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Scientists Confirm ‘Impossible’ EM Drive Propulsion

Scientists Confirm ‘Impossible’ EM Drive Propulsion

by Giulio PriscoJuly 27, 2015

Later today, July 27, German scientists will present new experimental results on the controversial, “impossible” EM Drive, at the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics’ Propulsion and Energy Forum in Orlando. The presentation is titled “Direct Thrust Measurements of an EmDrive and Evaluation of Possible Side-Effects.”

Presenter Martin Tajmar is a professor and chair for Space Systems at the Dresden University of Technology, interested in space propulsion systems and breakthrough propulsion physics.

A Revolutionary Development for Space Travel

Tajmar's ExperimentThe EM Drive (Electro Magnetic Drive) 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 EM Drive concept was predictably scorned by much of the mainstream research community for allegedly violating the laws of physics, including the conservation of momentum.

However, NASA Eagleworks – an advanced propulsion research group led by Dr. Harold G. “Sonny” White at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) – investigated the EM Drive and presented encouraging test results in 2014 at the 50th Joint Propulsion Conference.

White proposes that the EM Drive’s thrust is due to virtual particles in the quantum vacuum that behave like propellant ions in magneto-hydrodynamical propulsion systems, extracting “fuel” from the very fabric of space-time and eliminating the need to carry propellant. While a number of scientists criticize White’s theoretical model, others feel that he is at least pointing to the right direction. The NASASpaceFlight website and forums have emerged as unofficial news source and discussion space for all things related to the EM Drive and related breakthrough space propulsion proposals such as the Cannae Drive.

Shawyer has often been dismissed by the research establishment for not having peer-reviewed scientific publications, but White and Tajmar have impeccable credentials that put them beyond cheap dismissal and scorn. Physics is an experimental science, and the fact that the EM Drive works is confirmed in the lab. “This is the first time that someone with a well-equipped lab and a strong background in tracking experimental error has been involved, rather than engineers who may be unconsciously influenced by a desire to see it work,” notes Wired referring to Tajmar’s work.


Hacked has obtained a copy of Tajmar’s Propulsion and Energy Forum paper, co-authored by G. Fiedler.

“Our measurements reveal thrusts as expected from previous claims after carefully studying thermal and electromagnetic interferences,” note the researchers. “If true, this could certainly revolutionize space travel.”

The nature of the thrusts observed is still unclear.

“Additional tests need to be carried out to study the magnetic interaction of the power feeding lines used for the liquid metal contacts,” conclude the researchers. “Nevertheless, we do observe thrusts close to the magnitude of the actual predictions after eliminating many possible error sources that should warrant further investigation into the phenomena. Next steps include better magnetic shielding, further vacuum tests and improved EMDrive models with higher Q factors and electronics that allow tuning for optimal operation.”

Contrary to sensationalist reports published by the sensationalist press, the EM Drive is not a “warp drive” for faster than light travel. It could, however, according to current experimental evidence, be a revolutionary development for faster and cheaper space transportation.

Wired notes that an EmDrive could get to Pluto in less than 18 months and mentions more ambitious ideas including a manned trip to the moons of Saturn with a three-year mission time. “Some damage to our theories of physics is an acceptable payoff if we get a working space drive,” concludes the Wired article.

Images from M. Tajmar, G. Fiedler, and Wikimedia Commons.

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  • user_kp

    So this drive violates conservation of momentum? Makes no sense. Unless they are converting matter to energy (i.e. matter pushed in one direction while energy emitted in opposite direction), this isn’t possible. This isn’t a nuclear reaction so that shouldn’t be happening. The researchers are missing something.

    • itty bitty loki

      It doesn’t, the writers are just sensationalizing it. It’s harnessing the energy of virtual particles somehow. Look at the Casimir Effect for e.g.

      • Joel Detrow

        Actually, they don’t know exactly how it works, all they know is that it does. The most consistent theory they have is only a model of the effect, not why or how it works. That will come with time.

        • Kris

          Sorry but someone in the comment section said it’s not possible so it must be so.

          • shnoopy

            What’s impossible to understand is that you have a girlfriend.

          • Dan Rizzatz

            I am finding it hard to understand that you are a two dimensional red and blue cartoon animal.

          • Kris


        • Lady Orwellian

          “….they don’t know exactly how it works, all they know is that it does.” Sounds like the description of most of the meds I’ve ever taken…

    • R V

      Actually they claim it does not violate conservation of momentum but it does violate our current understanding of that principle and how it relates to this system.

    • CMinsky

      If “somehow” it’s interacting with quantum fluctuations it might just be possible. More data and reviewing is needed

    • Freedspeak

      When you get to the quantum level, physics gets very strange, and seems more like magic/philosophy.

      • user_kp

        Very true. But that generally only applies at the quantum level not the aggregate level that any such drive would operate at.

  • jknuble

    I hope the possibility that they are self-generating the propellant due to microwave energy interacting with the materials in their setup is addressed. High power RF is a known particulate generator when events such as breakdown, multipaction, corona, etc. occur. Whether or not this is occurring could be verified in a test under vacuum. I outlined the details of a such test here:

  • AssHat900

    Not really sure. It always makes hot-dogs gross.

  • AbeFromanEast

    Amazing, if true.

    • Omega

      Birds of a common feather flock together. The pseudoscience train goes rolling on.

      • svartalf

        Ah, the “sceptic”… And yes, birds of a feather DO flock together- and that sword cuts both ways. “Reason”? Hardly. You “know better”, just like the people that said the same things about Tesla’s and the Wright Brother’s endeavors did back when they were forging forward.

        We don’t know it all like you foolishly claim.

      • Nzenit

        Omega, what are your credentials? Check Philosopher Rex answer/comment above. Closest to the scientific “truth”…if possible to do practically.

  • ergzay sensationalized the title.!2VYkxJTL!Wfl6Bu59oQX0YEL8-DhisNopoes3be1h9MvgaK3HT-o

    “Our test campaign can not confirm or refute the claims of the EMDrive but intends to
    independently assess possible side-effects in the measurements methods used so far.”

    Failure of basic reading comprehension…

    • Bruno Dias

      Please, insert the remaining text of the abstract:

      “Our test campaign can not confirm or refute the claims of the EMDrive but intends to
      independently assess possible side-effects in the measurements methods used so far.
      Nevertheless, we do observe thrusts close to the actual predictions after eliminating many possible error sources that should warrant further investigation into the phenomena.”

      • svartalf

        Heh…go and bring actual facts to the table… All you’re going to do is confuse the hell out of people that “know better”- much like the people said the same thing about my distant relatives at Kitty Hawk. No, I’m not saying this is real- that remains to be seen, but to pooh-pooh this like we’re seeing right now is premature. We have an intriguing anomaly that we need to dig into further.

        • hairspray2

          Exactly. I have always liked the saying: “man who say it cannot be done should not bother man doing”.

