Warp Drive Confirmed? EMDrive Warp Field Works In A Vacuum

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Warp Drive Confirmed? EMDrive Warp Field Works In A Vacuum

New tests show that NASA's EMDrive produces thrust in a vacuum - which means warp drive spaceships might be in our future.

Earlier this week we learned that the EMDrive - a propulsion device that already breaks rules of physics - might actually be generating warp fields. If true it's absolutely amazing news that could enable space travel. But science urged caution. There was still a possibility the data was flawed because the EMDrive test wasn't conducted in a vacuum. So while the reasonable instinct is to get excited, we need to wait for more information.

Now NASA has completed that vacuum test. The results were the same. The chances of warp drives in our future just increased exponentially.

NASASpaceFlight has posted a detailed breakdown of the technology, but in short - the EMDrive defies science to the point of being near-magic. First of all, it generates thrust in violation of the law of conservation of momentum. More importantly, when you fire lasers through its resonance chamber those beams appear to move faster than light. One possibility is that the EMDrive is generating a small warp field, technology that has widely been considered science fiction for decades.

"[T]he EM Drive's thrust was due to the Quantum Vacuum (the quantum state with the lowest possible energy) behaving like propellant ions behave in a MagnetoHydroDynamics drive (a method electrifying propellant and then directing it with magnetic fields to push a spacecraft in the opposite direction) for spacecraft propulsion," Eagleworks scientist Harold White explained. "The NASASpaceflight.com group has given consideration to whether the experimental measurements of thrust force were the result of an artifact. Despite considerable effort within the NASASpaceflight.com forum to dismiss the reported thrust as an artifact, the EM Drive results have yet to be falsified."

That's a lot of science speak, so let me put it in spaceship terms. Projections suggest that if a two-to-six person spacecraft was equipped with an EMDrive, it would reach the moon in four hours. Our current technology can send a satellite there in eight hours.

"After consistent reports of thrust measurements from EM Drive experiments in the US, UK, and China - at thrust levels several thousand times in excess of a photon rocket, and now under hard vacuum conditions - the question of where the thrust is coming from deserves serious inquiry," White concluded.

Once again, it's worth remembering that this may not be a warp field. The EMDrive testing is now about to undergo significant peer review while other labs try to replicate the results. And even if it checks out, it might not necessarily be feasible for space travel.

But if all goes well, at the very least we'll have propulsion technology that doesn't require fuel - which is insanely beneficial for future space initiatives. At the very, very best, we'll get warp drives that can visit places we once saw with telescopes. I cannot wait to see these results, and I expect I'm not the only one.

Source: NASASpaceFlight, via io9

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I'm less concerned that it works in a vacuum, and would be more interested in finding out if it works away from earths magnetic field.

A different drive, but I would have earths mass shadow would mess with a warp field.

I doubt the "warp" part will come through, but fuel-less propulsion? I'm pop a bottle for that.

My question is: Can this technology achieve orbit? Just being able to build a fuel-less launch vehicle to get things up into space without it having to be like 95% fuel weight would make all the difference as far as colonizing our solar system goes.

The science behind this goes over my head, but if I'm understanding this correctly, this device can provide propulsion without fuel?

Ukomba:
I'm less concerned that it works in a vacuum, and would be more interested in finding out if it works away from earths magnetic field.

A different drive, but I would have earths mass shadow would mess with a warp field.

lacktheknack:
I doubt the "warp" part will come through, but fuel-less propulsion? I'm pop a bottle for that.

If this thing only works within Earth's magnetic fuel, I wonder if it can be repurposed for aircraft or even smaller forms of transit, like a bullet train. I'm all for any technology that can potentially make travel suck less.

Scrythe:

If this thing only works within Earth's magnetic fuel, I wonder if it can be repurposed for aircraft or even smaller forms of transit, like a bullet train. I'm all for any technology that can potentially make travel suck less.

The technology still requires energy to work, and we can already move around things without fuel inside of the earths atmosphere by just pushing off the atmosphere, or the road in the case of a car.

Fuel-less propulsion would be a huge deal in space because the only way to gain any speed in space we currently know of is to propel something with equal energy in the opposite direction, and since in space there isn't stuff you can grab and use to propel yourself all around you you have to carry it with you as fuel. Energy is much easier to come by in space than mass.

