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EmDrive  (Source:
It's a a propellantless microwave thruster that defies Newton's laws of motion

Chinese scientists have taken on a heavily criticized space drive idea that could one day launch satellites, deep space probes and even flying cars.

The research team hails from Northwestern Polytechnic University in Xi'an, and was led by Yang Juan. What they developed was a propellantless microwave thruster called EmDrive, which is a controversial idea because it goes against Newton's laws of motion -- and many have claimed to create a "propellantless" thruster before and failed.

Newton's laws of motion are all based on the idea that firing propellant out of the back at a high speed will push a craft forward. While solar cells offer infinite power, thrust is limited by propellant. Many have tried to get around this, but several scams have made this particular field a joke in the scientific world.

While space drives tend to rely on Newton's laws of motion, the EmDrive is a closed, conical container that has a net thrust toward the wide end when filled with resonating microwaves. This goes against Newton, who said that no closed system could have a net thrust. However, EmDrive works because the microwaves have a group velocity (the speed of a collection of electromagnetic waves) that is greater in one direction than the other -- which is where Albert Einstein's theory of relativity comes in.

British engineer Robert Shaywer, who began looking at the concept of a propellantless thruster when he opened his own company called Satellite Propulsion Research in 2001, is the original creator of the EmDrive. He made demonstration thrusters to prove it could be done, and even made sure the test results were accurate (meaning, the results weren't affected by friction, ionization, air currents, electromagnetic effects or interference). The first, made in 2003, had a thrust of 16 mN. This was enough to show it could be done.

However, he received a ton of criticism for his idea and was ridiculed in his own country. But the Chinese team at Northwestern Polytechnic University believed in his research and took the project head on to author the latest study, "Net Thrust Measurement of Propellantless Microwave Thruster."

The Northwestern Polytechnic University team was able to create the EmDrive with 720 mN of thrust with a couple of kilowatts of power.

So what purpose does EmDrive have? It could halve launch costs of satellites because as much as half the launch weight of these objects are attributed to propellant.

Shawyer is even working on a superconducting thruster that could be ready as soon as 2016. It would boost the Q value of the cavity, which determines the amount of thrust produced. He said it could be boosted by a factor of several thousand, possibly equating to a tonne of thrust per kilowatt of power.

Source: Wired

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RE: Game changing...
By Shadowself on 2/10/2013 9:20:23 PM , Rating: 4
I often tell myself that it's just not fair to beat up on someone who does not know of which he is talking, but I just can't help myself...

It's hard to imagine... the world without airplanes, cell phones, computers, etc. Yet it wasn't very long ago that all of these things were impossible.
Name one person in the legitimate scientific community within the last 150 years that said these things were impossible. Hell, within the last 200 years! It's the very, very often wrong "common wisdom" that perpetuates these myths and way too many believe them even when the science community says they are pure BS.

Einstein's theories seem as flawed as any.
Which theories? Verified, reproduced data to back up such a claim? Just one more myth being perpetuated!

Math itself seems to fail whenever it tries to calculate the infinite and incalculable. Yet it tries to be the language in which we understand the laws of the infinite universe.
Every heard of the math related to abfinite, transfinite, infinite and even beyond infinite? Did you know there is even a class of numbers that are greater than infinity? Do you have *any* idea about which you are spewing utter crap? Besides the universe, as best the scientific community understands it, may not be infinite! We can only measure just so far. No one knows how far it goes. Postulating that it *might* be infinite is purely a guess. It has no basis in scientific theory or fact. None.

Before math, we used philosophy.
Yes, like 5,000 years ago. We've come a long way since then.

As time has passed, I have almost begun to lose that faith... is it too much to hope that maybe this will indeed begin the space race? Will it be enough to end our chemical dependence?
Only if they do the experiments and reporting correctly AND it proves to be legitimate. Right now it is all radical claims with extremely little to back it up.

