Author Topic: EM Drive X-Prize Planning  (Read 46853 times)

Offline TheTraveller

Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #20 on: 05/13/2015 05:55 PM »
BIG problem is with BIG money on the table, everybody will go DARK and nothing will be shared. I've seen 1st hand what greed does to the best of people. Best of luck.

My EM Drive research, plans, drawings, schematics, BOM, test rig, photos, videos, result data, etc will be public. Don't care about the money. Only way to fly this.

Yes, and if you approach this from another perspective, if it is already dark, this will force it back into the light. I commend you on your openness and altruism.  :)  Please help us design some top notch challenge criteria.

This is an opportunity for skeptics to chime in with some seriously impressive "put up or shut up" challenges which would be worthy of recognition if successfully met.

I know this site is home to the best of the best who know their stuff.

If we set up a gofundme to collect money to fund the replicators attempts, would you (@Mulletron and @TheTraveller) accept money from that?
-snip-

Heck no, and that is not the focus of this thread.

I expect my Shawyer like Teeter Totter knife edge balance test rig and Flight Thruster replication to cost me less than $1,000. I can and should fund that. All the data will be open sourced.

Will do live public video streams of the test sessions, with live output from the data capture system.
"As for me, I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas.
Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Online sghill

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1312
  • United States
  • Liked: 1440
  • Likes Given: 2019
Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #21 on: 05/13/2015 05:57 PM »
BIG problem is with BIG money on the table, everybody will go DARK and nothing will be shared. I've seen 1st hand what greed does to the best of people. Best of luck.

My EM Drive research, plans, drawings, schematics, BOM, test rig, photos, videos, result data, etc will be public. Don't care about the money. Only way to fly this.

Yes, and if you approach this from another perspective, if it is already dark, this will force it back into the light. I commend you on your openness and altruism.  :)  Please help us design some top notch challenge criteria.

This is an opportunity for skeptics to chime in with some seriously impressive "put up or shut up" challenges which would be worthy of recognition if successfully met.

I know this site is home to the best of the best who know their stuff.

BTW, Shawyer has a pretty solid very solid basis for claiming royalties on any X-prize monies awarded for EMDrive development.  As the patent holder, he could also step in to put a stop this award program.  All the outside work now is safe-harbor research and "fan-fiction".  When commercial gain steps in so does the patent.  I'd be utterly flabbergasted if X-prize foundation lawyers opened themselves up to the kind of litigation knowingly encouraging- and paying for- people to infringe on Shawyer's patent could bring.

Interestingly, so long as I'm driving this bus, there will be no focus on the science, i.e., on the underlying physical understanding of precisely how this works.  My feeling is that is precisely the domain of academic research - and will require potentially substantial work. 

The point of this device is that it is real and testable.  We don't actually have to know how it works - only that it really does.

Unless it kills everyone in the room because we don't understand the consequences of operating it.  See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie_Curie

And

Well, the Chinese claim over 700 mN at less than or at 2500 Watts. Doubling that power to 5 Kw should hit a target above one Newton. But is a conceptually simple increase (not so simple in practice) in drive power the answer wanted? Or do we hope for a solution of some number of mN per Watt of drive power? Or some value of thrust to weight? Or do we need a metric that incorporates all three?

Hence the careful wording (and separation) of each of my three Challenges.
« Last Edit: 05/13/2015 06:01 PM by sghill »
Bring the thunder Elon!

Offline Star One

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8272
  • UK
  • Liked: 1341
  • Likes Given: 168
Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #22 on: 05/13/2015 06:45 PM »

It seems that the available space for a challenge is between where we might expect the Eagleworks team to be by the end of the summer and the "practical edge" - the farthest that we could reasonably hope that someone could get with $1M - $2M in investment and 18 months of work. 

Is there a milestone here that is compelling?  Our most powerful objective is to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there is something both real and novel here. 
{snip}

We have to prove to a disbelieving public that the thruster actually thrusts. A vehicle that moves 3 metre (9.84 feet) should do this. It could be along the floor or rails. Wheels optional.

