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  1. #1
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    The 'Impossible Thruster' is A Reality

    I'm a few days late on this but I was wanting to see if any additional information popped up to maybe invalidate this. None have.

    It's really starting to look as if an "impossible" space propulsion technology actually works.

    Researchers at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston have found that a microwave thruster system that requires no propellant does indeed generate a small amount of thrust, Wired UK reported Thursday (July 31). If the technology pans out, it could make spaceflight far cheaper and speedier, potentially opening up much of the cosmos to exploration, advocates say.

    "Test results indicate that the RF [radio frequency] 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," the NASA team wrote in their study, which they presented Wednesday (July 30) at the 50th Joint Propulsion Conference in Cleveland. [Superfast Spacecraft Propulsion Concepts (Images)]

    The roots of the propulsion system tested by the NASA team trace back to a British researcher named Roger Shawyer, who claims that his "EmDrive" generates thrust by rocketing microwaves around in a chamber. There is no need for propellant, as solar power can be used to produce the microwaves.

    Shawyer says that his company, Satellite Propulsion Research Ltd., has successfully tested experimental versions of the thruster. But many scientists have dismissed or downplayed such claims, saying the propulsion system violates the law of conservation of momentum, Wired UK reported.

    In 2012, however, a team of Chinese researchers built their own version of the system and found that it does indeed work, generating enough thrust to potentially power a satellite. Then, an American scientist named Guido Fetta constructed his own device, which he calls the "Cannae Drive," and convinced the NASA team — which included warp drive researcher Sonny White — to try it out, which they did over the course of eight days in August 2013.

    The NASA scientists determined that the Cannae Drive produces 30 to 50 micronewtons of thrust — less than 0.1 percent of that measured by the Chinese team, Wired UK noted, but nevertheless suggesting that the technology works.

    The thruster may work by somehow harnessing the subatomic particles that continuously pop into and out of existence, the NASA researchers suggest. The results and the technology are promising enough to warrant further study, they wrote in the study.

    "Future test plans include independent verification and validation at other test facilities," the researchers wrote.
    Source

    Typically this sort of thing needs to be tested by various sources, but for me if NASA says it works then the damn thing works.

    I hope you guys realize what a breakthrough this is. It's not just revolutionary, it's transformative. While the working models now are relatively weak, this will change space travel indefinitely. Once a satellite or shuttle escapes into orbit it can utilize this thruster effectively forever to accelerate or alter its course, not needing to rely on a quantifiable limitation of thruster fuel. This is huge, both in application and also pushing us forward in understanding the quantum world.
    Last edited by Nerevar; 08-04-2014 at 15:34.
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  3. #2
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    This is cool but I was still born too early to be able to explore outer space! I just read something last week that described a few different rocket propulsion systems that could be used but nothing like this.

    Focus. Control. Conviction. Resolve. A true ace lacks none of these attributes. Nothing can deter you from the task at hand except your own fears. This is your sky.

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    If this turns out to be legit, I wonder if NASA will restart the shuttle program.

    Quote Originally Posted by podsaurus View Post
    This is cool but I was still born too early to be able to explore outer space!
    Not true. That's assuming you're going to age and die as we have in the past. Due to the exponential improvements in technology, you'll most likely be able to reverse your aging at some point in your life and then live as long as you want.

    So don't give up hope. You might one day be the next Star-lord!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ixion View Post
    If this turns out to be legit, I wonder if NASA will restart the shuttle program.



    Not true. That's assuming you're going to age and die as we have in the past. Due to the exponential improvements in technology, you'll most likely be able to reverse your aging at some point in your life and then live as long as you want.

    So don't give up hope. You might one day be the next Star-lord!
    Whoa whoa whoa! Reverse aging? I know technology is progressing fast but that still sounds too science fiction-y to me.

    Focus. Control. Conviction. Resolve. A true ace lacks none of these attributes. Nothing can deter you from the task at hand except your own fears. This is your sky.

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    Not any time soon. The amount of thrust they got was less than a human fart.

  8. #6
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    Makes me think of what the Wright brothers achieved and looking at what we have now, to think what this can mean to the future is insane.




  9. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by podsaurus View Post
    This is cool but I was still born too early to be able to explore outer space! I just read something last week that described a few different rocket propulsion systems that could be used but nothing like this.
    You don't need to live long enough for sufficient space travel; you only need to live long enough for science to achieve immortality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ixion View Post
    If this turns out to be legit, I wonder if NASA will restart the shuttle program.
    We need a new program regardless, but that's up to the Government to issue the funding. NASA has a project to put a person on Mars by 2030 but they need more funding to accomplish it. Unless they can use the technology to kill people the US Government doesn't usually care.

    Quote Originally Posted by keefy View Post
    Not any time soon. The amount of thrust they got was less than a human fart.
    No one expects it to be used tomorrow. It's a joy the technology even works, and it will only become more efficient with time. The first rockets only flew a few feet.

    The current model is incredibly weak. It would take 5.2 years to move a 5 tonne satellite one meter at 30 micronewtons (1 x 10^-6 * 30 = 0.00003 newtons, 1 second / 0.00003 = 9.25926 hours to move one kg * 5,000 = 46296.3 hours). Give this another decade of research and testing and it will likely become feasible.
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  10. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by podsaurus View Post
    Whoa whoa whoa! Reverse aging? I know technology is progressing fast but that still sounds too science fiction-y to me.
    Check out this article.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerevar View Post
    Unless they can use the technology to kill people the US Government doesn't usually care.
    What about killing aliens?

    Also, does the UN have some type of agreement regarding land on the Moon, Mars, etc? For example, if the US is the first country to start inhabiting Mars, can we potentially lay claim to the whole planet? If so, I'd think that would be worthy motivation. But I'm assuming it's more complicated than that.

  11. #9
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    It's internationally agreed that space is the domain of all of mankind. No, you can't lay claim to celestial bodies. The only thing any country owns is the devices they send into space, nothing more. In the case of a shuttle it counts as sovereign territory (so you can't murder someone in space and just get away with it).

    Revisions will certainly come once space mining becomes a thing (it's a lucrative business just waiting for the right investors to start it). Some sort of temporal domain will need to exist to maintain policies.
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