday May 01 2015, @06:00PM   Printer-friendly
from the newtons-per-kilowatt dept.

An article at is claiming that the superficially reactionless EmDrive has again been tested at NASA Eagleworks, this time in hard vacuum, and the anomalous thrust is still being detected:

A group at NASA's Johnson Space Center has successfully tested an electromagnetic (EM) propulsion drive in a vacuum – a major breakthrough for a multi-year international effort comprising several competing research teams. Thrust measurements of the EM Drive defy classical physics' expectations that such a closed (microwave) cavity should be unusable for space propulsion because of the law of conservation of momentum.

With the popular explanations of thermal convection or atmospheric ionization being ruled out by operation in vacuum, and thrust thousands of times greater than expected from a photon rocket, is it time to start taking the EM Drive seriously as a fundamentally new form of propulsion, and possibly a door to new physics?

Roger Shawyer, the inventor of the EmDrive, claims that the device's efficiency will scale even further with greater levels of power, potentially enabling fast interstellar travel powered by a radioisotope thermoelectric generator or nuclear fission.

Previously: NASA Validates "Impossible" Space Drive's Thrust

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  • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Saturday May 02 2015, @05:52AM

    by PiMuNu (3823) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 02 2015, @05:52AM (#177779)

    The difference is, we now know how lots of stuff works and this is different to all of that. So it's like putting wood on the caveman's fire and the fire goes out - it is in contravention to everything he knows.

    Except now, all you have is someone "telling" you that it is wood... then you have to be very careful and make sure you check very thoroughly both the claim that it is wood, and the claim that the fire goes out.

    Especially when people come up with this sort of crap every other day and try to sell it for $$$.

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  • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Saturday May 02 2015, @06:24AM

    by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 02 2015, @06:24AM (#177785) Journal

    Except that the post I replied to was already in the hypothetical situation that we are using it for going to Mars. Which certainly implies that in that hypothetical scenario the drive works, because if it didn't work, it certainly would be noticeable when trying to use it to get to Mars.

    I agree that at the present point in time it is reasonable to be sceptical. There's a good chance that it is indeed snake oil. However should the drive ever be regularly used in space ships, it will be a safe assumption that it works, or else someone would have noticed by then.

    The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.