Unfortunately with a world of professional cynicism even then this isn't going to score a slam dunk with everyone until you put it on a craft of some type.:)

Offline Mulletron

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1116
  • Liked: 779
  • Likes Given: 1030
Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #23 on: 05/13/2015 06:49 PM »
In preparation for this thread, I reached out to Mr. Shawyer via email for his input on the XPRIZE discussion. I've attached his comments and as always I have obtained permission (see attachment) from him before posting our communication here publicly. I'm posting a screenshot to ensure his exact words are communicated accurately. I am surprised to see that he has set the bar quite high.

Also, he has agreed to participate in a Q&A here at NSF at some point. Those details are still to be worked out. I am honored that he is willing to talk with me, but I'd rather step down as messenger and have him here posting directly.
« Last Edit: 05/13/2015 06:52 PM by Mulletron »
Challenge your preconceptions, or they will challenge you. - Velik

Offline TheTraveller

Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #24 on: 05/13/2015 07:03 PM »
In preparation for this thread, I reached out to Mr. Shawyer via email for his input on the XPRIZE discussion. I've attached his comments and as always I have obtained permission (see attachment) from him before posting our communication here publicly. I'm posting a screenshot to ensure his exact words are communicated accurately. I am surprised to see that he has set the bar quite high.

Also, he has agreed to participate in a Q&A here at NSF at some point. Those details are still to be worked out. I am honored that he is willing to talk with me, but I'd rather step down as messenger and have him here posting directly.
Well done mate.

Exciting times ahead.
"As for me, I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas.
Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Offline tchernik

  • Full Member
  • **
  • Posts: 251
  • Liked: 298
  • Likes Given: 583
Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #25 on: 05/13/2015 07:14 PM »
In preparation for this thread, I reached out to Mr. Shawyer via email for his input on the XPRIZE discussion. I've attached his comments and as always I have obtained permission (see attachment) from him before posting our communication here publicly. I'm posting a screenshot to ensure his exact words are communicated accurately. I am surprised to see that he has set the bar quite high.

Also, he has agreed to participate in a Q&A here at NSF at some point. Those details are still to be worked out. I am honored that he is willing to talk with me, but I'd rather step down as messenger and have him here posting directly.

Thanks for this update. It's hard to act as intermediary, especially when there are so many questions for Mr. Shawyer still left without answer.

Nevertheless, I have some minor pet peeves with this update: despite Mr. Shawyer's words being pleasant for my inner sci/fi geek, because they imply big announcements are upcoming,  I think the truthfulness of the assertions about this presumed thruster device, and its very existence are far from being clearly demonstrated.

I think we cannot afford to be hopeful that some big public or private party is going to take over showing us undeniable proof soon. If that happens, great, but in the meantime it is up to people in-the-know but pursuing more humble goals in terms of measurable results, to carry the burden of demonstrating if this works, or disproving it if it doesn't. The reason for this is that, even if amateur scientists could only provide limited theoretical information (which is debatable), the raging murmur of many positive tests will be much harder to ignore or silence.

Did the Wright brothers have to justify their invention by having a big institution or company take over it and demonstrate it to the world? No, they showed off their design at work and others followed them, with their own replications and then money and institutional will poured in.

Thus, the work of these citizen scientists doing open source replications is the more valuable, because they really will be the ones to open up this knowledge to everyone, be it true or false or something in between.
« Last Edit: 05/13/2015 07:30 PM by tchernik »

Offline TheTraveller

Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #26 on: 05/13/2015 08:00 PM »
The reason for this is that, even if amateur scientists could only provide limited theoretical information (which is debatable), the raging murmur of many positive tests will be much harder to ignore or silence.

Did the Wright brothers have to justify their invention by having a big institution or company take over it and demonstrate it to the world? No, they showed off their design at work and others followed them, with their own replications and then money and institutional will poured in.

Thus, the work of these citizen scientists doing open source replications is the more valuable, because they really will be the ones to open up this knowledge to everyone, be it true or false or something in between.

Yes, but.... getting observed thrust levels up is likely going to require more than tin snips and a sheet of copper IMHO.  It may well be that optimizing the frustum design (and other factors) to get usable thrust out of the thing may require teams and special design and manufacturing capabilities that can be invested in by financiers if there is a clear pay-off for their investment (the prize money).

One thing Shawyer has said time and time again is the operational frequency / wavelength needs to be just above the small end diameters cut-off frequency, be that at 1/2, 1 or 2x the applied Rf frequency. That gives the biggest delta between the small end wavelength and the big end wavelength.