Ukomba:
I'm less concerned that it works in a vacuum, and would be more interested in finding out if it works away from earths magnetic field.

A different drive, but I would have earths mass shadow would mess with a warp field.

I'm not sure why another magnetic field would be relevant to these tests. How do you believe Earth's magnetic field would impact these results? Thrust is still being generated and there have been no questions regarding the Earth's magnetic field from what I've been reading. So you've got some 'splainng to do.

Scrythe:
The science behind this goes over my head, but if I'm understanding this correctly, this device can provide propulsion without fuel?

Essentially, yes. It does require energy (and a lot of it to travel long distances) and uses microwaves to generate the thrust.

We just don't know how yet. Some people think it's a warp field. NASA thinks (or thought) that it's a quantum vacuum behaving like propulsion ions. But we simply don't know. It may or may not be conflicting with classic models of conservation of momentum but either way it works.

Aetrion:

Fuel-less propulsion would be a huge deal in space because the only way to gain any speed in space we currently know of is to propel something with equal energy in the opposite direction, and since in space there isn't stuff you can grab and use to propel yourself all around you you have to carry it with you as fuel. Energy is much easier to come by in space than mass.

To go to some place like Alpha Centauri it'd take a nuclear reactor onboard (or fusion technology would actually have to work out, which would be the best possible ideal).

But hey, whereas we used to only be capable of reaching Alpha Centauri in 10,000 years, we can now reach it in 98 years (130 if we want to stop there). Huge difference.

lacktheknack:
I doubt the "warp" part will come through, but fuel-less propulsion? I'm pop a bottle for that.

Absolutely, this is huge for mankind. It's like we were all able to witness the birth of combustion engines.

Aetrion:
My question is: Can this technology achieve orbit? Just being able to build a fuel-less launch vehicle to get things up into space without it having to be like 95% fuel weight would make all the difference as far as colonizing our solar system goes.

To be honest, just having it work is massive in and of itself, since a lot of what would use such drives would likely be built in orbit anyway.

Now to piss everybody hoping that this tech will improve as fast as airplane tech did, NASA's budget just got cut by 40%.

Lightknight:

Ukomba:
I'm less concerned that it works in a vacuum, and would be more interested in finding out if it works away from earths magnetic field.

A different drive, but I would have earths mass shadow would mess with a warp field.

I'm not sure why another magnetic field would be relevant to these tests. How do you believe Earth's magnetic field would impact these results? Thrust is still being generated and there have been no questions regarding the Earth's magnetic field from what I've been reading. So you've got some 'splainng to do.

The point being they don't really understand what's happening themselves. They're generating thrust out of, supposedly, nothing. So the question is, what's generating it.

Could be that the drive does warp space in some way. Perhaps in a pre-established gravitational field, it can reduce the curvature of space time. That could appear to be thrust, but would actually be a partial negation of the local gravitational field and is simply not being accelerated downwards as much as before. That isn't a star trek warp field though, but an anti-gravity device would be awesome and possible even more useful. A reduction in the curvature of the space inside the EmDrive could also explain why light appears to move faster inside since the distance it has to move is smaller.

It could also be that the device is some how pushing against the earths magnetic field to generate the thrust in the same way. If that's what's happening, it's not a warp field at all Could be they already ruled that out as a possibility by seeing if a powerful electromagnet effects the magnitude or direction of the thrust.

Lightknight:
Absolutely, this is huge for mankind. It's like we were all able to witness the birth of combustion engines.

That's the part has put me on the hype train.

As a human, I'm excited. This is absolutely magnificent - even if it is affected by the Earth's magnetic field, it can be used to launch or slingshot a missile into orbit with less fuel, and with further optimization, maybe little to none? This is amazing.

As a Physics undergrad, though, this is absolutely horrifying. I can't say I'm hoping for it to fail horribly, but I hope its success will be delayed 4-5 years so it won't impact me. Plus, it will hopefully be further understood and not be considered quantum magic.

Ukomba:

Lightknight:

Ukomba:
I'm less concerned that it works in a vacuum, and would be more interested in finding out if it works away from earths magnetic field.

A different drive, but I would have earths mass shadow would mess with a warp field.

I'm not sure why another magnetic field would be relevant to these tests. How do you believe Earth's magnetic field would impact these results? Thrust is still being generated and there have been no questions regarding the Earth's magnetic field from what I've been reading. So you've got some 'splainng to do.

