Flying The Infinite Improbability Drive

Not since the cold fusion confusion of 1989 has the pop science media industry had a story like the EmDrive. The EmDrive is a propellantless thruster – a device that turns RF energy into force. If it works, it will revolutionize any technology that moves. Unlike rocket motors that use chemicals, cold gas, ions, or plasma, a spacecraft equipped with an EmDrive can cruise around the solar system using only solar panels. If it works, it will violate the known laws of physics.

After being tested in several laboratories around the world, including Eagleworks, NASA’s Advanced Propulsion Physics Laboratory, the concept of a device that produces thrust from only electricity is still not disproven, ridiculed, and ignored. For a device that violates the law of conservation of momentum, this is remarkable. Peer review of several experiments are ongoing, but [Paul] has a much more sensational idea: he’s building an EmDrive that will propel a cubesat.

Make no mistake, our current understanding of the universe is completely incompatible with the EmDrive. The idea of an engine that dumps microwave energy into a metal cone and somehow produce thrust is on the fringes of science. No sane academic physicist would pursue this line of research, and the mere supposition that the EmDrive might work is irresponsible. Until further peer-reviewed experiments are published, the EmDrive is the fanciful dream of a madman. That said, if it does work, we get helicarriers. Four EmDrives mounted to a Tesla Roadster would make a hovercar. Your grandchildren would only see Earth’s sun as a tiny speck in the night sky.

This isn’t [Paul]’s first attempt to create a working propellantless thruster. For last year’s Hackaday Prize, [Paul] built a baby EmDrive. Unlike every other EmDrive experiment that used 2.4GHz microwaves, [Paul] designed his engine to operate on 22 to 26 GHz. This means [Paul]’s is significantly smaller and can easily fit into a cubesat. If it works, this cubesat will be able to maintain its orbit indefinitely, fly to the moon and back, or go anywhere in the solar system provided the solar panels get enough light.

While [Paul]’s motivations in creating a citizen science version of the EmDrive are laudable, Hackaday.io’s own baby EmDrive does not display the requisite scientific rigor for a project of this magnitude. Experimental setups are ill-defined, graph axes are unlabeled, and there is not enough information to properly critique [Paul]’s baby EmDrive experiments.

That said, we can’t blame a guy for trying, and the EmDrive is still an active area of research with several papers under peer review. [Paul]’s plan of putting an EmDrive into orbit is putting the cart several miles ahead of the horse, but it is still a very cool project for this year’s Hackaday Prize.

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105 thoughts on “Flying The Infinite Improbability Drive

    1. Wikipedia has an article for the thermal radiation pressure from the sun at representative distances.

      At the orbit of Mercury, the pressure is 60 micro newtons per square meter of silhouette, and drops off as distance increases. Earth = 9 uN, and Jupiter it’s less than 1 uN.

      Per the wikipedia page on EM drive, the thrust generated is on the order of 20-ish mN, depending on the experiment.

      About 1000 times the radiation pressure due to the sun.

      Unless you were referring to the radiation pressure exhibited by the spacecraft. The hyper physics page on thermal radiation pressure online calculator comes up with 6 micro pascals, which would be 6 uN for a similar 1 sq meter satellite. (At 400 degrees Kelvin.)

      Also, the satellite would radiate in all directions, and much of this would cancel out directionally.

      (Variation up to a factor of 2 or so, depending on whether the satellite is reflective or absorptive.)

      1. Yes, but the cubesat puts out about 3 watts, the EM drive testing was at around 2.5kW, a factor of 1000. And lets not forget, you are in LEO, so there is appreciable drag as well.

        1. Yeah, I hate to be downers on people trying to do fun experiments like this, but there’s no way you’re going to be able to figure out if this thing creates any thrust or not outside of a carefully controlled lab. Especially not on a satellite. There’s just no way you can keep track of all of the forces at the uN level. Heck, you can’t even do that at the mN level, just due to variations due to gravity.

