Unless you haven’t been living in a video game fueled trance, enhanced by copious amounts of unhealthy foods, you might have missed the latest science geek rage. It seems that the Impossible Drive might actually have something to it. What, no one is sure of but one thing is certain there are more skeptics than believers at this point.
Not a science geek? Ok, here is the basics. Microwaves bounce around in an resonating chamber and thrust is initiated and therefore this “engine” is called an EM Drive. Sounds great right? It certainly does. Should such a thing work it could get us to Pluto in less than 18 months, according to some. NASA has done some testing and it has shown some results and therefore two German scientists wanted to see if they could reproduce them. Even the Chinese have gotten into the act, although no results have been published.
Here is the problem and why many folks think it is all fake science or people reading the test tubes wrong. This drive violates the laws of physics and as Scotty from Star Trek put it, “You canna violate the laws of Physics.” It violates momentum which means something goes in and something comes out. Well, in the EM drive nothing comes out but thrust and that doesn’t make sense, according to some folks who went to school for that sort of thing.
The bump in all of this testing, complaining and bragging is the German scientists supposedly found thrust coming out and thus replicated the NASA results. Kind of. Skeptics claim the tests were flawed but the fact is there was thrust. The two scientists have published a paper, you can read the Abstract here (Science Words) and decide for yourself.
To be honest, what got me in all this super geeky, he said, she said, is a comment by one of the researchers. To paraphrase, he basically said this could lead us to readdress some of the laws of physics we all know and love. My thought on that is; isn’t that what science is supposed to do? Challenge our preconceptions and give us answers that make us ask more questions? Since I don’t get grant money to ask questions, perhaps I don’t know but I certainly hope it eventually works even if we have to change the law to do it.