The point being they don't really understand what's happening themselves. They're generating thrust out of, supposedly, nothing. So the question is, what's generating it.

Could be that the drive does warp space in some way. Perhaps in a pre-established gravitational field, it can reduce the curvature of space time. That could appear to be thrust, but would actually be a partial negation of the local gravitational field and is simply not being accelerated downwards as much as before. That isn't a star trek warp field though, but an anti-gravity device would be awesome and possible even more useful. A reduction in the curvature of the space inside the EmDrive could also explain why light appears to move faster inside since the distance it has to move is smaller.

It could also be that the device is some how pushing against the earths magnetic field to generate the thrust in the same way. If that's what's happening, it's not a warp field at all Could be they already ruled that out as a possibility by seeing if a powerful electromagnet effects the magnitude or direction of the thrust.

Actually, it appears that the Earth's gravitational field has been negated by the experiments by being done perpendicular to Earth's magnetic field.

I don't know which I love more, the possibility of a reactionless drive in my lifetime or the fact that science has no explanation for how it works. Hold on while I freak out.

Haha, like magic. It's literally blowing my mind that this works. And even more mindblowing is how they don't know why it works entirely....

Last time I read a sci fi novel where technology was used that was not entirely understood, it was created by aliens and ultimately used as a weapon to try and wipe out the whole human race. I'm going to remain optimistic about this though.

Hmm, two things bugged me about this article. The first is the large mention of the warp drive aspect of the EMdrive, which isn't really mentioned at all in the article. Just a bit of a blurb at the end where they have some data saying something might be fishy with the lasers they sent in. That part of the "warp drive" mechanic isn't well explained, and not completely relevant to the rest of the information.

The big part is getting thrust with no fuel. Current rockets all work by throwing stuff out one side of the rocket, preferably after imparting a lot of energy to that stuff. We call this stuff reaction mass, or with chemical rockets fuel. They've got a model where the EMDrive works similarly, but instead of throwing out reaction mass, it works by imparting the energy onto virtual particles that function like reaction mass. Effectively, it makes the mass as it goes along, the the mass disappears, but the change in momentum stays.

Of course, it should be noted that virtual particles are code words for "Fuck if we know what's going on, but it looks kinda similar to real particles, sometimes. So we'll call it that" Still magic, in the end, but no warp field is necessary, and it annoys me to have it trotted out at the same time, when nothing has changed on the warp field front.

The second problem comes in by talking about an Earth to the moon launch vehicle, oddly named "Warpstar-1". Assuming that we could get all the efficiency out of the drive that we think might be possible, a launch vehicle of the sort could certainly exist. But we're a bit far from really guessing how much we can get out of the drive, and quite a bit far from that given current values. We'd need a good 500x the current efficiency for something like that to work. All our current EMDrive units are far and away not strong enough for escaping the Earth's gravity, even assuming that an actual thrust is being generated.

So, interesting, but far too soon to be talking about warp drives. Still cool though, if the science holds out.

Lightknight:

Ukomba:

Lightknight:
I'm not sure why another magnetic field would be relevant to these tests. How do you believe Earth's magnetic field would impact these results? Thrust is still being generated and there have been no questions regarding the Earth's magnetic field from what I've been reading. So you've got some 'splainng to do.

The point being they don't really understand what's happening themselves. They're generating thrust out of, supposedly, nothing. So the question is, what's generating it.

Could be that the drive does warp space in some way. Perhaps in a pre-established gravitational field, it can reduce the curvature of space time. That could appear to be thrust, but would actually be a partial negation of the local gravitational field and is simply not being accelerated downwards as much as before. That isn't a star trek warp field though, but an anti-gravity device would be awesome and possible even more useful. A reduction in the curvature of the space inside the EmDrive could also explain why light appears to move faster inside since the distance it has to move is smaller.

It could also be that the device is some how pushing against the earths magnetic field to generate the thrust in the same way. If that's what's happening, it's not a warp field at all Could be they already ruled that out as a possibility by seeing if a powerful electromagnet effects the magnitude or direction of the thrust.

Actually, it appears that the Earth's gravitational field has been negated by the experiments by being done perpendicular to Earth's magnetic field.

hmmm, do you mean?

Actually, it appears that the Earth's magnetic field has been negated by the experiments by being done perpendicular to Earth's magnetic field.