          1. Maybe not a LEO satellite, but in a higher stable orbit any continued acceleration would be measurable through velocity changes. So long as you trusted the controller not to use an alternative propellant or ensured that the increases were too large for an alternative fuel source to be a possibility.

        1. “A stickler hallmark is that those who speak or write differently can’t merely be wrong; they must be depraved, too.”
          ― Robert Lane Greene, You Are What You Speak: Grammar Grouches, Language Laws, and the Politics of Identity

    2. It is NOT propellentless ! It works like a submarine it is immersed in its propellant which is the Quantum Virtual Plasma. If you bothered doing the homework you would know that. It’s a very simple concept and you need to go actually do the work and fix all this misinformation.

        1. Actually… not quite.

          The idea of the aether was that it was the rest frame of light – that light propagated at a velocity in the aether, and we measure light at a velocity relative to that aether. Michelson-Morley showed that there is no frame like that, and relativity eventually explained how you have a universe with *no* universal rest frame like that.

          But the idea that there’s a universal medium that light propagates in? That… actually turns out to be true. For instance, light exists because the Higgs field fills all of spacetime, and it has a non-zero energy density. You can actually think of it like a big fluid filling all of space, insanely enough. That field actually is what defines the way that photons can propagate without interacting with that fluid (i.e. how they can move at the speed of light).

          The “quantum virtual plasma” is hand-wavy term for that sea of particles. So… yeah. Not really true that something like the aether doesn’t exist. Space isn’t empty.

  1. “Experimental setups are ill-defined, graph axes are unlabeled, and there is not enough information to properly critique [Paul]’s baby EmDrive experiments.”

    Yet you still gave him a prize? Fuck’s wrong with you?

    1. @HC, Still things could be stranger. It could be a Kickstarter with 555 chips, arduinos, OpenWRT computers & build a mainframe (with a potato salad) somewhere underwater.

  2. “If it works, it will violate the known laws of physics.” Or run off the nuclear reactions of the Sun if solar powered. There seem to be questions about conservation of momentum or conservation of mass-energy. But it does use energy, which ultimately comes from mass aaaaand…….it might kinda work out. Imagine it is powered by a nuclear reactor. The change in momentum could come from the change in mass of the reactor fuel – that isn’t very much momentum to work with, but ya gotta start somewhere.

    1. The issue is that in this thing *nothing* leaves the system if its working as designed, so it can accelerate with a constant energy output regardless of velocity even though the energy of the system its in is increasing at the rate of V^2. For photonic thrusters and the like it works because essentially the breakeven point where you can get more energy out than you put in happens when the thruster exceeds the speed of light. This seems to have a rather lower break even point.
      That said I want my damn helicarrier

      1. Sure it violates the conservation of motion, possibly, but laws are there to be broken… Seriously, if we accept all scientific theories and never question them, we would never get anywhere… I may think there is almost no chance in hell of it working, but then again why the hell not? energy has to do something, why cant we build a device to convert energy from one form directly into inertia without having to rely on newton…

        1. The conservation of momentum omission is really a big violation that would break the entire universe if it were possible. Literally, as in, we would all just blow up to sub-atomic particles right now because there’s nothing to stop more and more energy from appearing out of nothing. If it were actually that easy to break the law, we wouldn’t be here in the first place because the entire evolution of the universe would have had to take into account the fact that conservation of momentum is easily broken by microwaves.

          Scientific laws aren’t broken insomuch as they are amended, and those additions must explain the already observable. That means you don’t suddenly get anti-gravity hovercrafts by showing that Einstein was wrong – because relativity still works – just the same as how Einstein didn’t completely overthrow Newton in explaining gravity – he just extended our understanding of it.

          1. “The conservation of momentum omission is really a big violation that would break the entire universe if it were possible.”

            Come on, tone down the hyperbole. This is the sort of stuff that lends credence to people saying the LHC is going to blow up the planet or something dumb.

