Author Topic: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive  (Read 199214 times)

Offline Peter NASA

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Re: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive
« Reply #240 on: 05/01/2015 07:33 PM »
Some of the media aren't doing a great job translating what this excellent site has produced, but I think this news piece is great for being enthusiastic, correct, objective and interesting...

http://www.newsy.com/47123/

"The question is how do you convince enough people to donate to your cause via crowdfunding when the underlying science isn't even established?"

This is a good question.  It will continue to be very challenging to get chunky private capital while the science is still leaning hard in the "science fiction" direction.  However, this is one of the areas where crowdsourcing can be very powerful indeed.  Far less compelling efforts have been crowd funded to the tunes of millions in recent years and after chatting with several groups in and around the crowdfunding/cryptofunding area, I have reasonable confidence that it could be accomplished. What would be necessary is:

* A clear statement of the intended objectives of the project.  My personal favorite is unimpeachable demonstration of material thrust. 

* A highly qualified team that gives a strong sense that the money donated will be wisely used - i.e. not wasted.

* A compelling (and also true!) story explaining why interested people should participate.

I look at this as a classic "white swan" event.  What are the chances that it is real?  Lets say 1%.  What are the consequences?  Game Changing.  Can something like this convince 50,000 people to part with $100?  Absolutely.   

Offline cfs

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Re: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive
« Reply #242 on: 05/01/2015 07:36 PM »
I like the X Prize idea.

That's exactly what I would do if I could.

Ditto - if this idea takes off I'd be happy to join any group that successfully gets the funding for this  :D

Offline SH

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Re: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive
« Reply #243 on: 05/01/2015 07:36 PM »
The question is how do you convince enough people to donate to your cause via crowdfunding when the underlying science isn't even established?

Simple.  All you need to do is get a number of smaller labs to replicate the experiment with positive results that sufficiently hype the entire internet up on the prospect of attainable interstellar travel which was previously thought impossible.  Oh, and it would help if one of those labs had the four letters "NASA" associated with it.  Now why does all this seem familiar?  Oh, right...because all that just happened.

Offline JordanLeDoux

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Re: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive
« Reply #244 on: 05/01/2015 07:41 PM »
I haven't been following these threads closely until recently, but I'm really curious if anyone here has examined whether or not Modified inertia from Hubble scale Casimir effects (MiHsC), which is a theory I just came across today, makes any sense at all. I never got far enough in math to really evaluate this level of physics on my own, but the "crackpot" alarms in my head didn't sound as I was reading about it.

The basics of it are, any object moving to the right will create an event horizon somewhere to left beyond which information cannot be observed. Like other event horizons, this will result in radiation (similar to Hawking radiation) called Unruh radiation. The wavelengths for this radiation are at normal accelerations on the order of light years.

But if you have something like a tube with light inside and reflective surfaces, the photons (because of their speed) will generate Unruh wavelength that are the exact resonant frequency of the tube.

In a uniform tube, this does nothing, but in a cone shaped tube, it would bias the direction of force toward the narrow end.

Again, this isn't my theory, it is proposed by a physicist at Plymouth U in the UK, but it seemed... reasonable.

The theory evidently also has the nice benefit of explaining the effects of dark matter and dark energy without any special tuning, and it explains how inertia works in general from what I was reading.

Does any of that make sense or sound plausible?

EDIT: I ask mainly because a device like the EmDrive is one of the only testable predictions that you could make with this theory given the technology we have now.

Hi Jordan,

Good summary. I have tested MiHsC on the emdrive & the results are encouraging / not conclusive, see my paper:

http://www.ptep-online.com/index_files/2015/PP-40-15.PDF

Best wishes,
Mike

Hey Mike. Thanks for replying! I was curious if you had any response to this objection that was raised to me elsewhere:

"What he derives is the Tully-Fisher relation but what he ignores is that the Tully-Fisher relation is empirical and it doesn't always give you an exponent of 4, in different bands (colours of light) you get a different answer.

The Tully-Fisher relation is not the issue (it can be explained by appealing to galaxy formation), the main issue is rotation curves which he hasn't shown he can explain. He claims all velocities should reduce to one universal number, but rotation curves don't all flatten out at one number that is the point of the Tully Fisher relation. Then there is gravitational lensing and the CMB power spectrum.

His CMB stuff is also wrong. He confuses the l=2 dipole term and the monopole to derive an expression which doesn't fit almost all of the power spectrum."