    • Gear Mentation

      we do observe thrusts close to the magnitude of the actual predictions
      after eliminating many possible error sources that should warrant
      further investigation into the phenomena. Next steps include better
      magnetic shielding, further vacuum tests and improved EMDrive models
      with higher Q factors and electronics that allow tuning for optimal

  • Steve Bowden

    Please don’t be cold fusion all over again. Please don’t be cold fusion all over again.

    • Omega

      It is.

      • Steve Bowden

        yeah it all sounds too good to hope for.

        • Omega

          It’s not even that good. We already have “propellantless” propulsion. It’s called the photon rocket. At relativistic speeds, it reaches an asymptotic energy efficiency of 100% (due to redshift of exhaust downstream). Doesn’t stop if from requiring ungodly amounts of fuel.

          • Snickering

            If I remember correctly, the photon rocket is also theoretical.

          • Omega

            Nope. The photon rocket is based on well established physics. Any time you turn on a flashlight, you have activated a photon rocket. That being said, no actual photon rockets have been used for propulsion because they require 300 megawatts per Newton of thrust.

          • Matthew Harwood

   Dont you mean 1.21 gigawatts?

          • ctrippp

            Damn you, you beat me to it… lol

          • stoffer

            Any light source is a photon rocket. Also, a light sail, which is proven to work works also by exchange of momentum with Photons. I am a physicist and I confirm that everything “Omega” wrote is correct.

          • [email protected]

            Yes. A light source is a rocket. The force is computed simply as Power / c. For a 700 W microwave, that gives you 2 micro newtons. The prediction and measured value for this type of drive is 20 micro newtons… The question is where are the other 18 micro newtons of force coming from? I have lots of guesses, but not a detailed enough description of the experiment to say if any are correct. In theory they could account for many of the possible sources of force simply by rotating the experiment. e.g. If it is interactions with external magnetic fields, pointing the drive in different directions would not have the expected results one would get if the drive produces the thrust. I have no way of knowing at this point if they have even tried that, or can try it.

            Really I doubt there is new physics here. This is just a problem like a reverse sprinkler that is difficult to properly analyse, and that analysis needs to be done to explain the effect.

          • Icarus

            I’m not sure you entirely understand the meaning of “efficiency” in scientific terms. Secondly not all the energy in the photons is transferred as thrust, infact it’s a tiny tiny fraction, most of the energy is “wasted” creating heat and light (they are photons after all). So your photon rockets in terms of providing thrust are approximately 100,000x less efficient than an EM drive that some one literally built in their garage.

            For reference Photon rocket. “The power per thrust required for a perfectly collimated output beam is 300 MW/N”

            and EM drive prototype. “In October 2006, Shawyer conducted tests on a new water-cooled prototype, which increased thrust to 0.1 Newtons and ran on 300W of microwave power.” That’s 3KW/N

            Both those are from wikipedia, so take that however you like it.

          • Omega

            No, I do understand. I’m not talking about thrust per unit power. By efficiency, I literally mean efficiency. That is, energy in divided by energy out. Think about it this way. When a rocket fires, energy goes in two directions. Into the rocket, and into the exhaust. Suppose my exhaust velocity is 1 km/sec. Then if I am traveling at 1 km/sec, all the energy generated by the rocket motor goes into the rocket, and none into the exhaust. This is because the exhaust will appear stationary with respect to Earth.

            Now consider a photon rocket. Although the light will always appear to be traveling at “c”, you do get a redshift effect. At relativistic velocities, very little of the rocket power escapes through the exhaust, almost all of it goes to the spacecraft. This is why the EM drive is no better for interstellar missions (if it exists, which it doesn’t) than a photon rocket. At relativistic speeds, photon rockets are already delivering nearly all of their energy into the rocket. Does that make sense?


          • Icarus

            Did you even read the article? The EM drive has been built and tested by multiple labs each confirming the results, this point is not up for debate, if you want to argue against it you can try and disprove Dr. Whites work and discredit his paper, but he has an impeccable record so good luck with that.

            As for your explanation “Suppose my exhaust velocity is 1 km/sec. Then if I am traveling at 1
            km/sec, all the energy generated by the rocket motor goes into the
            rocket, and none into the exhaust.” This is incorrect, you fail to understand the most basic principals of Newtonian physics here, that’s something that you should have learned in high school.

            For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

            You might find this helpful

          • Omega

            No, I’m 100% right on this one. If I’m traveling at 100mph forward, and I throw a baseball at 100 mph backwards, how fast will it be traveling relative to a stationary observer? 0mph. Where did the energy go then? All of it must have gone into me. It is a simple fact that mechanical efficiency of rockets goes up with velocity. Don’t believe me, look at the Wikipedia article, or if you would rather not, here’s a helpful diagram:


            And this article:



            “The travel velocity is equal to the velocity of expulsion…Under this assumption in the reaction process, no energy is lost; reaction itself works with a (mechanical) efficiency of 100 percent. If the travel velocity was, on the other hand, smaller or larger than the velocity of expulsion, then this
            “efficiency of reactive propulsion” would also be correspondingly low. It is completely zero as soon as the vehicle comes to rest during an operating propulsion.”

            As for your action and reaction bit. What is equal is not the outgoing momenta, but the *change* in momenta. If the change in momentum equals the current momentum of the rocket fuel, the rockets exhaust ends up with no momentum, and no energy.

          • That example does not make any sense. Half of the energy went into slowing down the baseball, simple as that.

          • [email protected]

            Absurd. Virtual particles can’t work that way, the math does not support it. Essentially, what would be required to make sense of that is a standing E-M field would exist permanently in the absence of the charged particles that created it. Sounds like the mathematics that describe a Z boson, but this is definitely not a Z bosons factory.

            Now essentially, they are claiming to observe a net force 10 times greater than one would receive beaming a 700 W microwave into space. But they admit the experiment does not have adequate magnetic shielding. Magnetrons themselves have a significant size magnets. Anyone of these can be responsible for this size of force. Also, I’ve yet to see a complete experimental description. I know they aren’t actually moving the drive, so how are they measuring the force? A vibration or metal expanding because of the heat would push against any sort of spring used to measure a force. I heard mention of a pendulum, a constant angle would be a good indicator of constant force against gravity. But this experiment produces considerable heat, all the medal is going to expand, and the magnetic properties of medal change as it heats. So one needs to take into account the changing magnetic properties and shifting center of balance. There is no indication if that has been done. Power is coming from an external source. Has there been any calculations how much momentum the electrons are delivery as they deposit energy?

            So far all that has been proven is this seems like an interesting concept, like a reverse sprinkler, and deserves further analysis.

          • IgnoranceBeater

            Well said.

            Though I would conclude that the only thing which has been proven, is that it’s very difficult to measure a very tiny force if the parameters aren’t all accounted for.

            Maybe this whole process and ‘story’ will lead to better pendulums and other measurement-devices or better magnetic shielding, but that is all.

