What Makes the EmDrive Thruster Work?

EmDrive ThrusterA New Rocket Engine Design? It’s official. NASA recently confirmed the EmDrive Thuster actually works, supplying 720 milliNewtons of thrust. The thrust was reported in a report issued by NASA. But here’s the funny thing. NASA reported that “not attributable to any classical electromagnetic phenomenon.”

 

rocket mass productionHuh? Asked for more explanation as to why the EmDrive Thruster works, the report explains, “it just does.”  The EmDrive concept is simple. Send microwaves into a conical design (think dunce cap). The microwaves will bounce around and there’ll be a net thrust. Except, that violates the laws of physics. You can’t have a force (thrust) without an equal and opposite force. Microwaves have no mass.

nebulaHow can this be? Now, there are some theories floating around, as scientists are not exactly the type to let unanswered scientific questions lying around. As best I can tell, the leading theory suggests it works by, “creating a virtual plasma toroid that could realize net thrust using magnetohydrodynamic forces acting upon quantum vacuum fluctuations.” Well, that’s a mouthful.
exploring spaceHere’s what I think. The microwaves, traveling at the speed of light back and forth within the toroid, cause a warp of space-time. This warp ends up with an appearance of thrust. But it’s space that’s moving, not the engine. Aerospace engineer Roger Shawyer suggests it’s radiation pressure from the different space-time references being generated. Maybe so, but I’m wondering if some kind of test can be designed to measure the bend of space when the EmDrive is powered up. Maybe this is the first step to the warp drives we see in moves like Star Trek and Star Wars.

2 comments: On What Makes the EmDrive Thruster Work?

  • Are you hoping someone steals this for a thesis?

    • Good point! It does make me wonder how a scientist could possibly set up an experiment to obtain evidence that it is indeed the warping of space that is causing the illusion of thrust. I’m not sure it’s possible. It’s like if you were blindfolded, given a sedative, and woke up later in a small room. You look around, pick up a ball, and then drop the ball. The ball falls. Everything seems normal. Are you moving? There’s no way to know, no reference point. And the point about the small room is, the double doors open and you discover you’re in a rapidly descending elevator. But how could you prove that without the elevator doors opening? Now, if some physics Ph.D. student can figure that out, I’d certainly write about it!
      Thanks for the comment!

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