More on waveguide cutoff frequency here:
http://www.radio-electronics.com/info/antennas/waveguide/cutoff-frequency.php

Note in the attachment the equation:

Fc = (1.8412 * c) / (2 * Pi * a)

(2 Pi a) is the circumference of the circular cavity or in our case, the big and small end plates.
"As for me, I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas.
Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #27 on: 05/13/2015 08:43 PM »
Right, this is very much the motivation behind pursuing the X-Prize.  We are looking at perhaps a prize of $1M to $3M.  Far less than will be necessary for the actual design and production of a working engine!  But perhaps enough to push this over the hump.

IMHO, we need to be clear that the vast majority of observers think that this thing is nothing more than an over-hyped error.  Our objective is to present a compelling enough demonstration of the phenomenon that some sizeable fraction of relevant observers can't but move it into the "huh, this must be real - I wonder how" category. 

Presumably this is a non-trivial effort.  After all, the basic idea has been in the public eye for more than a decade.  Its been three years since the NWPU results were reported.  Given the consequences of this being a real phenomenon, if it were easy to prove, we should all be using hover boards right now.  Indeed, the fact the Boeing apparently took a look, but didn't (publicly) move forward implies that either there is something very hard about making this work or that there is something fishy going on!.

In any event, clearly the level of testing already done by Shawyer, NWPU and Eagleworks isn't adequate to the task.  That has all been done and relatively well disseminated - yet the vast majority of observers still consider it to be an error. 

Plausibly a dozen or a hundred more demonstrations roughly equivalent to what has been done will be more convincing.  I expect not.

Rather, what I expect is required is a demonstration that is substantially more impressive.  The question is what: what easily verified set of metrics is the right bar? 

The reason for this is that, even if amateur scientists could only provide limited theoretical information (which is debatable), the raging murmur of many positive tests will be much harder to ignore or silence.

Did the Wright brothers have to justify their invention by having a big institution or company take over it and demonstrate it to the world? No, they showed off their design at work and others followed them, with their own replications and then money and institutional will poured in.

Thus, the work of these citizen scientists doing open source replications is the more valuable, because they really will be the ones to open up this knowledge to everyone, be it true or false or something in between.

Yes, but.... getting observed thrust levels up is likely going to require more than tin snips and a sheet of copper IMHO.  It may well be that optimizing the frustum design (and other factors) to get usable thrust out of the thing may require teams and special design and manufacturing capabilities that can be invested in by financiers if there is a clear pay-off for their investment (the prize money).

Offline TheTraveller

Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #28 on: 05/13/2015 09:04 PM »
Right, this is very much the motivation behind pursuing the X-Prize.  We are looking at perhaps a prize of $1M to $3M.  Far less than will be necessary for the actual design and production of a working engine!  But perhaps enough to push this over the hump.

IMHO, we need to be clear that the vast majority of observers think that this thing is nothing more than an over-hyped error.  Our objective is to present a compelling enough demonstration of the phenomenon that some sizeable fraction of relevant observers can't but move it into the "huh, this must be real - I wonder how" category. 

Presumably this is a non-trivial effort.  After all, the basic idea has been in the public eye for more than a decade.  Its been three years since the NWPU results were reported.  Given the consequences of this being a real phenomenon, if it were easy to prove, we should all be using hover boards right now.  Indeed, the fact the Boeing apparently took a look, but didn't (publicly) move forward implies that either there is something very hard about making this work or that there is something fishy going on!.

In any event, clearly the level of testing already done by Shawyer, NWPU and Eagleworks isn't adequate to the task.  That has all been done and relatively well disseminated - yet the vast majority of observers still consider it to be an error. 

Plausibly a dozen or a hundred more demonstrations roughly equivalent to what has been done will be more convincing.  I expect not.

Rather, what I expect is required is a demonstration that is substantially more impressive.  The question is what: what easily verified set of metrics is the right bar? 

The reason for this is that, even if amateur scientists could only provide limited theoretical information (which is debatable), the raging murmur of many positive tests will be much harder to ignore or silence.

Did the Wright brothers have to justify their invention by having a big institution or company take over it and demonstrate it to the world? No, they showed off their design at work and others followed them, with their own replications and then money and institutional will poured in.