            People who think a microwave will show us why we should throw away all of current physics, just don’t get how basic some of these laws are. If there is no conservation of momentum, it would mean that physical laws differ upon localisation. This has NEVER been observed, on the contrary: all indications point to this NOT being the case. Furthermore, if this would happen in a microwave-oven HERE, it would mean our own locality has different physical properties. If that were the case, nothing would be stable, and atoms (and we, thus) would fall apart on the spot.

            To contemplate such a thing as being ‘true’, is utter nonsense, thus.

            Which is why one is going with the “oh, but it pushes against virtual plasma, so it conserves momentum”. Only problem: THERE IS NO SUCH THING as virtual plasma. You can’t derive, nor ‘push’ against, nor extract energy from a virtual vacuum. It’s just complete nonsense. It’s like saying “it uses tooth-fairy magic, and thus it conserves momentum.” It’s absurd and simply does nothing to explain anything, and the breach of the law of conservation of momentum is still there.

          • IgnoranceBeater

            ahum. NONE of the tests were peer-reviewed. The first one, of the inventor, is obviously not independent neither. The three others claimed to measure thrust: NONE have actually claimed, let alone proven, that the measured ‘thrust’ isn’t an artefact or error in either measurement or error. In fact, this last german experiment EXPLICITLY says it can neither confirm nor disprove the claims, but it will search for other possible errors.

            The most likely cause is interference with magnetic lines, from the Earths’ magnetic force, for instance. Heat/wind was the prime suspect, but since it’s done in a vacuum, that’s far less likely now. However, some seem to think that means it’s ‘proven’ that no error is at play here. No, it only proves that it wasn’t convection of the atmosphere.

            You guys should stop acting as if anything has been proven. There hasn’t. Even taken all tests together, the scientific value of each test has been so low, it hasn’t breached the threshold of becoming worthwhile for the mainstream science to take note of. Which is as it should be, with extra-ordinary claims which have nothing to back that claim up, apart from some dubious experiments that don’t rule out measurement and other errors.

            The fact that em-fanfappers prefer to believe that it’s more likely that the whole of physics is wrong, including two of the major, basic natural laws – all without noticing this for the last 400 years – instead of rationally concluding it’s FAR more likely to be an error, says a lot.

          • OGIS

            Just don’t be anywhere near the beam. The more efficient a reaction drive is, the better a weapon it makes. Getting cut in two by a rocket exhaust at 30 million miles would simply ruin your day.

          • Going Knightly

            If you were able to drive an object anywhere near relativistic speeds, you’d have spent an impossible amount of energy to get there, irrespective of the object turning into shredded cheese from interstellar gases, etc. Your Photon Rocket concept has not even had the basics of experimental testing done, as the technology doesn’t exist, but even so, traveling at 1km/sec requires NO thrust. Thrust causes acceleration, not velocity. The red shift effect is only caused by the velocity of an object RELATIVE to another, not from an object’s velocity alone. If you were in the path of those photons, you’d see them as blue shifted. The photons themselves are not changing properties.

    • Don K Johnson

      but so called cold fusion is real and SPAWAR was testing in here in San Diego and the Navy base just down the hill from my old office, contracted by SAIC. They proved it worked, they even produced video on the process. But they called is another name than cold fusion but it was the same thing.

      • Don. It is not real.

      • Chuck Glenn

        Google LENR / CANR.

      • Opposite Day

        Yup, LENR is real. But it’s going to take a real long time before the hot fusion scientists realize most of what they think they know is wrong. Not to mention the fact that they’re pouring billions of dollars into projects that are bound to fail, and do fail. If you took 1/100th of that money and put it towards LENR, the world would be a much better place.

      • percykins

        SPAWAR was indeed researching cold fusion, but at no point did they “prove” that it had happened. It’s much like this EM drive – they’re pointing at tiny, almost immeasurable effects that can easily be the result of random chance. Hence why research funding was discontinued for SPAWAR.

        • NukeWaste

          For any energy conversion to be economically viable, it has to produce significant amounts of usable electricity, heat, etc.
          Peer review is total BS. I refused to publish in any scholarly rag. Hint!!: Nobody reads them. They read the equivalent of a Cliff’s Notes description of the article and make their vote based upon popularity. I’d rather be published in a real hobby mag. I got fan mail over a letter that I got published.

          • Minerverse

            You’re an idiot.

          • FireWaia

            You’re a windowlicker.

          • IgnoranceBeater

            Yes, well… since peer-review is a standard element of scientific verification and progress, and has already proven it’s worth – your assertion to the contrary not withstanding – I still prefer peer-reviewed ‘BS’ above non-peer-reviewed BS.

            You seem to miss the point that it’s not about getting fanmail. At all.

      • IgnoranceBeater

        SPAWAR claimed to have detected neutrons, but since they didn’t have a control device, this is scientifically worthless. You can measure ‘a’ neutron, but if you can’t pinpoint it, it can come from any source whatsoever.

        The set-up of SPAWAR had serious deficiencies, thus, and what’s more, they already got a DOE review. This reads: “In summary, reviewers found that cold fusion evidence was still not convincing 15 years later, and they didn’t recommend a federal research

        When are you guys going to get it? There’s nothing THERE. Cold fusion (which is NOT the same as LENR with muons, btw) is a pipedream. It’s a waste of time and money. Which is why it was a good thing the SPAWAR research into cold fusion – paid with taxpayers’ money, thus – has been cancelled.

        I’ve seen dozens upon dozens of links from aLainco and you guys. Almost all of those links were nonsensical links to blogs, extracts of books of cold-fusion believers as authors, fora, and the ilk – all with no scientific value, thus. A few dozen or so were papers. Most of THOSE were not peer-reviewed nor independent, nor gone through the process of falsification by a third party, and thus scientifically worthless too. Of those, a handful remained, where they claimed to have seen ‘excess heat’ – which is, apparently, not able to be stable replicated, and which isn’t a clear sign of cold fusion to begin with. Extremely dubious at best, thus. And then one remains that is purported to claim it is peer-reviewed and has proof of cold fusion, but nowhere is to be found the actual paper online so one can analyse it. Instead, all links go to an ultra-short summary which says nothing.

        In the end, thus, there is only one conclusion possible: cold fusion has NOT be demonstrated to work. Not even by a long shot.

        And that after 25 years… one might think this would ring a bell with some proponents, but apparently, it doesn’t.

        • Christopher

          We couldn’t figure out how to fly for the longest time and the dumbest people were the ones saying we couldn’t ever do it. Fact.

          • IgnoranceBeater

            Actually, this is a meme without much argumentational value. It’s claimed the ‘something heavier than air can not fly’ is made by Lord Kelvin, and/or by some other scientists. It’s uncertain whether one or all of them actually said that, however. But no doubt there will have been people who actually said so. Those people obviously weren’t ornithologists, or they would have clearly observed the fact that birds are heavier than air, yet can fly.

            What is not understood when people give these examples, is that these kind of statements handle the *technical* possibility of something. (aka: someone, somewhere, thought it would be infeasible for man to create such a thing by technical means.)