Offline RonM

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Re: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive
« Reply #245 on: 05/01/2015 07:43 PM »
So let's assume the EM drive works as described and Alpha Centauri can be reached in approximately 130 earth years accounting for acceleration, cruising and  deceleration. Can anyone calculate the approximate time dilation spent? (i.e. the theory of relativity that shows  time slowing down relative to earth time and stops at light speed.) Obviously gravitational effects on time dilation would probably be impossible to factor in.

If time were slowed down enough would it allow reaching Alpha Centauri in a generation or two? Assuming one didn't die of radiation poisoning, a spec of dust piercing a hole through  them at that speed, or outright insanity.  ::)

From the article:

Quote
The speeds discussed in the Alpha Centauri mission proposal are sufficiently low that relativity effects are negligible.

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2015/04/evaluating-nasas-futuristic-em-drive/

Offline flux_capacitor

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Re: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive
« Reply #246 on: 05/01/2015 07:47 PM »
Sorry to be against the tide but: doesn't Xprize reward a team among others in competition, after some goal has been achieved?

Eagleworks' team doesn't need to be motivated. They don't need to be rewarded after they reach, say, a 1N milestone. Repeatable 1 newton of thrust and they will already have NASA and the whole world backing them, X-Prize or not. A lower goal, less impressive (millinewtons) and layman people won't even bother to donate. That would not make them dreaming.

Anyway, the issue is not within the goal itself.

The real problem is funding. Eagleworks needs money for equipments to run better experiments. They need money before they can reach any ambitious goal, and specifically they need money in order to reach that ambitious goal.

Or maybe there is something in X-Prize type funding that I do not know?
« Last Edit: 05/01/2015 07:52 PM by flux_capacitor »

Offline JPHar

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Re: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive
« Reply #247 on: 05/01/2015 07:50 PM »
a) the force measurements of the EM-drive,

They are inconsistent.  For example, with the EM Drive re-oriented, rotated by 180 degrees so that it points in the opposite direction, the measurements differ significantly.  Need to have consistent measurements replicated at several labs (NASA Glenn, JPL, John Hopkins have been mentioned) for the evidence to be conclusive. Also, even if the data would be consistent, and the EM Drive can be used for space propulsion, that would not be conclusive evidence that its operation is due to a degradable and mutable quantum vacuum as there are several other explanations being explored.

Propellant: The Earth's magnetic field? 


Quote
There are plenty of things in science that don't have an explanation for using modern understanding but that we find applications for -- the placebo effect, for example -- but I highly doubt anyone would have accepted as science any research into confirming the placebo effect if it hadn't been done in a completely academic setting.

Even if an independent group succeeds in replicating and isolating the phenomenon, it might take another Harold White to convince a reputable institution to take it seriously again -- and there aren't that many Harold Whites.

Ultimately the only reason people (myself included) are taking this seriously at all right now is because the experiments confirming the phenomenon were done at NASA. Once the major objections to the existence of a new phenomenon have been weeded out, I think people at more institutions will naturally begin to attempt to replicate and advance the experiments.

Crowdfunding might or might not work financially, but I don't think it'd be safe reputation-wise until everything can be ruled out that might potentially say the observations were all some kind of mistake. People will become even more skeptical than they are, and they'll begin to wonder if the crowdfunding money was the real motivation for the project all along.

I personally have nothing against crypto, but I do worry that working on what many consider to be alternative science using what most consider to be alternative currency would just bring the alternativeness of the project over the edge and turn a lot of people off. I also don't think there are any political impediments to the project. No one is trying to shut it down or hide it or anything (at least for now), so half of the value of crypto is moot.

Lastly, the research is slow-going, but it's not stalled. I'm as eager as anyone -- naysayer or not -- to see more come out of this, but the phrase "don't fix what isn't broken" comes to mind.

Your point on crowdcrypto as being a doubling-down on "edge" is well taken.  At the same time, the cure to that problem is simple: provide unimpeachable evidence that the phenomenon is real.  A multi newton thrust is more proof than an ocean of equations, simulations or presentations. 

Intriguingly, I find that the concern that "but I don't think it'd be safe reputation-wise until everything can be ruled out that might potentially say the observations were all some kind of mistake. People will become even more skeptical than they are, and they'll begin to wonder if the crowdfunding money was the real motivation for the project all along." is one of the more compelling reasons why a more entrepreneurial approach might be necessary.  When reputations and motivations are inhibiting efforts to get direct access to truth, something is broken. 