            It’s not possible to violate conservation of energy or momentum. Ever. Why? Because they’re not really laws. They’re axioms. They are choices that physicists make. When it looks like conservation of energy is broken, physicists add new particles or fields to restore it. That’s the way it works. They do this all the time. Physicists like writing down laws that are time, space, and direction invariant, and that’s what conservation of energy and momentum *means*.

            The EmDrive people are not claiming they’re violating conservation of momentum. They’re claiming that they’re pushing off of the unicorn fairy magic dust field. (Wait, “quantum vacuum” – no, never mind, same thing, both just as likely). Can I completely claim that’s total crap? …. Well, pretty much, yeah, because of your last sentence. You’re not polarizing the unicorn fairy magic dust field using freaking microwaves. But there’s always some tiny itty-bitty possibility that it’s not.

            The wacko thing is that thanks to the past 50 years of particle physics (and maybe even the past 5!) the idea isn’t totally nuts. I mean, there *is* a particle sea – the Higgs vacuum – filling up all of space that can carry momentum (hell, it transports momentum all the time). So it’s not *totally* crazy (just mostly crazy) to imagine a device that can push off and transfer momentum via the Higgs vacuum. But it’s just not happening with microwaves, or anything else you can build small-scale.

          2. >”Come on, tone down the hyperbole. This is the sort of stuff that lends credence to people saying the LHC is going to blow up the planet or something dumb.”

            No it isn’t, and the only way you’d say that is if you didn’t understand the point.

            >”Because they’re not really laws. They’re axioms. They are choices that physicists make.”

            Now THAT gives credence to all sorts of crank science. You can’t choose to ignore conservation laws because if they were breakable there would be logical consequences that are inconsistent with the reality we’re observing, or the existence of it in the first place.

            >”The EmDrive people are not claiming they’re violating conservation of momentum. They’re claiming that they’re pushing off of the unicorn fairy magic dust field.”

            They’ve yet to actually demonstrate the “pushing” part as well, so it’s a whole lot of noise over nothing. The fundamental debate is over whether there’s -any- observation of thrust at all.

          3. “Now THAT gives credence to all sorts of crank science. You can’t choose to ignore conservation laws because if they were breakable there would be logical consequences that are inconsistent with the ”

            No, it gives credence to *good science* that formulates the math differently. It also helps people understand what conservation of energy *is*, rather than thinking it’s an ‘unbreakable law of the universe.’

            I never said “ignore conservation laws.” I said they’re axioms. You don’t *have* to start with them, and in some limited cases, there are advantages to using physics which doesn’t follow conservation of energy.

            The Universe is a *giant* violation of conservation of energy. Switch your eyes to see microwave. Look up in the sky. See that big giant fireball? Yeah. Everywhere in the universe, you see that *same exact fireball.* Want an absolute reference frame? There it is – the frame in which that giant fireball has no overall direction (mathematically, no dipole moment). So you have a *unique frame* and a *unique time* in the entire Universe. Go look up Noether’s theorem. By definition, that violates conservation of energy.

            Crap! Did we all just explode? That’s a violation of conservation of energy, and we have *no idea* what caused it.

            Did physicists just give up? Abandon conservation of energy? Say “this MUST be a giant microwave ball we’re in because it can’t *possibly* be a violation of conservation of energy”?

            No. They just said “the energy came from someplace else.” Where? Who knows! They made up a field – the “inflaton field.” Completely made up. No evidence for it other than “energy had to come from *somewhere*…”. And that’s how conservation of energy got restored with respect to inflation.

            I can give other examples if you want. But the idea’s simple. When you find a case of violation of conservation of energy, you can either write down time-dependent laws of physics, and abandon the idea of overall conservation of energy, which people often *do*, or you invent a place for the energy to come from.

            This isn’t particularly controversial. It’s just not very well understood by people.

        2. “energy has to do something,”

          No it doesn’t.

          Energy by definition is potential, not actual. There is no such separate real entity called “energy” – what energy is is defined by the potential interactions within systems, and the properties of the systems dictate whether you can translate this energy into something else.