Because that doesn't necessarily take the magnetic field out of the issue. If the device is bending the magnetic force lines, Magnetic Tension force could cause it to act like the lifting surface of a wing and generate vertical thrust. The flow of an air field is perpendicular to the lift of the aircraft.

P-89 Scorpion:
Now to piss everybody hoping that this tech will improve as fast as airplane tech did, NASA's budget just got cut by 40%.

NASA doesn't need to build the fuckin thing.

I'm sure any of the half a dozen companies looking to get into the space business would love to start developing this stuff, not to mention the satellite tv companies and the GPS companies. Let them do the leg work, then NASA can focus on sending someone to Mars... and back!

Meh I'm into the bistro drive myself. Call me if you need someone to come up with crack pot hypotheses.

I read that as EDMdrive, which is cool because a Depeche Mode powered craft seems funky.

Let me know once they manage to launch a probe or something with it and manage with actual FTL... hell, it doesn't even have to translate to FTL. Even near light speeds would be badass and a major breakthrough. I could live to see the fucking solar system colonized. I could HELP COLONIZE the solar system.

Please don't let me down, Nasa.

Alar:
Let me know once they manage to launch a probe or something with it and manage with actual FTL... hell, it doesn't even have to translate to FTL. Even near light speeds would be badass and a major breakthrough. I could live to see the fucking solar system colonized. I could HELP COLONIZE the solar system.

Please don't let me down, Nasa.

Doesn't even have to be anything like light speed. Just getting one to move stuff from here to orbit without having to burn fuel would revolutionize the space industry. The solar system doesn't need FTL. It just needs cost efficient engines.

Zontar:

To be honest, just having it work is massive in and of itself, since a lot of what would use such drives would likely be built in orbit anyway.

Yea, but getting materials up into orbit is probably still the biggest hurdle to making any kind of spacetravel widespread.

WouldYouKindly:

P-89 Scorpion:
Now to piss everybody hoping that this tech will improve as fast as airplane tech did, NASA's budget just got cut by 40%.

NASA doesn't need to build the fuckin thing.

I'm sure any of the half a dozen companies looking to get into the space business would love to start developing this stuff, not to mention the satellite tv companies and the GPS companies. Let them do the leg work, then NASA can focus on sending someone to Mars... and back!

The last thing the world needs is for the private sector to become owners of the means to quickly and efficiently travel our solar system, let alone beyond it. Aside from the obvious fact that government investment in space travel is the reason anyone actually bothered with space travel and private companies are only now catching up to NASA from a few decades ago, nothing good has ever come from letting the private sector handle everything. The so called free market is largely responsible for most of the problems we have in this world such as the horrors of the American healthcare system, global warming, the slow death of the oceans, and plenty of other major threats to human welfare.

NASA absolutely needs to be involved in this as organizations who are able to engage in pure research and exploration without concern for generating a direct profit from their efforts serve a very valuable function. Namely trying to stop us all from killing our species so we can have a new iPhone.

Baresark:
Haha, like magic. It's literally blowing my mind that this works. And even more mindblowing is how they don't know why it works entirely....

"Nothing happens in contradiction to nature, only in contradiction to what we know of it." - Dana Scully, X-Files

The laws of physics can get really funky in certain edge-cases. You should see what ultra-cooled liquids can do- like crawl up the sides of their container. Superfluidity is neat!

First of all, it generates thrust in violation of the law of conservation of momentum.

That's a bit presumptuous. I remember this site reporting that particles were going faster than the speed of light at CERN some time ago. I was hoping not to see that again.

Every time humanity has had a leap forward in technology, we have had scores of Nay-sayers... nay-saying, that it would be the death of us all. I blame this technologies extremely complicated nature as to why the Negative Nancie's haven't crawled out of their caves to shout at the sky.

image

We're coming Green Skinned Women! We're coming, even if we have to fuck the laws of sciences themselves to get there!

Reminds me of when we first managed to create lasers. In the early days, as far as science was concerned, lasers were all just quantum magic. That they worked was clear, how exactly they worked was another matter. Maybe it'll be the same with this thing.

I easily admit that I really hope that this doesn't end up being another flop, like we've seen with seemingly 'revolutionary' inventions lately. And we know that bombshells like that do happen, like the internal combustion engine, like the printing press, the internet, the steam turbine, you name it. Fingers crossed that this is another in that long list.