Thus, the work of these citizen scientists doing open source replications is the more valuable, because they really will be the ones to open up this knowledge to everyone, be it true or false or something in between.

Yes, but.... getting observed thrust levels up is likely going to require more than tin snips and a sheet of copper IMHO.  It may well be that optimizing the frustum design (and other factors) to get usable thrust out of the thing may require teams and special design and manufacturing capabilities that can be invested in by financiers if there is a clear pay-off for their investment (the prize money).

Being able to generate at least 10g / 0.1N of thrust EVERY time it is powered on, do that for 1,000 cycles, do it in a vacuum, generate thrust that you can feel with your hand in air, in a portable rig that can be easily transported to any test lab on the planet, tests and data captures streamed live over the net with open comments and discussion as the tests are happening, will be enough to cause an avalanche of further research.

That is my replication goal.
"As for me, I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas.
Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8182
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 258
  • Likes Given: 107
Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #29 on: 05/14/2015 03:07 AM »

It seems that the available space for a challenge is between where we might expect the Eagleworks team to be by the end of the summer and the "practical edge" - the farthest that we could reasonably hope that someone could get with $1M - $2M in investment and 18 months of work. 

Is there a milestone here that is compelling?  Our most powerful objective is to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there is something both real and novel here. 
{snip}

We have to prove to a disbelieving public that the thruster actually thrusts. A vehicle that moves 3 metre (9.84 feet) should do this. It could be along the floor or rails. Wheels optional.

Unfortunately with a world of professional cynicism even then this isn't going to score a slam dunk with everyone until you put it on a craft of some type.:)

Get a reliable design before sending it into space. If it breaks down the sceptics will just claim they were right.

Offline ChrisWilson68

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3534
  • Sunnyvale, CA
  • Liked: 2101
  • Likes Given: 2477
Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #30 on: 05/14/2015 03:08 AM »
Challenge #1: One million dollars is awarded to the first team that develops a mathematical proof of how and why the EM Drive operates.  I want to see "Q.E.D." at the end of the proof, and not "and then a miracle happens..."

You're confusing math with physics.  You don't get proofs about why things happen in the physical world.  All you get is evidence.  Then, later, when more evidence comes along, you might have to change your hypothesis to one that better matches the data.

Proofs have their place in physics, but it is in proving that if a particular theory holds, then some particular result is true.  For example, if the standard laws of physics hold, then momentum is conserved.

You can never get a proof that a theory about how the universe operates is correct.  You can never get a proof that a particular theory is the reason you're seeing the experimental results you are seeing.

Offline QuantumG

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8224
  • Australia
  • Liked: 2991
  • Likes Given: 721
Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #31 on: 05/14/2015 03:10 AM »
Get a reliable design before sending it into space. If it breaks down the sceptics will just claim they were right.

So what? There's nahsayers for every X-Prize. That's kinda the point.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline Impaler

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1283
  • South Hill, Virgina
  • Liked: 362
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #32 on: 05/14/2015 03:13 AM »
Cubesat.

Fully concur, only an in-space vehicle performing some actual flight of significance would be beyond doubt and consistent with the past and current X-prizes.  I would recommend reaching Earth escape velocity from an initial Low Earth Orbit as this presents a low barrier to entry for participants.

Offline ChrisWilson68

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3534
  • Sunnyvale, CA
  • Liked: 2101
  • Likes Given: 2477
Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #33 on: 05/14/2015 03:17 AM »
I think it's a big mistake by the X-Prize foundation to become involved in this proposed prize.

First of all, it's choosing a technology instead of leaving it open to any technology.  It's specifically saying it's for an "EM Drive".  That would be like having the original X-Prize specify a liquid-engine rocket, which would have excluded SpaceShipOne.

Prizes like the X-Prize work best when they specify only the end result that has to be achieved and leave the means to do so as open as possible.

Secondly, it's associating the X-Prize brand with a highly controversial specific technology.  Part of the whole point of the X-Prize is to bring respectability to New Space.  By associating its brand with a specific technology that the vast majority of professional scientists consider to be a crackpot idea, they are diminishing the X-Prize brand.  It gives ammunition to those in the aerospace establishment to belittle anything associated with the X-Prize, and that hurts all the companies trying to raise money for lunar rovers, space launch, and anything else the X-Prize offers a prize for.