          1. Or to put it in layman’s terms, saying “why cant we build a device to convert energy from one form directly into inertia without having to rely on newton” is like saying “Why can’t we build a device to convert christmas carols into gasoline”.

            It’s a complete misunderstanding of what energy is and what it can do.

          2. No, actually.

            Probably the best crude definition of energy is “the ability to do work,” or equivalently, a property of an object/system that to *potentially* do work. Potential energy is the ability, due to an object’s position, for it to do work. The ‘potential’ part there is a bit unfortunate – it’s really just positional energy. Could be gravitational, could be electrical, could be spring displacement, but fundamentally it’s all just energy due to position in some force field.

            Kinetic energy is the ability, due to an object’s motion, for it to do work. In other words, an object with 10 J of KE has the ability (or ‘potential’) to do 10 J of work.

            Dax is definitely right – energy isn’t a separate ‘thing’ that objects have. It’s the relative ability of objects to do work.

          3. >”Close, but missed it by thaaaaat much. Energy is energy. Potential energy is potential. Kinetic Energy is doing something.”

            You’re making a semantic confusion and thinking you’ve explained something by naming it.

            Energy is not a thing, nor is it an event, it’s an imaginary abstraction that generalizes the idea of a relationship between different co-mutable events and things. It’s basically “how much A do I get for B”, and the confusion is that because you can express it as a number and name the number “energy”, you get the idea that there is this thing called “energy”, when in reality there is just A and B.

            That is to say, there is no “kinetic energy”, only moving objects. The fact that A has “energy” in relation to B doesn’t mean you can extract it and arbitrarily turn A to C.

      2. Something leaves or it will melt. It needs electric power from solar, chemical, mechanical, nuclear – some source of energy. The microwaves in the cavity eventually become heat and it radiates in the IR unless it gets mighty hot. Or the microwaves have to become kinetic energy of the whole system (as with heat) but not isotropic and homogeneous. All the systems that provide energy loose mass and how that might work into the conservation of momentum I have no idea.

        And momentum is at the core of quantum mechanics, the most successful and experimentally precise theory ever.

        1. “Or the microwaves have to become kinetic energy of the whole system”

          Relative to what?

          You don’t have “kinetic energy” in relation to nothing. That’s why the conservation of momentum applies – in order for something to move, something else must move relative to it, so if there’s nothing coming out of the drive, no radiation or particles shooting out, then it can’t exhibit thrust.

          1. Kinetic energy of the whole system as in its temperature – the rotation and vibrational collision rates of the atoms and molecules. Chose whatever coordinate system you want, the temperature will be an invariant. If you get a non-isotropic effect and accelerate, then kinetic energy relative to where you where at some point in the past as well.

            What is missing is that it is not a closed system. If somehow the EMR bounced back and forth in a way that gives a net thrust, it also eventually redices to heat and photons are radiated – equally in all directions of the experiment is fair. The energy producing mechanism converts mass to energy so it’s momentum changes. Where does it go?

            But this is pretty boring and is way too much like the arguments around “cold fusion” when it was announced. Or nonsense questions like “How long would it take to detect if the Sun vanished.”

    2. No laws of physic will be violated but mankind’s ego.It’s ridiculous to know 5 % of the world you live in ( have in mind so called “scintists”) and to give definitive judgement for this or that.

    1. Actually, it can push things a lot. Thermonuclear bomb is ignited by a fission bomb that generates so much of radiation that the radiation pressure compresses the thermonuclear material to the point where it starts fusing.

    1. the Cubesats come in various sizes, with a ‘U’ designation, like network rack equipment. 1u is 4.5×4.5″ if I recall – and they go up to 19″ long, if I recall. So you could send a whole thermos up.

      1. A rack unit is measured linearly up and down the rack, not in 3D. One rack unit, or 1U on a network rack is 1.75″ vertically. There is no other dimension to consider in a rack unit. Yes, there are other dimensions to the equipment being put into the rack, but “rack unit” only refers to the height of that equipment.

