Travelling to Mars would never be so easier thanks to NASA’s EM engine which has been trialled
NASA seems to validate its ‘Warp Drive’ by testing it in vacuum and concluding that it may be able travel faster than the speed of light.
Fresh reports from NASASpaceFlight.com states that NASA researchers have been successful in testing their ‘Electromagnetic propulsion Drive’ or the EM Drive in hard vacuum similar to outer space. Further, researchers also say that their experimental Warp drive or EM Drive has the potential to carry passengers to Mars within 10 weeks or say 70 days. Can we conclude that Warp Drive may not be confined to sci fiction anymore and that it may soon become reality?
EM Drive concept has been facing a lot of controversies and one of the major reason is because it violates the fundamental concept of Physics i.e. ‘the law of conservation of momentum’. As per this law, for any object to propel forward there needs to be some kind of external force or propellant which needs to be pushed in opposite direction. Now, in the EM Drive it gets its propulsion by electromagnetic waves rather than any propellant which is essential for thrust as per the law.
It was in 2000s that a British Scientist, Roger Shawyer invented the concept of EM Drive which was thoroughly mocked by the International Space community. However, NASA scientists, on April 29th, confirmed that they have successfully tested the EM Drive in vacuum at Johnson Space Center. In an exclusive interview of Shawyer with IB Times UK, he says: “To put it simply, electricity converts into microwaves within the cavity that push against the inside of the device, causing the thruster to accelerate in the opposite direction.” With his statement he made it pretty clear that his design and concept does not violate the ‘the law of conservation of momentum’.
In 2011, NASA created an exclusive team to work on Advanced propulsion theory, headed by Harod ‘Sonny’ White, an engineer and physicist, the team is unofficially termed as ‘Eagleworks’. After months of persistent study, the researchers at Eaglework finally concluded that the Warp drive “does work” in vacuum.
NASA researchers reported on the forums and explained that basically they had fired lasers in the EM Drive’s resonance chamber, few of the beams traveled at a speed of 300,000 kilometers per second, that is faster than the speed of light. This is an indication that the EM Drive might have actually produced a warp bubble that warps spacetime around it due to which it does not have to actually move faster than speed of light on the contrary due to the warp bubble it has to travel lesser distance. With this concept in mind the NASA researchers have created new designs of their Warp drive and the future researches will be focused on this ‘warp bubble concept’.
Dr White, who leads the Eaglework research group envisages that in recent future a squad can get to Mars within 70 days with the help of a “2 MegaWatt nuclear electric propulsion spacecraft, powered by an EM Drive with a thrust/power input of 0.4 Newton/kW.” All this is possible only in case the scientists at NASA’s Eaglework are able to replicate and verify their EM Drive demonstrations in hard vacuum, which they are planning to do very soon.
That should be a great thing as it would change the entire concept of space travel wherein it would allow us to explore not only our own Solar system but also the neighboring galaxies. The most probable advantage of EM Drive would be saving lots of rocket fuel which would be easier on the pockets and also the mind boggling speed. As per NASA researchers, the Warp drive can carry human beings and their equipment to moon in 4 hours and a trip to Alpha Centauri, the nearest star system to our Solar System which is expected to be reached in tens of thousands of years from now, could be reached in just 92 years.
Shawyer has some other ideas for this EM Drive and he mentioned in his interview: “We will go to Mars, but the most important thing is what EM Drive will do for the rest of the world. It will be solar power stations, city-to-city long-haul flights using hydrogen. It’s green and convenient and will change our world in the next few decades.”
The NASASpaceFlight.com authors conclude: “After consistent reports of thrust measurements from EM Drive experiments in the US, UK, and China – at thrust levels several thousand times in excess of a photon rocket, and now under hard vacuum conditions – the question of where the thrust is coming from deserves serious inquiry”.
NASA’s Warp Drive engine has to undergo repetitive tests and also a peer review before it gets accepted by the International Space Community, till then the concept definitely seems to be promising.