An initially sceptical NASA decided to test a widely criticised concept from inventor Roger Sawyer — even though established thinking said it wouldn’t work.
The engine appears to produce propulsion through electricity. And nothing else.
The usual expectation is that thrusters need to eject some kind of mass in order for the old law of physics “equal and opposite reactions” to kick in. For example rocket propellant is burnt and ejected from a thruster in order to propel a rocket upwards.
WHERE WOULD IT GO? The search for Earth 2.0
It’s the major problem all rocket scientists face: How to get the maximum thrust from a minimum weight of fuel.
This does not appear to be the case when it comes to quantum vacuum plasma thrusters — or microwave drives.
If proven, the engine would have significant implications for the space program.
Solar panels would provide satellites with all the energy they need to constantly adjust their orbits — boosting the life of such expensive devices significantly.
NASA’s Harold White — who is leading research into “warp drives” — has previously said engines such as this microwave drive have the potential to propel humanity to the closest star to the sun, Proxima Centauri. It could reach the red dwarf star, some 4.2 light years away, within 30 years.
But NASA has gathered a pool of data suggesting it does.
It’s not a huge result: In fact, the thrust appears to be tiny — leading to some suggestion the experiment itself is flawed.
But the original microwave drive inventor has taken the opposite stance, saying NASA’s experiment produced far lower thrust outputs than his own.
Perhaps they should listen: Roger Sawyer has been met by largely deaf ears for the past decade as he attempted to extol the merits of his new drive.
While criticism of his concept was abundant, nobody has managed to prove it wrong.
Behind it all is some pretty speculative quantum physics.
At the tiniest of all known scales, the universe does not seem to obey its own rules.
One of the concepts this drive claims to exploit is an effect called quantum vacuum fluctuation: Where particles spontaneously create themselves in the vacuum of space, before quickly blinking out of existence again.
Somehow, these rare — here one minute, gone the next — particles are being captured and turned into plasma inside the microwave drive. This plasma, when directed, imparts thrust.
If true, it’s a source of fuel delivered direct to the engine — without weighty or dangerous fuel tanks.
And it’s constantly re-creating itself.
Too good to be true?
news.com.au 4 Aug 2014
So now NASA can implement this technology to give everyone free energy!