German scientists have confirmed that an Electromagnetic Propulsion Engine, claimed by some to be 'impossible', actually works.
The EM Drive breaks the conservation of momentum law of physics, which is why it was originally widely ridiculed by the scientific community. However after repeated testing, it appears that the engine is actually producing thrust. Claims earlier in the year that it was creating a warp field have now been refuted.
It is propelled forward by microwaves bouncing around inside a closed chamber. It will supposedly be able to get us to Mars in just 70 days, without using expensive rocket fuel.
Martin Tajmar, the German scientist who has been independently testing the EM Drive, has a history of debunking experimental propulsion systems. So far, the drive appears to work, even in a vacuum. More testing is required to examine exactly how it works, and whether it is viable for use.
If it does end up being used, it could spark new space exploration missions to Pluto, where New Horizons recently found flowing ice.
El año pasado pasaba esto al respecto:
Nasa validates 'impossible' space drive
The Nasa team based at the Johnson Space Centre gave its paper the title "Anomalous Thrust Production from an RF [radio frequency] Test Device Measured on a Low-Thrust Torsion Pendulum". The five researchers spent six days setting up test equipment followed by two days of experiments with various configurations. These tests included using a "null drive" similar to the live version but modified so it would not work, and using a device which would produce the same load on the apparatus to establish whether the effect might be produced by some effect unrelated to the actual drive. They also turned the drive around the other way to check whether that had any effect.
According to good scientific practice, an independent third party needed to replicate Shawyer's results. As Wired.co.uk reported, this happened last year when a Chinese team built its own EmDrive and confirmed that it produced 720 mN (about 72 grams) of thrust, enough for a practical satellite thruster. Such a thruster could be powered by solar electricity, eliminating the need for the supply of propellant that occupies up to half the launch mass of many satellites. The Chinese work attracted little attention; it seems that nobody in the West believed in it.
Interesante que un motor de iones andaría alrededor de los 70 mN y encima gasta combustible. Habrá que ver como sigue la historieta ésta.