New Published Results on the ‘Impossible’ EmDrive Propulsion Expected Soon


New results on the controversial, “impossible” EmDrive propulsion system could be soon published in a prestigious peer-reviewed scientific journal, according to credible rumors.

“It is my understanding that Eaglework’s new paper has been today accepted for publication in a peer-review journal, where it will be published,” said high-reputation poster José Rodal, Ph.D, on the NasaSpaceFlight forum, which is often the primary source of updates for all things EmDrive. “Congratulations to the Eagleworks team!” The poster added that the sources of the leak are not employed by NASA.

Another post, which has been removed by the poster, reveals that the paper, titled “Measurement of Impulsive Thrust from a Closed Radio Frequency Cavity in Vacuum,” would be published in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)’s Journal of Propulsion and Power, a prestigious peer-reviewed scientific journal. The peer review process would have taken longer than usual, which is quite plausible in view of the breakthrough, controversial aspects of the EmDrive, but the acceptance of the paper seems to indicate that the reviewers were eventually persuaded.

Among the authors, Dr. Harold G. “Sonny” White, the leader of NASA Eagleworks, an advanced propulsion research laboratory located at the Johnson Space Center (JSC), and Paul March, an Eagleworks scientist who in November posted an update on NASA’s EmDrive tests and elaborated on the measures that have been taken to rule out experimental errors. “I can’t say more other than to listen to Dr. Rodal on this topic, and please have patience about when our next EW paper is going to be published,” noted March earlier this year. “Peer reviews are glacially slow…”

Hacked is following this story closely, and updates will be posted as they become available.

So What is the EmDrive?

EmDrive built by Eagleworks inside the test chamber.
EmDrive built by Eagleworks inside the test chamber.

The EmDrive uses electromagnetic microwave cavities to directly convert electrical energy to thrust without the need to expel any propellant. First proposed by Satellite Propulsion Research, a research company based in the UK founded by aerospace engineer Roger Shawyer, the EmDrive concept was predictably scorned by much of the mainstream research community for allegedly violating the laws of physics, including the conservation of momentum.

However, regardless of what the professional skeptics say, the EmDrive seems to work. Besides Eagleworks, several independent research groups, including a Dresden University led by renowned scientist Martin Tajmar and a Chinese team at the Northwestern Polytechnical University (NPU), have tentatively confirmed the EmDrive “anomalous” thrust effect.

Of course, nothing can violate the laws of physics. Therefore, if the EmDrive works despite apparently violating physical laws, then either today’s physical theories need revision, or (which seems more likely) their implications haven’t been completely understood so far. In fact, several theoretical models for the EmDrive anomalous thrust have been proposed, including interactions mediated by virtual particles in the quantum vacuum (what we think of as empty space is really a turbulent environment with virtual particles that appear and disappear incredibly fast), and a photonic exhaust hidden by phase correlations.

Shawyer’s EmDrive website has been updated a few days ago. Since it is now 10 years since the completion of the original research work, some previously confidential documents have been released, including two final technical reports and two independent reviews produced between July 2002 and August 2006 for the UK government, then shared with the US government. “Development work is continuing on superconducting EmDrive thruster technology in co-operation with a UK aerospace company,” reveals Shawyer. “No details of this work can be divulged at present.”

In his 2015 paper titled “Second generation EmDrive propulsion applied to SSTO launcher and interstellar probe,” published in the peer-reviewed journal Acta Astronautica, Shawyer emphasized the awesome, world-changing implications of the EmDrive:

Second generation EmDrive offers the best solution for low cost access to space, and for a near term interstellar mission.

Plausibility of Interplanetary Travel

The EmDrive implications and staggering indeed. EmDrive-powered spacecraft could carry astronauts to the planets in weeks, and reach the recently discovered Proxima b – an Earth-like planet orbiting the closest star Proxima Centauri – in a few decades, without having to carry fuel. This is incredibly interesting. Also interesting, but in a less positive sense, are the many visceral attacks of large segments of the science establishment against research results that have been repeatedly confirmed in the lab, published on peer-reviewed journals, and tentatively validated against theoretical models.

So what do you think of the EmDrive? Please let us know in the comments.

Images from NASA, Wikimedia Commons and Shutterstock.

Giulio Prisco is a freelance writer specialized in science, technology, business and future studies.