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EMDrive: NASA paper says ‘impossible drive’ seems to work

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

Author | Hadlee Simons

Hadlee Simons
Terrible puns make Hadlee Simons difficult to work with, but he brings over seven years of tech journalism experience to the table. When he's not at work or watching motorsport, he's in the foetal position on a jiu jitsu mat. More
  • Terence Sperringer

    Newton’s third law is: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The statement means that in every interaction, there is a pair of forces acting on the two interacting objects. The size of the forces on the first object equals the size of the force on the second object. Newton’s third law may still be in play but we are missing something else in play that we are not fully understanding.

  • Jim Lunsford

    For people like me, what we are missing is most of it. lol Have heard a little about this before, but so little that this is the most I’ve heard to date. Pretty interesting. Now I have to learn more!