Several years ago, a controversial propulsion method was devised by Roger Shawyer, dubbed EMDrive. This “impossible” form of propulsion claimed to bounce microwaves to generate a small amount of thrust.
Now, NASA’s paper on the matter has been peer-reviewed and published – so what did the space agency make of the technology? Well, it seems like the EMDrive is the real deal to them.
“Thrust data from forward, reverse, and null suggested that the system was consistently performing at 1.2±0.1 mN/kW1.2±0.1 mN/kW, which was very close to the average impulsive performance measured in air,” the paper noted.
The EMDrive has been the subject of intense scrutiny, as it apparently breaks Newton’s Third Law
“The 1.2 mN/kW1.2 mN/kW performance parameter is over two orders of magnitude higher than other forms of ‘zero-propellant’ propulsion’, such as light sails, laser propulsion and photon rockets…” it concluded.
“The test campaign included a null thrust test effort to identify any mundane sources of impulsive thrust; however, none were identified,” the team added.
If extensively and successfully tested, the EMDrive could potentially open the door for more innovative spacecraft, as the craft wouldn’t need to carry much, if any propellant.
Featured image: EMDrive.com