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Sci-Fi in Real Life? NASA’s Controversial EM Drive for Human Transportation to Mars to be Tested in Space Soon

Sep 08, 2016 04:53 AM EDT
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A "warp drive" could transport humans to Mars in just 10 weeks. While critics and skeptics alike were quick to claim that the idea is nothing but the stuff of science fiction, NASA has seemed to be clearing all the challenges in making it a reality.

Just recently, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) has confirmed that it has accepted a paper on the controversial warp drive known as the EM Drive.

An AIAA representative said that the paper on the EM Drive will be published in the AIAA Journal of Propulsion and Power in December 2016, International Business Times reports. According to the report, scientist José Rodal posted on the NASA Spaceflight Forum on Aug. 30, saying that the paper written by NASA Eagleworks Laboratories has passed the peer review process.

In the comment, which has since been deleted, Rodal included the title of the paper ("Measurement of Impulsive Thrust from a Closed Radio Frequency Cavity in Vacuum") and the authors. He also included excerpts from the paper, which is believed to be taken from the abstract: "Thrust data in mode shape TM212 at less than 8106 Torr environment, from forward, reverse and null tests suggests that the system is consistently performing with a thrust to power ratio of 1.2 +/- 0.1 mN/Kw ()"

Guido Fetta, inventor of the Cannae Drive, which is a version of the EM Drive, announced on Aug. 17 that the Cannae engine will be launching into space on board a 6U CubeSat to be tested in orbit. Fetta formed a new company, Theseus Space Inc., to commercialize the thruster technology to be used in the deployment to test whether Cannae drive could generate thrust in vacuum.

The EM Drive or electromagnetic propulsion drive uses magnetic waves to create thrust by bouncing microwave photons within a closed cone-shaped metal vessel. The microwaves gather electricity via solar power, and it does not require a propellant.

The EM Drive was invented by British scientist Roger Shawyer in 1999 based on the theory of special relativity. Critics of Shawyer's concept said that the idea was impossible since a thruster would require a propellant expelled in the opposite direction to gain momentum, and EM Drive has a closed system.

NASA Eagleworks is the experimental laboratory that investigates EM Drive and other theories in advanced propulsion physics. Last year, tests on the EM Drive by scientists at the Eagleworks lab revealed anomalous thrust signals.

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