            I have no such qualms, and in fact, I, for one, believe almost anything that is possible, the human race will make possible, if the only question is the technical feasibility of it. Simply because we have – thanks to science – tremendous progress, and that which is impossible today, might become possible tomorrow.

            The difference is – and this is what most people trying to ‘argument’ with these quotes don’t get – that this is not a matter of *technical* prowess. Here, it deals with one (actually two) of the most fundamental and basic laws of nature there are. It DOES NOT matter HOW much technological progress we have or will have: you cannot break such a law of nature. It has nothing to do with technological development: even if we had progressed another 1000 or even a million years, nothing would have changed at the impossibility of it. The problem is not technical, nor economical, not social, etc.; it’s fundamental. Fundamental to how our universe works.

            As I’ve explained in many, many posts in this thread, it is extremely unlikely – and I mean *extremely* – that a new physical law has been discovered by running a microwave-oven, which would contradict everything we’ve learned over the past 200 years. If CoM and CoE are not upheld, basically whole swats of our universe would disintegrate and exotic particles would flood the universe, because the physical constants wouldn’t be stable. Yet, we’ve observed nothing of the kind, not in 200 years.

            To put it into perspective: the chance that such a thing has been discovered, is about as big as the chance that the thrust is due to Toothfairy-magic. You can not ‘exclude’ neither, nor say they’re ‘impossible’ in the strict sense, but for all intents and purposes, they have about the same likelihood of being true.

          • Going Knightly

            That being said, the basic premise of cold fusion is to have fusion at high temperatures (relatively high, that is). We are able to create fusion reactions at temperatures in low Kelvins, but a sustainable reaction needs that higher temperature. After all, our Sun is able to sustain a fusion reaction at far higher temps, so maybe we will be able to do it, as our knowledge of materials science improves. I wouldn’t preclude the possibility entirely, but so far there has been no success.

          • IgnoranceBeater

            Hmm. That being said… You’re responding about cold fusion to a post of mine where I didn’t mention cold fusion. 😉

            But anyway: I have no problems with ‘hot’ fusion – in fact, I think that’s the only way to go, but we’re still a long way off, even if ITER is successful. I also have no problem with cold fusion if LENR with muons is concerned – for the simple fact this is a well understood process, which has little to do with the cold fusion some fanfappers are talking about (aka; self-sustaining and with heat surplus).

            There is not a shred of real (this means validated, peer-reviewed and replicable) scientific evidence for ‘real’ cold fusion, even after 25 years of trying. And while, in contrast to the EM-drive, there is no breach of a natural law per sé, our understanding of nuclear fission and fusion is quite good, and there is no way cold fusion could happen without vast amounts of neutrons and/or gamma rays, etc. Yet, they are strangely absent in almost all of the ‘proof’ for it.

            In fact, if it HAD worked as advertised, most researchers and people meddling around with it would have died. We therefore have to imagine a completely new, undiscovered, unfathomed working outside of our current knowledge and understanding of fusion, outside all our theories, and outside our observations of the last 100 years – to make such a thing even remotely possible.

            Again, I find such a thing highly unlikely. Not quite as unlikely as the EM-drive, but it’s not far off.

            And it’s not like there aren’t any novel approaches to fusion possible that do NOT involve such unlikely constraints. If anyone would be interested in a new approach for nuclear fusion with far more promise in regard to actually being workable, I would suggest looking at the polywell. ( )

      • sara paola

        Thanks Don, its about time they wake up and smell the roses. The military uses cold fusion to power droids and other air craft now, along with tesla’s earthquake machine. They used it on the wtc. Do you think they are going to tell you they caused the Japan 9.0 earthquake? They will not. Why, because that is how crooked they are. Its called, High Power Radio Frequencys… And Im not talking about a normal tranceiver reciever, but a very special one. John Kansas on You Tube, punch that in and watch it. Then tell us that you cannot take laser tech and apply it to cold fusion hydrogen Helium technology, and I will eat my hat. Stan Meyer already shit that out long ago, but hardly anyone understands what he was talking about when he mentioned the Laser on the electrolyser. I watch those droids myself zip across the sky here in the state of Washington in the late of night, at Mach 10. You would be surprised what that looks like….

        • vahnn

          Lots of reports of sonic booms in the area, eh?

          • Going Knightly

            Mach 10 would make a pretty big bang, wouldn’t it?

        • Brian

          Maybe you should book yourself into an Asylum 😉

          • IgnoranceBeater

            Hard to tell if she’s being deliberately sarcastic or not. Well…’she’… Anyhow, I first thought she was making such blatant idiotic statements to try to mock the former poster, but it’s really difficult to tell, since you *have* nutcases like that, who actually mean what they’re saying, and are not sarcastic or ironic, but just plain serious, even when spouting all that nonsense.

          • Going Knightly

            Scary, huh? You’d think people that actually BELIEVE all that rot are from an alternate universe or something, because in all my years on this planet, I’ve not seen any such high-tech, sci-fi devices. ChemTrails, anyone?

        • Jimmy Hoffa

          and don’t forget HAARP.

    • Cold fusion was annoying not because it got our hopes up, but because it spawned a whole new tedious banality of repetitive “I dunno how to science!” wall of green text in multiple font types and colors by conspiretards the world over, claiming that it works and they can prove it but ‘they’ are suppressing the technology because $reasons. Although thankfully it seems the internet as a whole is beginning to stand up against conspiretards (esp. alt med douche nozzles) fighting back to stop the spread of misinformation, fear, and doubt in science.

      (PS: I spend most of my free time combating conspiretard FUD, if anyone reading this wants to help out dog pile me with rationalist support and you’ll find my feed like a hitlist of cancerous faggotry for your squirrely wrath.)

      • Christopher Vaughan

        you’re pretty wrong about cold fusion. The name has changed to LENR but it doesn’t get much more reputable than this.

        • Daniel Schegh

          Actually, no. First, LENR (and other names it goes by) is a reference to the fact

          that even proponents of it realize that it is not nuclear fusion. Critics are correct that cold fusion is not real. Now, if by “cold fusion” you mean “something weird” happens that is not well understood, then yes, LENR research has some validity. By “some validity”, I mean that there have been some results that are not fully explained. But, despite now 27 years of scientific investigation since 1988, nobody has been able to create reliably consistent results, show any useful purpose, produce any heat of any usable value, or demonstrate any potential for ever achieving those things. LENR isn’t flat out dismissed simply because there does appear to be some evidence of things happening that are not fully understood yet.

          As far as your link, I beg to differ about “not much more reputable”. The journal you linked to is Naturwissenschaften (The Science of Nature), a mediocre journal focused on science of nature applied to biology:

          It’s not a bad journal; it’s just not exactly the highest quality journal around even on biology, and has really nothing to do with nuclear physics per se. Again, that doesn’t mean the results aren’t valid, just not all that conclusive. Even the abstract refers to “is diagnostic of … and suggests …”. Even that work doesn’t measure actual energy output, just looking at indirect evidence of possible reaction modes using some low-end investigation equipment.

