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NASA Space

NASA Tests Microwave Space Drive 201

schwit1 (797399) writes with news that NASA scientists have tested the EmDrive, which claims to use quantum vacuum plasma for propulsion. Theoretically improbable, but perhaps possible after all. If it does work, it would eliminate the need for expendable fuel (just add electricity). From the article:Either the results are completely wrong, or NASA has confirmed a major breakthrough in space propulsion. A working microwave thruster would radically cut the cost of satellites and space stations and extend their working life, drive deep-space missions, and take astronauts to Mars in weeks rather than months. ... [According to the researchers] "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." Skepticism is certainly warranted: NASA researchers were only able to produce about 1/1000th of the force the Chinese researchers reported. But they were careful to avoid false sensor readings, so something is going on. The paper declined to comment on what that could be, leaving the physics of the system an open problem.
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NASA Tests Microwave Space Drive

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  • Ugh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 01, 2014 @08:19AM (#47580421)

    Don't be deceived by vacuum chamber: the device was placed inside a chamber designed to be evacuated, but the experiments were conducted at atmospheric pressure. Ionization effects of air were not considered, and to demonstrate force at pressure and not in vacuum does nothing to establish the utility of such apparatus for extra-atmospheric purposes.

  • Re:Zaphod? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Prof.Phreak ( 584152 ) on Friday August 01, 2014 @08:23AM (#47580447) Homepage

    ``anything not explicitly forbidden, is mandatory!'' ---someone commenting on quantum mechanics.

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