Offline A_M_Swallow

  • Elite Veteran
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8182
  • South coast of England
  • Liked: 258
  • Likes Given: 107
Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #34 on: 05/14/2015 03:31 AM »
Get a reliable design before sending it into space. If it breaks down the sceptics will just claim they were right.

So what? There's nahsayers for every X-Prize. That's kinda the point.


Then you will not get a second launch. If you have something that moves on the Earth you will get a second launch.

Offline Asteroza

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 483
  • Liked: 53
  • Likes Given: 2
Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #35 on: 05/14/2015 03:59 AM »
So, X-prize is structured for true propellantless propulsion demo (all electric, no consumables during demo) to avoid the "tied to one tech" issue.

Multiple prize stages then, since there are fears that it might work under certain conditions and not in others?

1. vacuum test on earth to X.X newtons, X-prize provides measurement rig and vacuum chamber time

2. cubesat demo from LEO to earth escape/(EML1 or EML2)/lunar orbit, X-prize provides launch scheduling and maybe base 3U or 6U chassis, but launch payment is (mostly) up to contestant. Cluster launch as a trunk ride-along on a DragonLab demo flight perhaps?

Offline ChrisWilson68

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3534
  • Sunnyvale, CA
  • Liked: 2101
  • Likes Given: 2477
Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #36 on: 05/14/2015 04:06 AM »
So, X-prize is structured for true propellantless propulsion demo (all electric, no consumables during demo) to avoid the "tied to one tech" issue.

Multiple prize stages then, since there are fears that it might work under certain conditions and not in others?

1. vacuum test on earth to X.X newtons, X-prize provides measurement rig and vacuum chamber time

2. cubesat demo from LEO to earth escape/(EML1 or EML2)/lunar orbit, X-prize provides launch scheduling and maybe base 3U or 6U chassis, but launch payment is (mostly) up to contestant. Cluster launch as a trunk ride-along on a DragonLab demo flight perhaps?

That seems basically reasonable.

I do worry about fraud for the vacuum test.  Once you start offering money, fraud becomes a big issue.  It seems like there are lots of ways to use electromagnetic effects to cheat.

Cubesats would be the real test.

Offline ChrisWilson68

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3534
  • Sunnyvale, CA
  • Liked: 2101
  • Likes Given: 2477
Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #37 on: 05/14/2015 04:09 AM »
So, X-prize is structured for true propellantless propulsion demo (all electric, no consumables during demo) to avoid the "tied to one tech" issue.

Multiple prize stages then, since there are fears that it might work under certain conditions and not in others?

1. vacuum test on earth to X.X newtons, X-prize provides measurement rig and vacuum chamber time

2. cubesat demo from LEO to earth escape/(EML1 or EML2)/lunar orbit, X-prize provides launch scheduling and maybe base 3U or 6U chassis, but launch payment is (mostly) up to contestant. Cluster launch as a trunk ride-along on a DragonLab demo flight perhaps?

That seems basically reasonable.

I do worry about fraud for the vacuum test.  Once you start offering money, fraud becomes a big issue.  It seems like there are lots of ways to use electromagnetic effects to cheat.

Cubesats would be the real test.

With the cubesat test you'd need some way to make sure it's not actually using the Earth's magnetic field or the solar wind.

Offline QuantumG

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8224
  • Australia
  • Liked: 2991
  • Likes Given: 721
Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #38 on: 05/14/2015 04:11 AM »
Of course, there are propellantless propulsion technologies that already exist and, ya know, actually work. Three off the top of my head: solar sails (light pressure), magsails and electrodynamic tethers. Of these, only magsails have yet to be demonstrated in space, although electrodynamic tethers could do with some more.

Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline ChrisWilson68

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3534
  • Sunnyvale, CA
  • Liked: 2101
  • Likes Given: 2477
Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
« Reply #39 on: 05/14/2015 04:15 AM »
For judging and setting of the rules for testing, it would make sense to try to get someone from the James Randi Educational Foundation and/or the Center for Inquiry.  They both have a lot of experience debunking hoaxes and frauds.

http://web.randi.org/
http://www.centerforinquiry.net/

Tags: