Friday, October 19, 2018
Contact us    |    Advertise    |   Help    |   Cookie Policy    |   Privacy Policy    RSS icon Twitter icon Facebook icon
    Home  ·  News  ·  Forum  ·  Stories  ·  Image Gallery  ·  Columns  ·  Encyclopedia  ·  Videos
Find: in

How does NASA's EmDrive actually work ?

Posted on Friday, 22 April, 2016 | Comment icon 24 comments

The EmDrive could revolutionize space travel. Image Credit: NASA / Mark Rademaker
Scientists have been coming up with new ideas to explain how the controversial propulsion system works.
The electromagnetic propulsion engine, which some scientists believe could herald a new era of spaceflight by replacing conventional chemical rocket engines, has been a hot topic recently.

EmDrive allegedly works by converting electrical power in to thrust without the need for propellant through a process that scientists argue is in direct violation of the laws of physics.

Now in a renewed effort to understand exactly what is going on inside the controversial engine, researchers have been mulling over possible explanations for its peculiar behavior.

One new hypothesis, which has been presented by Mike McCulloch from Plymouth University, suggests that the anomalous propulsion being generated by the drive is the result of something known as "the Unruh effect" which asserts that an accelerating observer will see black-body radiation where a stationary observer will see none.

In other words, the universe warms up when you accelerate and, according to McCulloch, the inertia is the pressure that this Unruh radiation is exerting on the accelerating body.

"At very small accelerations, the wavelengths of Unruh radiation become so large they can no longer fit in the observable universe," he said.

"When this happens, inertia can take only certain whole-wavelength values and so jumps from one value to the next. In other words, inertia must [be] quantised at small accelerations."

Whether this turns out to be what is causing the EmDrive's thrust however remains to be seen.

Source: Science Alert | Comments (24)

Tags: EmDrive, NASA

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #15 Posted by Skulduggery on 22 April, 2016, 22:06
Me too. They are on the right track. The concept is a good one.
Comment icon #16 Posted by Vox on 22 April, 2016, 22:40
See? That's the problem when you reverse engineer Alien Tech which you are dying to try out but need to have a conventional answer as to how it works so that the world doesn't go into meltdown Sarcastic mode: OFF
Comment icon #17 Posted by DieChecker on 23 April, 2016, 5:08
So... The microwaves bounce around inside the chamber, and the shape of the chamber causes the microwaves to interact with the virtual particles (providing thrust) in only one direction? Is the shape of the chamber scalable? Or does only the one very specific sized chamber work?
Comment icon #18 Posted by drewiduk on 23 April, 2016, 7:32
This is great, the laws of physics have been defined by humans, anything that pushes these boundaries will lead to new thinking and progression of science
Comment icon #19 Posted by Maars on 23 April, 2016, 9:15
Stupid question: How can they speculate on how it works if it has not been built yet?
Comment icon #20 Posted by herbygant on 23 April, 2016, 15:25
Let's reinvent the flying saucer, which never existed, right?
Comment icon #21 Posted by QSTR on 24 April, 2016, 0:00
Could it be as simple as when the microwaves hits the back of the chamber it provides a little punch/kick which create the motion.
Comment icon #22 Posted by CBbeachbum on 24 April, 2016, 0:01
Chances are, it' s already in the time WE know that it's in production, it will have already been in use for 40 years.
Comment icon #23 Posted by Saitung on 24 April, 2016, 4:16
Maybe it's time to rewrite our concepts of the laws of physics! So true paperdyer, We must first stop calling them laws, as that title asserts that we have the answers to every aspect of physics, when we clearly do not.
Comment icon #24 Posted by Codenwarra on 27 April, 2016, 14:23
Question is whether it works at all.

Please Login or Register to post a comment.

  On the forums
Forum posts:
Forum topics:


World's 'largest living thing' is slowly dying
A record-breaking 80,000-year-old clonal colony of aspen trees in central Utah is in danger of being wiped out.
US Air Force whistleblower dies in bike crash
Former US Air Force sergeant Karl Wolfe once claimed to have seen photographs of an alien base on the Moon.
City to replace lights with 'artificial moon'
The Chinese city of Chengdu is working on a novel space-age solution to illuminating its streets at night.
NASA should be looking for ET, say scientists
A new report has suggested that searching for evidence of alien life should be part of all future space missions.
Featured Videos
Gallery icon 
How does fluid 'climb' up a rod ?
Posted 10-16-2018 | 4 comments
Physics Girl checks out a remarkable effect achievable with non-newtonian fluids.
Tense stand off with an elephant
Posted 10-10-2018 | 2 comments
A BBC film crew ends up face to face with a potentially hostile Indian elephant.
Free solo climbing in 360 degrees
Posted 10-5-2018 | 3 comments
Alex Honnold climbs up Yosemite's famous El Capitan with no equipment whatsoever.
An astronaut's guide to risk taking
Posted 10-1-2018 | 0 comments
Veteran NASA astronaut Chris Hadfield talks about his views on taking risks.
The man who climbed Everest 21 times
Posted 9-27-2018 | 0 comments
Apa Sherpa holds the world record for the most ascents of the world's tallest mountain.
 View: More videos
Stories & Experiences
And the shadows smile
8-25-2018 | Deal UK
Disappearing objects
8-12-2018 | Houston TX USA
I dreamt that Austin was destroyed
8-12-2018 | USA / Texas
Demon on my TV screen
8-12-2018 | U.S.
3 knocks, 3 nights...
8-12-2018 | San Fernando Valley, CA
Feeling something strange
8-9-2018 | Sydney, Australia
Dragon sighting in Spring Tx.
8-9-2018 | Spring Texas
My bed definitely shook
7-24-2018 | nsw
Huge black triangle UFO
6-13-2018 | Mt Maunganui New Zealand

         More stories | Send us your story
Top   |  Home   |   Forum   |   News   |   Image Gallery   |  Columns   |   Encyclopedia   |   Videos   |   Polls
UM-X 10.712 2001-2018
Terms   |   Privacy Policy   |   Cookies   |   Advertise   |   Contact   |   Help/FAQ