          • Christopher Vaughan

            First LENR stands for “Low Energy Nuclear Reaction” so i’m not sure if you’re confused or what. Maybe English is not your first language.

            Second: Naturwissenschaften is one of the top Springer journals…seriously do you fact check yourself? I will however concede that it is a bio science journal and not a physics journal. I’ve got another for you how about from the US Navy begging congress for more research money in 2002.

    • wallypalo

      Actually the two together, LENR (aka Cold Fusion) for the power source and EM drive for the propulsion, could make for some really long distance trips (thinking interstellar). Check out Rossi’s eCat.

      • Steve Bowden

        Holy Crap that’s nothing short of brilliant. I may have to steal your idea and use it in a some sort of sci fi short story.

        • Minerverse

          I think you forgot the SarcMark in your comment.

          • Steve Bowden

            I wasn’t being sarcastic. It’s the sort of thing I might do.

  • peter

    I sort of understand how this is controversial and new but on the other hand, don’t understand. Genuine question here:

    How is this different from using light, a form of electromagnetic radiation? Everyone has seen a radiometer (the thing with the black and white vanes that spins when in light. My thought experiment is if you have a directional light source that is pointed at a radiometer, that will cause the radiometer to spin, i.e. impart a thrust on the radiometer. That means there must be an equal and opposite force imparted on the light source. I would imagine this would work in a vacuum– it is light after all. Isn’t this another example of electromagnetic radiation (light) giving thrust?

    • RationalActor

      except that its happening in a closed container. If you had the source of light attached to the thing that captures that light, the forces would cancel – that is, the momentum produced by light striking the surface would be offset by the momentum produced by generating the light.

      this doesn’t have that – they are purporting to see the effect even though all emission sources should be balanced – thus the whole “pushing against quantum vaccum” thing.

      • iteration2

        It has nothing to do with the light (or any other energy) source being attached to the ship or separate. A radiometer would still spin even if the light source was attached to the ship.

        A radiometer turns light into movement, just as a solar panel hooked up to a motor does. The problem is in converting internal movement into thrust that can propel the whole ship. Spaceships can already use reaction wheels to convert energy into rotational force without emitting any propellant. A ship could also convert rotational momentum into directional momentum (imagine a rotating wheel that pushes a heavy piston towards the rear of the ship), but any thrust gained by pushing a piston in one direction would be canceled out as the piston resets to it’s forward position. So we can make a ship spin without propellant, or lurch back and forth without propellant, but constant acceleration in one direction is problematic without having something to push off of.

        I don’t entirely understand how the EM drive overcomes this limitation. They say “virtual particles”, but I suspect each EM drive simply has a small wizard inside.

        • RationalActor

          I dont see where I anything I wrote contradicts what you just said. I was addressing the GP’s analogy about using light to move the radiometer; i believe he was getting at the idea of a lightsail, not angular momentum, but making the idea accessible.

          Using light to push the craft from a source attached to the same craft wouldn’t work for the reasons both of us gave.

      • [email protected]

        There is no such thing as a closed container in this case. As you keep dumping energy it heats up. After bouncing around a bit the microwaves will reflect back down the wave conduit they came in from, or be absorbed somewhere. All energy that goes into the box quickly escapes as microwaves, or heat (IR radiation). Think about it this way. If I took a box and made all the sides mirrors, and then I dropped a flash light inside and closed the box. When you open the box again, do you expect a sudden burst of light, as all the light that has been bouncing around while the box since it was closed? No. Same thing with this drive cavity. If you run it for 10 minutes and then open it up, you don’t get a sudden burst of 10 minutes of microwaves that can suddenly escape. In fact, if you turn it off and then open it, you won’t observe any microwaves. Just as you won’t see any light from your box if you wait for the flashlight battery to run dead before opening it. The microwaves all find ways of being absorbed or escaping within a very very small fraction of a second after entering the box.

  • IAmDerick

    “””Some damage to our theories of physics is an acceptable payoff if we get a working space drive,” concludes the Wired article.””

    Perhaps that quote
    it’s taken out of context, but the so-called “damage” to our theories
    is EXACTLY what we’re looking for with all experiments. The whole point
    of experimentation it to find conflicts with an existing theory. It’s
    something to focus on and investigate and will help us determine what’s really
    going on!

    • hairspray2

      Its about time that the experimentalists take science back from the theoreticians.

      • OGIS


      • Clem Fandango

        ‘Scrapping and yelling and mixing it up … putting a brick through the other guy’s windshield’ to quote Royal Tenenbaum, who was not a scientist but understood the value of controversy.

  • dudebuddypal

    Pretty sure they can’t steal it because it’s in published journals and I believe at least one lab there has already confirmed it, the journal article have a full description of their setup. So too late to red-hate here.

  • Omega

    This is basic physics. The pressure induced in a closed microwave cavity by light must be equal on all sides. This is simply nonsense.

    • the_unorthodox

      Hey, you sound like you should be working for NASA Eagleworks.

      Seems those plebes have no bloody idea what they’re doing and they need you to square them away.

      Fucking internet.

      • Omega

        I seriously doubt they do. There is a lot of crack pottery coming out of that lab. Weren’t they talking about FTL warp drives earlier? It’s utter horsecrap. I’m not against having an open mind, but you need the capacity to distinguish genuine revolutions from quackery. This is obviously the latter.

        • Lady Orwellian

          I suppose that is possible. on the other hand, sometimes how we understand the universe changes – just because on the surface it flies in the face of known physics doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. It obviously does conform to physics. Just not in a way we understand yet.

    • svartalf

      Is it? They said the same thing about supersonic flight and heavier than air flight before it. Step back and see what comes from studying an interesting anomaly rather than being a blind fool like the rest before you with similar things presented to them.

      • Omega

        None of those inventions violated the known physics at the time. Your analogy is invalid.

      • KeithJF82

        “They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.”
        -Carl Sagan ( )

  • Omega

    Yeah, let’s hook up a LENR reactor to power my EM drive


    These scams are a dime a dozen:

    Hydrinos? Give me a break

    While the physics is genuine, no one has ever built an efficient muon generator. Not even star scientific.

    Bubble fusion never worked, and never will.

    No, you cannot get fusion from electrochemistry.

    What are the odds that LENR and EM drive are frauds too? 100%

    • svartalf

      Ah, but you CAN get it from inertial electrostatic confinement- which all clearly claimed wasn’t possible when Farnsworth initially showed the Fusor to the world.

      Hint for you: Pretty much every one of the things you take for granted, even AC power, was deemed crackpottery before we leveraged the viable stuff. Each and every bit of it. They viewed my distant relatives crazy- but we now have aviation because of them. They viewed AC power as crackpottery, but Tesla forged on. No, I’m not saying all of it is viable/valid- but to pooh-pooh it…you are in ignoble company that was just as wrong about it then as you are now.

