Science. How does it all work? Who makes our machines go, and why aren’t they currently going faster?
While nobody can pretend to answer any of these great questions, we do have some honest-to-god, Isaac-Newton-corpse-turning science news.
A NASA study has successfully not-disproved (scientists are skeptical okay?) an apparently paradoxical propulsion engine that’s been in the works for a few years now: the EM Drive, AKA the freaking ‘Impossible Machine’.
Proposed by British inventor Roger Shawyer in 1999, the Electromagnetic Drive works off the idea that bouncing microwaves around its cone-shaped metal cavity can propel the system forward. If applied on a larger scale, it would be both cheaper and more efficient than our current rocket fuel; Shawyer proposed that the machine could lead us to Mars within 70 days.
Unfortunately, our current understanding of the EM Drive would also appear to violate Newton’s Third Law of Physics by creating this thrust seemingly out of nowhere. The law tells us that energy cannot be created, only redistributed, and this magic machine theoretically cannot exist.
Disproving Newton and the basis of all of our current sources of energy would impact society on a colossal scale.
2016 is so fucked even the emdrive is real pic.twitter.com/heH8U9Nmo9
— sigfig (@sigfig) November 12, 2016
The report, titled ‘Measurement of Impulsive Thrust from a Closed Radio-Frequency Cavity in Vacuum,’ was released last week after being peer-reviewed.
Scientists ran tests on thrust and reverse-thrust and determined a number of variables, such as efficiency and output, but more importantly found that, for whatever reason, the EM Drive freaking works.
We need to stress that the machine working doesn’t necessarily prove that it violates our sacred understanding of energy, only that no one properly understands how it works.
The closest scientists got to an explanation was pilot-wave theory, a controversial, and crazy complicated, interpretation of quantum mechanics that would somehow allow for the machine to create thrust in a vacuum with seemingly nothing in its wake:
“If the vacuum is indeed mutable and degradable as was explored, then it might be possible to do/extract work on/from the vacuum, and thereby be possible to push off of the quantum vacuum and preserve the laws of conservation of energy and conservation of momentum.”
But if we can, in fact, create energy from basically nowhere, you can say goodbye to coal, solar-power, and me, for that matter friends, because I’m off to Mars the first fucking chance I get.
Source: Science Alert.
Photo: News.com.au / NASA.