008Zulu:
Every time humanity has had a leap forward in technology, we have had scores of Nay-sayers... nay-saying, that it would be the death of us all. I blame this technologies extremely complicated nature as to why the Negative Nancie's haven't crawled out of their caves to shout at the sky.

Every time humanity has had a leap forward in technology which failed we have someone yapping on about people being too negative and just look at the positives. Don't worry, be happy. Ignorance is a bliss. The three wise monkeys.

Your criticism of the cliché is a cliché. Get over it. Honestly, you're being hyperbolic by saying "that it would be the death of us all". Only the vocal minority (mostly religious) say that rhetoric.

Like anything new, there isn't enough evidence to say either way but right now it's new and therefore it's gets the used cars salesman treatment. After all, money is the agenda.

mad825:
Every time humanity has had a leap forward in technology which failed we have someone yapping on about people being too negative and just look at the positives. Don't worry, be happy. Ignorance is a bliss. The three wise monkeys.

Your criticism of the cliché is a cliché. Get over it. Honestly, you're being hyperbolic by saying "that it would be the death of us all". Only the vocal minority (mostly religious) say that rhetoric.

Like anything new, there isn't enough evidence to say either way but right now it's new and therefore it's gets the used cars salesman treatment. After all, money is the agenda.

Re-read what I wrote, carefully.

But in case you missed it again, let me point out the obvious message for you,

Vivi22:

WouldYouKindly:

P-89 Scorpion:
Now to piss everybody hoping that this tech will improve as fast as airplane tech did, NASA's budget just got cut by 40%.

NASA doesn't need to build the fuckin thing.

I'm sure any of the half a dozen companies looking to get into the space business would love to start developing this stuff, not to mention the satellite tv companies and the GPS companies. Let them do the leg work, then NASA can focus on sending someone to Mars... and back!

The last thing the world needs is for the private sector to become owners of the means to quickly and efficiently travel our solar system, let alone beyond it. Aside from the obvious fact that government investment in space travel is the reason anyone actually bothered with space travel and private companies are only now catching up to NASA from a few decades ago, nothing good has ever come from letting the private sector handle everything. The so called free market is largely responsible for most of the problems we have in this world such as the horrors of the American healthcare system, global warming, the slow death of the oceans, and plenty of other major threats to human welfare.

NASA absolutely needs to be involved in this as organizations who are able to engage in pure research and exploration without concern for generating a direct profit from their efforts serve a very valuable function. Namely trying to stop us all from killing our species so we can have a new iPhone.

We did get the whole industrial revolution thing. The railroad. And isn't China worse despite not having a free market? It's true the free market isn't working out exactly as hoped, but I don't know how advanced we would be without it.

I think the biggest question to all of this is if I can finally have my stupid flying car. It's been almost a century sinceevery science fiction radio play, magazine, story, cartoon, movie and stupid future city amusement parks promised we'd be jetting around Mars by now.

Nimcha:

First of all, it generates thrust in violation of the law of conservation of momentum.

That's a bit presumptuous. I remember this site reporting that particles were going faster than the speed of light at CERN some time ago. I was hoping not to see that again.

Presumptuous? Not at all. CERN waited months trying to explain the apparent problem themselves; they couldn't. The "Laws of Physics" are not the immutable principles that govern the universe; they are a human attempt to map said principles. Consider Galileo. He ran into opposition because if the Earth orbited the sun, stars would have noticeable parallax shift. They didn't. The evidence plainly supported a geocentric theory of astronomy. Had Galileo had access to nineteenth-century equipment, he could've shown the parallax shift, but he didn't. He ended up being correct- but the evidence didn't support him.

Granted, the sentence probably should've said "apparently generates thrust in violation...", but that's beside the point. The evidence indicates that many important accepted theories aren't completely correct. What about that is not worth reporting?

Baresark:

Last time I read a sci fi novel where technology was used that was not entirely understood, it was created by aliens and ultimately used as a weapon to try and wipe out the whole human race. I'm going to remain optimistic about this though.

I could be completely wrong here, but are you talking about the Lost Fleet? I only asked because I just got done reading that series and something like that happens there.

OT: Well...hot damn. This is interesting.

I am getting hyped by science again. This usually ends up in either something awesome or something bitterly disappointing.

image

Whatever happens, I'm drinking a toast to scientific advancement either way. :)

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