      • Omega

        I don’t think you understand the nature of technological progress. It has almost always been the case that theoretical advances preceded engineering advances. Tesla was using the long discovered principles of electrodynamics developed by Maxwell and others. This mythology of science by tinkerer simply isn’t true.

        As for IEC, there is a very simple reason why it doesn’t work. Grid transparency. Plasma erosion on the electrodes kills plasma purity and completely prevents net fusion power. This is the reason why Bussard with his Polywell went to using magnetic fields to confine the net charge at the center of the reactor. Could this work? I don’t see any fundamental reason why not, but the devil is in the details.

        There are strong reasons to think that polywells, even if they work, will not be the miracle fusion reactor. First of all, forget about aneutronic fusion. If you want to know why, it’s that the temperatures required are too high. Bremsstrahlung radiation kills your energy balance. The loopholes aren’t that great either. Optically thick plasmas are science fiction. Non neutral plasmas require field strengths far beyond our capabilities. Non equilibrium energy configurations require more energy to sustain than improvements from bremsstrahlung reduction provide. In short, fusion is hard.

        • Christopher Vaughan

          according to Lord Kelvin, James clark Maxwell had “lapsed in mysticism” look it up and as for Tesla, Maxwell was proving Faraday’s ideas about lines of force, which was also considered crackpottery. That is how advancement works… This whole argument from you is meant to flame those less capable. I’m sure you will attack my grammar or some stupid shit like that, however i do agree that the EM Drive is good PR and not good science. Though the thought is intriguing that we missed a huge chunk of GUT somewhere in the annuals of science.

        • hairspray2

          That’s a bit off. Theory lags experiments, most of the time. It is a rare occasion when a new theory explains that which has not been observed. These instances are so rare that they become famous, for example, Maxwell predicting the EM waves.

          • Omega

            Really? Give me an example of the opposite. Thermodynamics predated refrigeration. Quantum mechanics predated transistors. Relativity predated the GPS system. Fluid dynamics was known prior to the airplane. Classical mechanics was known well, well, well before the development of the rocket. I can’t think of a single engineering project that produced a fundamental scientific advance. In nearly every example I can think of, those doing the tinkering and engineering were using already known physical laws and theories, and their main contribution was to apply those theories to the real world, not to discover new theoretical principles.

          • hairspray2

            It seems that you don’t have a good understanding of what science is.

          • Omega

            Depends on what you mean by “dark energy”. The idea of a cosmological constant was first proposed by Einstein. A cosmological constant is one of many hypotheses for what “dark energy” actually is. So this one is still up in the air, actually.

          • hairspray2

            A bunny wears a pancake.

          • WesleyBarrios

            Meissner effect was discovered by a “tinkerer” and only fully explained and “predicted” about 2 decades later. Feel free to nit-pick and nibble at the edges of the semantics in this example, Omega.
            The point other posters are making is that you come off a tad elitist in proposing that value of theoretical > experimental > engineering.
            Yes, theory usually drives progress. But often enough the “isn’t that odd” moments come from tinkerers and sometimes even engineering. This site is Not
            Have a very nice day.

      • Robin Hart-Jones

        I thought the main argument against A/C power was that Edison had invested in a national DC grid and needed to discredit the opposition 🙂

  • CMinsky

    Is this actually working in vacuum? I mean, are we sure it isn’t interacting with the environment?

    • Yes it is. They did several tests and apparently works in vacuum too. You can follow their forum at, to see more details.

      I really hope that something will come out of this. The creator of the technology is very confident that it’s really working.

  • This sounds like the work being done by Dr. Jim Woodward with the Woodward/Mach effect ( The origin of this effect from wikipedia:

    The Woodward effect is based on the relativistic effects theoretically derived from Mach’s Principle on inertia within general relativity and is attributed by Albert Einstein to Ernst Mach. Mach’s Principle is generally defined as “the local inertia frame is completely determined by the dynamic fields in the Universe.”

    A formulation of Mach’s principle was first proposed as a vector theory of gravity, modeled on Maxwell’s formalism for electrodynamics, by Dennis Sciama in 1953, who then reformulated it in a tensor formalism equivalent to general relativity in 1964.

    Sciama stated that instantaneous inertial forces in all accelerating objects are produced by a primordial gravity-based inertial radiative field (now referred as “G/I field” or “gravinertial field”) created by distant cosmic matter and propagating both forwards and backwards in time at light speed. As previously formulated by Sciama, Woodward suggests that Wheeler–Feynman absorber theory would be the correct way to understand the action of instantaneous inertial forces in Machian terms.

    Sciama’s inertial-induction idea has been shown to be correct in Einstein’s general relativity for any Friedmann–Robertson–Walker cosmology. According to Woodward, the Mach effects’ derivation is relativistically invariant, so the conservation laws are satisfied, and no “new physics” is involved besides general relativity.

    • Nzenit


    • Omega

      Woodward is a complete crackpot. There are no valid physical theories that violate the conservation of momentum:

      • Why use ad-homs and make statements without evidence? If you are correct, then just show the contradiction. As for ‘valid physical theories’ – go and study the philosophy of science – there is no such thing as a ‘valid’ theory, there are only ‘unfalsified’ theories & ‘falsified’ theories. You are speaking as though science is a popularity contest – it is not.

        • Omega

          The contradiction is with Noether’s Theorem. ALL theories of physics to date, Classical Mechanics, Relativistic Mechanics, and Quantum Mechanics, have satisfied this theorem. This is as close to an absolute law as we will ever get. It’s up there with the second law of thermodynamics. Woodward fails to explain how you can get net thrust without violating Noether’s theorem.

          He claims “mass fluctuation” is the answer. Fine. What makes the masses fluctuate? Simple fluctuation violates mass/energy conservation. Transporting mass back and forth would cancel out any momentum you produce. The whole thing is rubbish.

          • Doesn’t the accepted theory of how the universe can into existence – out of some quantum vacuum appear to violate the the conservation of mass/energy? I guess, we ultimately don’t know as we can’t explain where the universe came from – we can only see the universe from our perspective. I thought it was mostly accepted that matter/energy can pop into existence – am I wrong?

            Also, I know it’s common practice by many scientists to refer to theories as laws, but as I’ve already said, there are only falsified theories and unfalsified theories. Use of p-values only tells you about the particular data at hand, which is always infinitesimal in comparison to the all the data potential of the universe – meaning that ultimate probabilities about the nature of reality are incalculable. So calling something a ‘law’ is really a rather political statement IMO. This is why science focuses on falsifiability and not truth or probabilities of ultimate truth (only probabilities with regard to data-sets).

            So, while I am interested in the ‘how it works’, ultimately I don’t care, so
            long as we can model it – such that it is a usable technology. We
            model gravity too, via Newtonian and Einsteinian equations … but do we
            understand how gravity works … no we don’t. So I don’t understand the
            obsession with people saying this is B.S. just because they don’t
            understand it. Explain gravity in a way that perfectly meshes with
            Quantum Mechanics … and then let’s see if your idea is accepted by the
            status quo – it won’t be, even it it’s right – it would take decades
            before the establishment ages and moves to the next plane of existence
            before acceptance will take hold.