        A common width of network and other racking equipment is 19″, so you were correct there.

        1. He’s referring to CubeSat units. Yes, 1U in network racks is 19″ wide, 1.75″ tall and 19-29″ deep(varies). CubeSat size unit is multiple of 10x10x10cm or 10x10x11.35cm (3.94×3.94×4.47 inches) and written like 1U, 3U or 6U inspired by racks you mention.

  3. I object to the phrase “No sane academic physicist would pursue this line of research, and the mere supposition that the EmDrive might work is irresponsible.”

    Academia and scientific research is built on the principle of exploration. Not everything everyone has ever researched has turned out to be accurate and correct. We prove things wrong so that we may learn something or reaffirm a theory.

    The supposition that an EmDrive might work IS responsible – after all we need to prove it either works or doesn’t work and the only way of doing this is to design experiments to detect whether a device like this is capable of producing thrust thereby supposing that it works!

    I also object that no sane academic physicist would pursue this line of research. Studying Physics by nature renders scientists insane :)

    1. “the mere supposition that the EmDrive might work is irresponsible.”

      Making this statement is more irresponsible than supposing that the EmDrive might work.
      WTF does the author hate science?

      1. NASA got conflicting results that went against the proposed mechanism of the drive, and were under the technical limits for the experimental setup to reliably measure.

        More precisely, they put the null hypothesis case to the test by testing a cavity that was supposed to produce no net thrust (symmetric: two opposing cones) and measured net thrust, which basically invalidates the whole setup. Of course the cranksters then jumped to conclusions to say the EmDrive works but not the way anyone thought it would.

        1. “under the technical limits for the experimental setup to reliably measure” They should then test it with more sensitive equipment, or a more powerful test device. If the results of that test shrink significantly into the margin of error then you can easily argue that it is just sensor noise.

          I may be wrong, but aren’t the results you talking about (Null test) where they did an experiment that shouldn’t have created thrust (assuming their hypothesis), but measured thrust anyway?

          There are 2 possible explanations of this, the experiment itself caused false measurements (and that no thrust was created) or that thrust was created even when their hypothesis was that none would. In either case they should do additional experiments to determine which case happened

          My opinion is that this device “works” by sensor noise or some other interaction with the testing setup, however it is in science’s best interest to test and prove what actually happened.

          As far as putting it in orbit, that’s a fair experiment so long as the test is accurate enough to measure the results.

        2. No, that wasn’t the null case.

          They had three versions to test: a slotted unit, an unslotted unit (the null case) and a dummy RF load.

          Both the slotted and unslotted units produced thrust, and the thrust switched direction when they changed the direction of the drive. The RF dummy load produced no thrust.

          The “null” problem is that according to the designer, the slots in the unit were supposed to be significant, but the fact that the unslotted unit produced thrust invalidated that argument. Other people have purposely designed and built unslotted units based on a different theory and have shown positive results too.

          Either way it appears there is a genuine phenomenon occurring and it would be great to research it further.

  4. To suggest something like this would be useful for anything more than ultra low thrusts for space missions is pretty ridiculous. NASA already has ion thrusters that use electricity to increase thrust, but we’re not seeing them used on hoverboards…

    1. Actually it might work on Earth. Just think about all that energy focused in tiny space of thruster, overheating atmosphere and thus working a bit like rocket engine. But it will require so much energy it will melt concrete and skating over molten concrete surrounded with extremely hot air is not my idea of good time.

      This is just tabloid journalism, and bad tabloid journalism because [Brian Benchoff] wrote: “No sane academic physicist would pursue this line of research, and the mere supposition that the EmDrive might work is irresponsible.” but earlier he wrote: “After being tested in several laboratories around the world, including Eagleworks, NASA’s Advanced Propulsion Physics Laboratory, the concept of a device that produces thrust from only electricity is still not disproven,” which implies that people working at Eagleworks and NASA’s APPL are insane.

      1. ” which implies that people working at Eagleworks and NASA’s APPL are insane.”

