Impossible EmDrive Validated by NASA and Other Science


The problem with powering spaceships that could travel to other stars is that the amount of fuel needed would be incredibly large. An EmDrive could avoid that.

A space drive that did not burn anything would be a fantastic discovery that could make Star Trek-type ships possible. New work by NASA and others looks promising.

Science and technology are developing so quickly that there are at a minimum 100 peer-reviewed science journals. No one can keep track of all of them but with 60 years studying science I can at least interpret some of the more interesting discoveries and summarize them here.

If one seems just too boring to bother with please skip ahead there are others and some will probably interest you.

Electric Spaceship Drive (EmDrive)

One slightly unusual announcement on the daily MS clickbait feed was an Australian engineer formerly with NASA who claims his company has built a space drive that requires no reaction mass.

All existing propulsion systems rely on one of Newton’s Laws for every action there is a reaction which means pushing something out the back makes the device move forward.

Dr. Charles Buhler, a former NASA engineer and the co-founder of Exodus Propulsion Technologies recently said their device works. This is not the drive being tested by NASA and has yet to be independently studied.

That was click-bait on Bing but when I looked up the company I found they had discontinued research on that supposedly critical project several years ago to make some money.

Apparently, they have since returned to the project.

emdrive illustration. image from CC youtube video
emdrive illustration. image from CC youtube video. vQKjOP3GyoQ

NASA is working on an EmDrive which requires no mass ejection. In 2001 British physicist Roger Shawyer proposed a space drive that relied on bouncing microwaves around in some complicated way.

A closely related Mach Effect drive was designed and built by physics professor James Woodward and a few colleagues. It was invented with a NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts grant. It is similar and relies on a little known aspect of Einstein’s relativity theory.

Another microwave drive built by US scientist, Guido Fetta is also undergoing testing.

These drives seem to work and are being tested extensively despite violating many rules of traditional physics, apparently by scientists who have forgotten both Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, both of which violate most earlier rules of physics. If any of them work then a nuclear power supply producing electricity in a sealed system could propel space vehicles practically forever to Mars and back, to Pluto, or to Proxima Centauri (about 4.5 light years distant).

So far the force developed by any of these proposed drives is tiny but constant which is all that’s required since the velocity created is cumulative and could eventually come near to the speed of light where relativistic events occur such as slowing aging of any passengers.

Recently a team in China seems to have built a working EmDrive and NASA appears to have confirmed that it works.

CMS Collaboration observes new all-heavy quark structures reports

For over a decade, the CMS Collaboration, a large team of researchers based at different institutes worldwide, has been analyzing data collected at the Compact Muon Solenoid, a general-purpose particle detector at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

“This large-scale international scientific collaboration has been trying to observe various elusive physical phenomena, including exotic particles and dark matter candidates.”

What do the recently observed new heavy quark structures mean to you and me?

As someone who actually studied particle physics and quantum mechanics you might expect me to now explain what that means to the average person. Well, except for people at the LHC looking for something to do with the largest machine ever made now that the Higgs Boson was discovered, I can tell you it is essentially nonsense to you or even me.

Evaporate Water With Light

But how about this?

PNAS, source for my favorite free light reading publications:
“Photomolecular effect: Visible light interaction with air-water interface.” Translated to human speak that means light can cause water to evaporate even without heating it up.

That might seem at least as useless as learning how heavy quarks decide to hang out in super-colliders but it could be incredibly important because evaporating water is also about distilling it which means you can get drinking water from contaminated or just plain salty sea water.

We can do that now but it takes a lot of energy to do it and finding a way to do it without generating very expensive (and often polluting) heat could make desalination and even dehydrating nuclear waste practical (thereby reducing its volume).

This was discovered and called the “photomolecular effect” last year but that original discovery required incredibly specific hydrogel interfaces with very limited usefulness but MIT researchers described in the PNAS publication that they found this brand new discovery would also work on any flat water surface or even on water droplets which means it can have implications for climate change (water vapor is a major greenhouse pollutant) or how fog disperses, even how clouds work.

That’s it for today but if you like this or at least share it I may be able to talk the editor here to let me write another next week.

BTW, although I made fun of the quark discovery all basic research is important because there is no way to know in advance what may eventually result from such discoveries.

For example, Edison repeatedly campaigned against alternating current in favor of his DC system.

At first it seemed they were relatively equal systems although the Edison system required power plants every few miles at the least because DC voltage is hard to transmit.

Then nearly forgotten genius Nicola Tesla (yes the car was named in his honor despite the cars using DC electricity) invented little things like transformers (look at the top of some electric poles, those are the gray cans which make it possible to transmit AC current long distances) and other little things like the electric motors you see in fans, refrigerators, and thousands of other useful gadgets which made AC the best system and, along the way, essentially created the last century.