            If you have an alternate theory on how it works that doesn’t suffer the negatives you’ve described, then by all means put it out there. Until you have such a theory, calling other people’s efforts ‘rubbish’ seems hubris indeed.

  • Luke McGregor

    If its firing virtual particles to produce trust what’s happening to the antimatter component of the particle?

    • Russel aka ‘Rusty’ Shackleford

      Ever wonder what’s reeeallly in a hot dog Luke?

    • Robert van de Walle

      I recall a short Syfy story that used something like this to explain the expansion of the Universe. The story predated the discovery that the rate of expansion is increasing.

    • Cleo the Muse

      From information I’ve read on the EM drive previously, the virtual particle ceases to exist in our universe before reaching the end of the chamber; it bounces off the other end of the container in a parallel universe. Somewhere, in a parallel universe, scientists are baffled by an EM drive that travels BACKWARD…

    • OGIS

      Perhaps the antimatter is falling into another Universe, where it is messing with people. And then, of course, those people will take steps to stop it.

  • Opposite Day

    I hope this doesn’t get suppressed like every other fuel-less/”anti-gravitic propulsion breakthrough.

    • aldousd

      Troll, troll troll troll TROLL!

      • Opposite Day

        Is it really a troll if I believe it? I thought a troll was basically a lie. So how can something be a troll if its true?

        • Robin Hart-Jones

          A troll does not have to be a lie at all. The purpose of a troll is stir up outrage and watch the mayhem. A bit like poking an ants nest just to see the chaos that ensues 🙂

  • The Wet One


    This is pretty effin’ cool!

  • Will

    You know, the best articles out there are so good, that sourcing is just dead weight. I mean, who needs any of that stuff…

  • Steven Dutch

    NASA’s got some very big vacuum chambers. Put one of these puppies inside and show it can get itself off the ground. Or put it on a sled and get it to move. What could be simpler? Because you can’t get anything to Pluto with micronewtons of thrust. Go big or go home.

    NASA is already taking heat from the climate denialists. Getting involved with stuff like this won’t help them a bit.

    According to Noether’s Theorem, conservation of linear momentum is linked to the spatial symmetry of the universe. Actually, if the laws of physics are invariant in space, that implies conservation of momentum. So if you can violate conservation of momentum, the laws of physics are not invariant in space, and that should have large-scale consequences in the universe. So I hope these researchers can take time out from thinking about virtual particles to deal with this issue.

    • DStaal

      Sure you can get to Pluto with micronewtons of thrust – as long as you start in space and can put out those micronewtons for a long time. The advantage of this drive – if it works – is that it can put out thrust for very long periods of time; basically indefinitely. It may not be able to lift itself off the ground, or even overcome friction in an Earth-bound test environment, but it could still be an amazing space drive where it doesn’t have to worry about that.

  • Disqustd

    Seems legit.

  • Rehbock

    Complete crap. There is no free lunch.

    • docmerlin

      This doesn’t have free lunch, it requires huge amounts of energy, it just doesn’t require propellant.

      • Omega

        Where is the momentum coming from?


    Its possible that some as-yet-undiscovered (cough axion /cough) or a dark matter candidate similar to a pion is interacting with the chamber to generate thrust. This would explain the apparent violation of CoM and lead to new physics, also it could be even more effective in space as the Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field would act as a shield.

  • Peter Ivanov Jivkov

    you can always ask Stark.

  • foofly

    How much force are we talking here? Could this counteract gravity so I can finally have my hoverboard?

  • Anders tn

    To the nay sayers. Saying that this is impossible because it violates the laws of physics as we currently understand them is pointless. Mainly because there are a myriad of things going on in the universe around us that constantly break said laws. For instance dark matter, dark energy and the phenomenon we have dubbed black holes. So far all of these things predated our models and still show that there are aspects to the forces in the universe we have yet to understand.

    Personally I think there is a very real possibility that this whole thing is a fluke in the measurements, but given the potential upside if it were real it’s still worth pursuing further. Essentially if this turns out to be true it would violate nearly everything we know. It would be the biggest shift in science since Albert Einstein created the theory of general relativity.

  • Dennis Young

    Build a working model of the EM drive and prove the concept. Then it’s off to the races, so to speak.

  • jodeo

    Forget Pluto. If this can make my rush hour drive go from 1h 20m down to 15m, I’ll take one.

  • shambles1980

    i dont see why the theory was at all scorned upon.

    And I am going to vote “Journalistic extra for extravagance” on the whole “they all said it was impossible” part
    unless of course they are going to name who said it was impossible..

  • “Hacked” does not wish to appear credible source of info then? Not surprised, I must say.

  • “The nature of the thrusts observed is still unclear.”

    No, it is not unclear, it is a measurement artifact. Translates to layman’s language as “shitty science”.

    • [email protected]

      If you do the calculations, a 700 Watt laser would give you 2 micro-newtons of Force. They measured 10 times that much. The most likely scenario to me seems to be that this setup caused a vibration, which was misread as a thrust. However, it is also possible there are interactions with the Earth’s magnetic field, or magnetic attraction to other objects. It is the electrons coming into the magnetron provide classical momentum. The magnetron itself needs to be connected to the drive cavity, so there is the possibility of momentum transfer from that source. Really the only think the have established at this point is a deep analysis is justified.

      • None

        “White proposes that the EM Drive’s thrust is due to virtual particles in the quantum vacuum that behave like propellant ions in magneto-hydrodynamical propulsion systems, extracting “fuel” from the very fabric of space-time and eliminating the need to carry propellant. ”

        If you understand quantum physics you should grasp this and the huge implications it has if proven correct.

        • [email protected]

          This is a classical E-M dynamics problem. The analysis that predicts the force does not use Q-M, so there is absolutely no reason to expect a Q-M explanation. That said, there have of course been times in history when one accidently discovers something due to faulty predictions. The dwarf planet Pluto comes to mind as an example. In that case though, we would find predictions will not hold for other drive designs. If White is right, it means virtual particles work completely different that the way we think they do. We’ll have to throw out all the physics for the last 100 years, and rewrite all the text books. No reputable physicists would dare speculate such a possibility with such little evidence. So I much conclude one of three possibilities. 1. White is being misquoted. 2. White is a quack. 3. White is an idiot. I’m personally willing to give White the benefit of the doubt and assume 1.

  • RJF

    The “laws” of physics only exist to be broken…

  • Mark Roberts

    The editors apparently didn’t read the actual paper, which states, “Our test campaign cannot confirm or refute the claims of the EM Drive
    but intends to independently assess possible side-effects in the
    measurements [sic] methods used so far…”
    In the tests, one horsepower input equaled one-five-millionths of a pound of thrust output. Next.

  • GrangerFX

    It is time to test this thing in space and remove all doubt. Considering the relatively silly things they are testing on the ISS, a reactionless drive experiment seems like a slam dunk. Just park it outside the station with the arm, fire it up and see if it moves in the right direction. Grab it again, point it in a different direction. Rinse. Repeat.

  • Zardoz Wiz

    any thrust quickly becomes very large over time, this needs large studies now!

  • kmarinas86

    potential momentum = magnetic vector potential * test charge = (coulombic potential energy / c^2) * velocity of source charge

  • Damnyankees


  • Brett Wilkins

    Isn’t that Hero Image of a VASMIR (ion thrust) engine?

  • Friedrich

    Kinda kool ==== but since the Earth is surrounded by the Van Allen belt — and humans cannot be protected from the radiation when flying through it — what good is it? Or — isn’t the Flat Earth covered by an impenetrable canopy? Even nuclear bomb tipped rockets couldn’t break through it in the late 1950’s! 😉

  • oldrolledgold

    Why isn’t Shawyer’s own principle of operation accepted and quoted?

  • oldrolledgold

    Also,why if his principle of operation gave him a thrust equation that was matched by the testing results,is some ‘new physics’ being mooted by scientists? Are they setting it up to kill it?

    • [email protected]

      Well first off it takes a lot more than one experiment to throw out 400 years of physics. Second it is not remarkable the measurements are near the predictions. The experiment is set-up to measure values near that. The design only takes them a factor of 10 times higher than the classical predictions. For very sensitive experiments phycists normally eliminate source of noise one at a time until they get well below standard predicted value they are trying to measure. Not only has this not been done, but the papers themselves state this is part of the “next steps”. Reasonably they need an accuracy of 1 micronewton or better, but they are not even confident the 20 micronewton force they are measuring predicted by this alternate theory is not completely noise. Apparently the force does not start as soon as they turn the magnetron on, and it continues after they have turned it off. Indicating either they are just measuring noise, or at minimum the force is not produced by the theory they are attempting to test.

      Really there is no need to get excited. This is just a “progress” report, not actual results. When the complete the experiment, then there is a chance there might be something to get excited about. Nobody expects this thing to work as designed, there is something we can learn from it by understand why the failure initially appears like success. Perhaps that will result in being able to design a better photon rocket or such. If there are interactions with the Earth’s magnetic field or such, maybe we could take advantage of that when slingshotting space probes around planets like Jupider… There is probably a lot of useful engineering to be learned as well.

      • WesleyBarrios

        This “Apparently the force does not start as soon as they turn the magnetron on, and it continues after they have turned it off. Indicating either they are just measuring noise, or at minimum the force is not produced by the theory they are attempting to test.”

        Reminds me of the cell-phone tower induced headaches from towers that were not yet turned on.

  • [email protected]

    Looks like there is a fairly strong case the effect being measured is thermal. Best guess, the metal is expanding as it heats, shifting the center of balance and tipping the pendulum as if there was a force.

  • Christian Koncz

    Elon Musk has probably been up all night trying to figure out how it works and how he can use it to power his spaceships once they are in orbit. I can see this being used for mining planetoids and possibly the moon, as well as sending people to Mars and other planets. Exciting times. Now if they’d hurry up and finish work on warp drives (Albucierre drive), transporters, replicators and photon torpedoes…

  • Seijinvet

    Ok, here is a thought. Instead of using a magnetron what if microwave laser LEDs were used to inject the microwave radiation into the thruster? The production of microwave radiation would be much more energy efficient, and the coherent nature of them would perhaps increase the thrust. I wonder if changing the specific wavelengths of the microwave radiation used would affect efficiency also.

  • Dwight Huth

    What about the huge hole in the middle of the Universe that has some type of unknown matter. No known matter not even Dark Matter has been detected in it. There has to be some type of field that it is generating otherwise because of the rotation of the Universe matter would have passed through the region.

  • IgnoranceBeater

    For f- sake, the nutcases are going to crawl out of the woodwork, again.

    AS USUAL when the article itself says ‘we can can not prove or disprove’, almost all the headings of all online and offline newspapers have the title ‘EM drive proven again’. They don’t even PRETEND to read the thing they’re writing (well, most often just copy-pasting) anymore, do they? It’s so pathetic. The standards of journalism really have gone down the drain.

    It’s NOT confirmed, thus (the opposite as what is being claimed by the press and fanfappers alike, thus).

    In fact, this was, again, a non-peer-review paper, which makes it of little scientific use. Yes, like all the ones before it, be it from the chinese or nasa. I keep repeating this, but this means the scientific value of it is really, really low.

    But luckily, when one actually READS it, it’s clear no ‘conirmation’ that the EM drive works is given here. Not one of the many dubious, faulty, and highly unlikely theorethical ‘explanations’. In fact, they seem more inclined to search for the most obvious: errors in measurement or set-up. Which is the most logical thing to do. They should start with eliminating all the potential magnetic and thermal influences. They clearly realise this too.

    Well, it’s there money (or is it the taxpayers?), so they can do as they wish, even if their goal is just looking for possible errors (in fact, that’s more worthwhile for this project than anything else).

    The problem with this ‘story’, is that it’s rekindling all the hype and the nutcase-ery of half the uneducated net-populace out there.

  • Chris Creamer

    Where do I sign up for the Saturn moon mission? For real, I would go with out hesitation. I have no credentials but I have studied quantum physics, space-time, cosmology, etc. for many years just out of personal interest so that would be a most incredible experience, not to mention the things I could learn on a venture such as that.

  • Verp

    It makes sense if you realize the rest of the cosmos is your reaction mass.

  • sara paola

    These people could not put a man in space above the earth, for such a long long time with use of the space shuttle, so bad, that they killed numerous men and women, not to mention, school teachers, and the space shuttle too, and you think they are going to build this? And Make it work?????? Any ding dong that gives these so called scientists like White money, has to be off their rocker no matter who it is. Planting a skin thick solar panel on the side of a comet, is not what this is really all about folks. Just like they plan to be able to make you warp into a time dimension, and no one has ever done this successfully at all ever. Area 51 is a perfect example of their failure rate. Yet, they all claim to be so smart… Of course cold fusion is real. They have driven cars on water, yes petro engines, and even a 727 boeing jet, But why is it, that they will not let it happen on this earth? Gov tears this down every day even now, to stop gov grants to the small companies for foolish reasons to help them make it a true reality. The reason why, is money $$$ Greed…. Yet, it says on the same dammed by God Money, In God We Trust. Now if all this is not hippocrite enough for you, OBAMA musilim, God is not a muslim… I dont know what is. Why would anyone listen to them? They are all thieves. Lets see em do it. Without killing themselves. That ill be the day…

  • tweeksdisqus


  • gnappi .

    Easy to explain: the microwaves clash with the inside of the device that is narrower and transfer momentum when reflected. When moving to the other side of the equipment (wider) they cancel partially (destructive interference) before reach it, creating an overall effect of thrust on the opposite side.