RE: Game changing...
By wordsworm on 2/11/13, Rating: -1
RE: Game changing...
By Shadowself on 2/11/2013 9:49:13 PM , Rating: 1
Oh this is just too easy...

Oh, it's fine. I'm not offended. When science has finished calculating pi, let me know. When calculators can figure out the answer to 1/0, I'll also be equally impressed.
Science knows exactly the value of pi. Just because it is an irrational number does NOT mean we don't know what the value is. Sure, it cannot be written down in closed form in base 10 numerals, but that does not mean we don't know what it is exactly. Similarly, it is known what "1/0" is. In reality we need to know what limit you use to approach that value, but it can be known if the conditions for its evaluation are know.

Both of these comments by you show you have extremely little grasp of how mathematics works. Do you even know either of the two assumptions upon which all modern mathematics are based? Probably not. Did you know that you can derive our entire mathematical system from a single, extremely simple assumption? You probably will retort that since mathematics to work there must be an assumption made therefore the entire system is flawed. Not so. Everything -- literally everything -- requires at least one assumption. Even your ability to read this is an assumption on my part.

I could explain the flaws in some of Einstein's theories, but it's unlikely you would understand if I told you. It would probably go over your head. So, if you don't mind, I'll save my breath.
Since I've done work in field theories and uncountably infinite dimensional spaces and mapping from multi dimensional fields to finite fields, I doubt anything you say will be beyond me. Sure, it's possible, but extremely unlikely. I've worked with people like Kip Thorne, Dave Schram, and Richard Price. Have you? Do you even know who they are/were?

Philosophy has and still guides the fringes of science today. Aristotle is the father of science, and his teacher was Plato, the famous philosopher. The famous minds of today are trying to use physics to answer the major metaphysics questions which were being thought about by Socrates himself.
This one is so laughable, I'm not sure where to start. Science does not try to explain "metaphysics". Never has, never will. Are there things for which science has no viable theory? Yes. Will science ever have a viable theory for those things? Probably. Things either fit within science or they are a belief. There is no middle ground. You can come up with a theory about *how* something works, then test that theory. The theory is either supported by the experiment or not. There is really no "maybe". However, there is often a LOT of "we don't know". True implementations of the scientific method (NOT the "common wisdom" of what the scientific method is, but the real method) are quite stringent.
Observe a Law.
Make a theory to try to explain HOW the Law works.
Test that theory.
Rinse and repeat.

It took two bicycle mechanics to prove that flight was possible in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence that doing such a thing was impossible. It wasn't long ago, either, when scientists suggested it was impossible to surpass the speed of sound. Just read a little science history and you'll see where those comments came from.
Again, I'm amazed at such drivel. No one in the scientific community of the time thought flying was impossible. No one. Some said that the engineering requirements were beyond the day's technology. Some even said that it would be decades before someone figured it out. However, no one in the scientific community said it was impossible. Just another myth that people spout when they don't want to try to understand science or the scientific community. --- Besides, check the backgound on your statement out more carefully. There are several -- yes, several -- claims that others did it first both within the U.S. and in Europe. The Wright brother may have been the first, maybe not. They were absolutely the most famous.

It wasn't long ago, either, when scientists suggested it was impossible to surpass the speed of sound.
No one – NO ONE – in the scientific community thought going faster than the speed of sound was impossible. Impractical, maybe. Not with that day’s technology, probably. Impossible? NO! Yes, there were myths to that effect. Yes, the “common wisdom” running amuck supported this stupid premise. But any scientist needed to only look at things in the real world to see that things can go faster than the speed of sound. There are so many examples it’s ludicrous. Just another stupid myth.

Now, they have a working model which proves that it works. What else do you want?
They have a model that PROVES nothing. There are a LOT of unanswered questions. Many of those questions they are pointedly refusing to answer. They are not implementing any of the safeguards into their experiment to make it more credible and verifiable. When they publish exactly how it is done and then *several* independent labs verify it, then you'll have your proof.

