Lately, NASA has been developing a new rocket propulsion concept, namely the EmDrive. However, some space enthusiasts remained skeptical as far as practicability was concerned. Mainly because it seemed that the concept defied the core laws of physics themselves.
Recently, NASA has released a paper on the EmDrive that puts the minds of the unfaithful to ease. The peer-reviewed piece has been published online on November 17th in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. The title of the extensive work is “Measurement of Impulsive Thrust from a Closed Radio-Frequency Cavity in Vacuum”.
The paper presents the various experiments and methods scientists used for testing the EmDrive. A team of skilled researchers was in charge of developing the technology needed to produce more thrust than regular rocket propulsion engines NASA currently uses. Even though some physicists had previously dismissed the possibility, NASA was able to develop an Electromagnetic Drive, or, in short, the EmDrive.
The confusion started when the British researcher pioneered the concept back in 1999. He said that by bouncing microwaves inside a cone chamber thrust can be generated. However, only a handful of people kept an open mind, as this idea was against Newton’s third law of motion. The latter states that every action must have a both equal, as well as an opposite reaction. Hence, it is pretty clear how many scientists frowned upon the EmDrive concept at first. Mainly because the Electromagnetic Drive does not feature an exhaust to expel the opposite reaction.
As far as conventional propulsion goes, the rocket is launched into the air by the superheated gasses and other materials which are expelled through the nozzles at incredibly high speeds. As opposed to this practice, the EmDrive does not require rocket fuel. Moreover, Roger Shawyer who first came up with the EmDrive concept claims that his rocket propulsion can send humans to Mars in just 70 days.
The NASA’s paper on EmDrive states that electricity was used to create microwaves which repeatedly bounced off the walls of the enclosed copper cone. Hence, the Eagleworks Laboratories was able to create a resonant cavity thruster able to develop 1.2 millinewtons per kilowatt of thrust in vacuum. Without needing a push in the opposite direction, the EmDrive propulsion system still remains a mystery. However, the study tries to give off some explanations through controversial interpretations of quantum mechanics.
Harold White, the principal investigator, together with a team of researchers measured the thrust. It turns out that at 1.2 millinewtons of force per kilowatt, the EmDrive gives off 100 times more thrust than a regular spacecraft NASA currently uses.
Image Source: Pixabay