In order to ensure the survival of the human race, humanity needs to colonize other planets. A similar sentiment has been expressed by Stephen Hawking claiming that: “…long term future of the human race must be space and that it represents an important life insurance for our future survival…” As important as colonizing is, there are still many parts that need to come together to make it happen. The most important being how to safely and efficiently travel through space.
The obvious planet to colonize has been Mars. However at least 34 million miles separate Mars and Earth during their orbits around the sun. That’s quite a tall order to fill, since fuel and weight management is one of the harder things to do. But, what if there was an engine that used no fuel, had no moving parts, and had no emissions? There would be no propulsion then; just thrust.
This ‘magic’ engine would effectively eliminate that pesky need for heavy finite fuel, while managing to launch with nothing more than enough solar panels to keep moving. Sounds too good to be true? It just might be, but if it works it would revolutionize space flight!
Originally created by Roger Shawyer, the invention (Patent application GB 2399601A) claims the drive works by bouncing microwaves around a sealed metal container in such a way that thrust is created at one end.
If this works, then the invention is all set to break the fundamental laws of physics, specifically conservation of energy and momentum.
So what does NASA have to say about this?
While the EM Drive was quickly shot down by various scientists, there are papers from NASA that validate the possibility of such a mechanism. Now this may sound like a stamp of validation from a renowned and trusted government agency. But it must be noted that NASA tends to have many people and experiments working at any given time. With so many things going on NASA is capable of being wrong, especially since the supposed validating papers weren’t published by the main NASA party.
This aside, I believe that this engine should go through thorough degrees of testing. Currently, the actual testing has seen results just above the margin of error. It’s not enough to say it works outright, but not low enough to say it doesn’t. That’s why a battery of robust tests would do well to ensure that this miracle technology would in fact help save the human race, or if the results were just a byproduct of experimental errors.
(Featured image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/133759951@N05/19476019176)