If Newton's scientific laws are being broken by the device, then it becomes clear that those laws were man made, and had nothing to do with the laws of the universe.
Again, Newton didn't come up with any Laws. He, and millions of people before him, made observations of what was already going on. Newton was just one of the first to formulate a theory of HOW it worked.

No scientific laws are man made. They may be recorded by man, but the events and actions about which those recordings are made are not "man made".

There is nothing shown in the published documents or public statements by these "researchers" that makes any credible scientific authority agree that they have certainly found something new. It is possible they have. They just haven't given anywhere near enough information to evaluate it properly. As it runs contrary to decades and decades of experiments reproduced by thousands of scientists, the general consensus is -- and will continue to be -- that this does not work.

All these researchers need to do to prove their statements is come clean and tell everything. Until then, it is not credible.

You don't say, "I have an infinite energy source right here in this box.", and then let no one see inside the box. That is not going to be credible -- ever!

RE: Game changing...
By wordsworm on 2/16/2013 2:44:54 AM , Rating: 2
Science does not know the value of pi. You have to use a word to describe it. In math, you have to round it somewhere. Math doesn't deal well with the infinite, while the universe and the energy and matter within it are. The scientific community is always trying to cram the universe into finite space.

Math is a language that cannot calculate much more than basic geometry and pennies in a bank. It has been fairly effective for a number of things, and in many instances it's the best tool we have. But at the same time, we have to recognize its limitations.

I have no idea who the people are you mentioned. There are a million names in the world worth remembering. I'm not about to begin figuring out who each of them is or how they're important.

Metaphysics... well, maybe you never got around to watching Stephen Hawking's Universe. The first words out of his mouth were "Where do we come from? How did the universe begin? Why is the universe the way it is? How will it end?" These are questions which are philosophical and more specifically metaphysical. They're good questions. Your problem is that you don't seem to know very much about science history, its origins in philosophy, the effects of philosophy on science.

You might find these branches interesting. But, you might also burn those books. I know that's what folks of faith tend to do when they hear heresy.

In any case, the reason the scientific community fears a device like this is that it would make them look like fools. It's one thing to uproot a theory, but to disprove laws of motion? That would be monumental. If this device works, and is developed and used for space transportation, we will see a fundamental shift in space travel which will rival our discovery of propellant. Going to Mars? No problem... it would take just a few months. Having a hard time funding the space station because of the constant necessity of having to use propellant? No longer required. Just upgrade it with one of these gadgets and it could be used to travel to inner planets.

And you? Well, continue shaking your head in disbelief. It might even be possible to use this device to break the speed of light, which would really make you irate.

RE: Game changing...
By Skywalker123 on 2/11/2013 10:07:11 AM , Rating: 2
Name one person in the legitimate scientific community within the last 150 years that said these things were impossible. Hell, within the last 200 years! It's the very, very often wrong "common wisdom" that perpetuates these myths and way too many believe them even when the science community says they are pure BS.

Lord Kelvin,"Radio has no future.","There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now, All that remains is more and more precise measurement.","X-rays will prove to be a hoax." and many, many others.

RE: Game changing...
By wordsworm on 2/11/2013 2:56:29 PM , Rating: 1
I think most people believe in science in much the same way as some believe in religions. They often don't understand science at all. Often they try to define scientific theory without understanding what it means. They see a name like Einstein and believe everything that remains of him. The way I look at him is that he discovered some very important theories which are applicable to light and (where I differ with him, using my own words) how relative velocities distort the visual representation of time.

RE: Game changing...
By Shadowself on 2/11/2013 9:50:56 PM , Rating: 2
I see you said that he claimed it had no future. You did NOT say he claimed it was IMPOSSIBLE. Big difference.

RE: Game changing...
By Skywalker123 on 2/11/2013 11:50:51 PM , Rating: 1
Cmon, there are plenty more examples and you as an "expert" should know that

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

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