        No, it implies that they’re not academic physicists (they’re not, they work in a skunkworks lab, not in academia) and that what they’re doing is irresponsible. And I don’t entirely disagree – they lend a fair amount of credence to the idea without adding an equal amount of scientific rigor, which I would classify as irresponsible.

    1. The theory behind EmDrive require no reaction mass to be released from the system. It says “virtual particle” in an specially designed enclosed chamber could give more force onto wall in desired direction of travel, than to wall on the other side, resulting in thrust.
      I really wish this actually work as a RF-to-kinetic conversion device, but the theory is so perpetual motion sounding.

    2. The thrust claimed, while small, is orders of magnitude larger than the effects understood with a solar sail.

      A nuclear photonic rocket is like a reverse-solar-sail (radiation comes from the ship instead of the sun), but I think that’s what you’re getting at. They’re well understood, and while there are different designs, the theoretical maximum efficiency is 0.003mN/kW. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_photonic_rocket

      The claimed efficiency in emDrive experiments is a few orders of magnitude higher. Some experimenters have claimed hundreds of mN/kWs, but even the lesser claims of single-digit mN/kW are orders of magnitude higher than what we would expect by using the physics of solar sails. http://emdrive.wiki/Experimental_Results

  5. If you send RF you are basically sending energy and as energy is mass, I don’t see why it is completely incompatible with our current understanding of the universe.
    Solar sailing is based on this no?
    Please note, that I’m not saying that it should work, for a simple reason: 1kWh of energy corresponds to a mass of 4e-8 grams.

  6. Im trying to get this out of my head. so be understanding.
    I thought that energy has mass so you can change that energy back to mass. Look at the telleporter that they are working on today. (not star trek). My understanding is you can convert mass to energy so why cant you convert it back?

  7. Like every one of these fringe notions, I simply want to see a demonstration under controlled conditions first, and then a search for an explanation. Claims of violations of the Conservation Laws are very premature, and should only be considered after every other possible explanation has been exhausted. As for those that want to believe that these laws were made to be broken, and harbour some hope that they might be, I would suggest you make a point of trying to understand just what the implications of that might be. I guarantee that if you do you will realize just how profound they are, and why you do not want to even think of living in a universe where they did not hold utterly true. Assuming one where they were not could evolve intelligent life to consider the matter in the first place.

    1. Thank you for what might be the only sane comment in this thread. The Em Drive is rubbish, and always has been. “Science” does not mean spending resources to disprove every crackpot that has zero plausibility and no possible mechanism. People who think that physics laws are “meant to be broken” don’t understand that Einstein builds on Newton. One does not replace or inviolate the other. In science, laws are not broken- nuance is added.

      HaD, please stop writing about this and pouring fuel on this ridiculous fire. It doesn’t matter how badly you want this fiction to be true. It isn’t. The fact that so many believe in this nonsense is a sad commentary on the state of science education.

    2. Claims of violations of the conservation laws apply on the proposed explainations by the authors and speculators of the EmDrive – i.e. all the explainations that people have come up to try and tell why it works rely on violations of fundamental laws.

      As for the device itself, people are yet to prove that there is any observable phenomenon at all. It’s not conclusive whether anyone has really measured any thrust out of it – it’s really premature to even talk about it before there’s evidence that there is evidence of anything.

      1. “i.e. all the explainations that people have come up to try and tell why it works rely on violations of fundamental laws.”

        Well, kindof. Their explanations just rely on physics that almost certainly doesn’t work, but no one’s bothered to work it out in long detail because if it causes problems at the macroscale in situations like this, it almost certainly would cause problems for all other sorts of phenomena.

        So they probably do, but unfortunately it’s not glaringly obvious. Well, I mean, it is, but not in the “1+1 does not equal 3” way. We don’t exactly have huge amounts of experience working with vacuum fluctuations so it’s difficult to argue exactly how it does or doesn’t work off the cuff, and working out what other consequences a wacko idea would have often takes time.

