Tuesday, November 03, 2015

You're Kidding Me, Right?

NASA confirms that the ‘impossible’ EmDrive thruster really works, after new tests

What the article says is not exactly what the headline implies--"really works" is quite imprecise. What NASA says is this:
Though no official peer-reviewed lab paper has been published yet, and NASA institutes strict press release restrictions on the Eagleworks lab these days, engineer Paul March took to the NASA Spaceflight forum to explain the group’s findings. In essence, by utilizing an improved experimental procedure, the team managed to mitigate some of the errors from prior tests — yet still found signals of unexplained thrust.

If you're wondering what the hell the EMDRive thruster actually is, here's a description:
Flying in the face of traditional laws of physics, the EmDrive makes use of a magnetron and microwaves to create a propellant-less propulsion system. By pushing microwaves into a closed, truncated cone and back towards the small end of said cone, the drive creates the momentum and force necessary to propel a craft forward. Because the system is a reaction-less drive, it goes against humankind’s fundamental comprehension of physics, hence its controversial nature.

I assumed from the beginning that this was just a dirty measurement issue, and that as soon as it was cleaned up, there would be a perfectly logical explanation for this.

I can't even pretend to understand how huge this will be if it's real.

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