        1. The point is that the debate is an example of the third degree of stupid because nobody has shown that there really exists any thrust out of these devices in the first place.

          It’s just cold fusion or “zero point energy” all over again.

          1. Yes, but throwing up your hands and saying “conservation of momentum!” doesn’t help

            The problem isn’t a lack of understanding of high-school physics, and it’s not that they don’t have any explanation for the effect (crappy as that explanation is). The problem is shoddy experimental methods. Talking about how it *can’t* work is what ends up dominating the conversation, rather than about how it *doesn’t* work.

            It’s the same thing that happened when the OPERA experiment effed up their time measurements and thought they had faster-than-light neutrinos. Rather than getting in more experts to debug the problem, they held a press conference, tons of theorists jumped at the idea, finding ways to explain it. Tons of people started arguing back and forth, saying how it can’t possibly work, finding ways that it might, kinda, sorta work… and then it ends up being a connector that wasn’t screwed in.

            This is also why I say that White reporting that they’ve seen some thrust is irresponsible, just like I said OPERA reporting those results was irresponsible – because it’s clear he *wants* it to work, and he’s not actively finding ways of explaining that it doesn’t work, so it just adds to the quackery.

  8. Is it possible that these things are shedding molecules of whatever metal the shell is made of, propelled by the RF energy within? Maybe it’s such a small amount of mass that it is hard to notice but it gets noticeable thrust because the molecules, being propelled by radio waves are leaving at relativistic speeds. I guess that would make it a really really efficient ion drive.

    Could that be what is going on with these things?

  9. I think this is a valid experiment, it is a relatively cheap way to test if the drive works. I know negatives are hard to prove but this could certainly prove the positive with a unambiguous result the device can change it’s orbit or it can’t.
    Can, scientists get the fun of trying to explain how it actually works.
    Can’t believers get the fun of trying to explain why it did not.

  10. “If it works, it will violate the known laws of physics.” And about time too! Can’t go faster than light, can’t have perpetual motion, can’t have an action without a reaction, the laws of physics suck, we’re better off without them!

  11. Long established physical laws aren’t violated. Once in a while we discover conditions under which they don’t apply and a new area of study is born, for example Newton’s laws hold true in normal situations but under exceptional circumstances (speeds near the speed of light) they fail to be accurate and relativity was discovered.
    It is possible that the EM drive operates under conditions where the known laws of physics apply. But extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Right now we have some evidence of an unknown effect. Further work will either demonstrate that it’s real and lead to refinements to the known laws of physics or will find the experimental error. Time will tell.

    1. There is no ‘evidence’ here as the term is understood in science, there are some observations only and these might themselves be artifacts of experimental error, or poor design. If indeed there is any net thrust being produced, when all is said and done, it is highly unlikely that it will be found to violate any conservation laws. And that is what makes this whole thing stink of woo in my estimation: everyone is too quick in invoking the possibility that this is the case, and it is way too soon, and any serious researcher knows this. It’s funny, only two types of people entertain the idea that the conservation laws can be violated: those that really do not understand just how profound they are, and charlatans trying to take advantage of the former.

  12. “Not since the cold fusion confusion of 1989 has the pop science media industry had a story like the EmDrive.”

    Umm, I can tell that the author knows nothing about either item. The “cold fusion” apparatus had not been tested (and confirmed) by multiple, independent labs around the world. As the EMDrive has. I suggest that the author READ the white papers from the inventors website. It is CLEAR from those and the test results that momentum is conserved…

    1. Might work, In fact I have some plans to build a device very much like this, sticking point is that importing the parts is problematical. Ideas so far: modified HTSC variant cooled with a closed circuit mechanism similar to the one used in MgB2 based MR scanners ($$$$) or my own idea which uses a superconductor pressurized with hydrogen and does not need cooling! Patent pending.

  13. You want to use the “Holly Hop drive” .. Or better still the Bad News Drive. Problem is you are so unpopular that this is pretty much useless except for high entropy items like income tax letters.

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