Let me reverse the discussion: assuming that material resources could be raised to fund R&D, what *harm* would it do to the effort?  Presumably the deep harm would be if the "private" R&D were irresponsible - lots of hype and little discipline; and this irresponsibility tarnished the entire concept making it impossible for responsible folks to try it on. 

Certainly a risk.  Implies that the X-prize approach would be the most appropriate. 
« Last Edit: 05/01/2015 08:00 PM by jordan.greenhall »

Sorry to be against the tide but: doesn't Xprize reward a team among others in competition, after some goal has been achieved?

Eagleworks' team doesn't need to be motivated. They don't need to be rewarded after they reach, say, a 1N milestone. Repeatable 1 newton of thrust and they will already have NASA and the whole world backing them, X-Prize or not. A lower goal, less impressive (millinewtons) and layman people won't even bother to donate. That would not make them dreaming.

Anyway, the issue is not within the goal itself.

The real problem is funding. Eagleworks needs money for equipments to run better experiments. They need money before they can reach any ambitious goal, and specifically they need money in order to reach that ambitious goal.

Or maybe there is something in X-Prize type funding that I do not know?


Right.  The X-prize approach would appear to have two advantages:

1.  It would motivate *other* groups to begin work on trying to hit that milestone. 
2.  It would reward the Eagleworks team if they are able to get there first.

Thus it is a generalized way to increase the all-in probabilities of hitting the goal. 

Right now we are putting all of our collective chips on a largely unfunded group of folks doing this out of their own passion.  Seems that is a sub-optimal approach for something this impactful.

Offline SH

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Re: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive
« Reply #250 on: 05/01/2015 08:02 PM »
Sorry to be against the tide but: doesn't Xprize reward a team among others in competition, after some goal has been achieved?

Eagleworks' team doesn't need to be motivated. They don't need to be rewarded after they reach, say, a 1N milestone. Repeatable 1 newton of thrust and they will already have NASA and the whole world backing them.

If a team engineers a device with 1N of thrust, then the entire world would be skeptical of them...and they might have a very difficult time getting contracts simply because people won't take them seriously.  In order to take them seriously, they would need to divulge all the details of their experiments and subject it to public scrutiny -- but if they do this, they completely lose their competitive advantage.  If it turns out to be valid, then larger companies like Boeing etc would immediately jump in and beat them out of the market.

Thus, by creating an XPrize like goal, that becomes a financial objective thats easier to shoot for and will encourage more teams to take on the time and risk of development.

NASA teams cannot accept direct contributions, and the NASA Eagleworks team is not necessarily the best suited team to solve this problem -- and their theories of how it works might be completely wrong, even if it does work.

Offline rgreen

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Re: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive
« Reply #251 on: 05/01/2015 08:04 PM »
I read the article and have been looking through a lot of the main thread. Very interesting stuff, though most is over my head. As a chemist, I can't help but wonder about what's going on with the copper surface of the frustum. A quick back of the envelope (well, python) calculation shows that there's certainly enough energy in these devices to somehow atomize a small amount of copper , and propel them with enough momentum to produce a small amount of thrust. I'm not sure what the mechanism of atomization would be.

For example, a 30 watt emdrive where 0.001% of the energy went towards atomization and 1% went toward addtional momentum of the particles... You'd have a device with 91uN thrust, propelling 1.4ng of copper a second at 65500m/s.

I know it's far-fetched, but have they stuck an ion detector behind the thing? Have they looked at the surface with SEM for signs of corrosion?

Offline ragingrei

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Re: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive
« Reply #252 on: 05/01/2015 08:10 PM »

Quote
There are plenty of things in science that don't have an explanation for using modern understanding but that we find applications for -- the placebo effect, for example -- but I highly doubt anyone would have accepted as science any research into confirming the placebo effect if it hadn't been done in a completely academic setting.

Even if an independent group succeeds in replicating and isolating the phenomenon, it might take another Harold White to convince a reputable institution to take it seriously again -- and there aren't that many Harold Whites.

Ultimately the only reason people (myself included) are taking this seriously at all right now is because the experiments confirming the phenomenon were done at NASA. Once the major objections to the existence of a new phenomenon have been weeded out, I think people at more institutions will naturally begin to attempt to replicate and advance the experiments.

Crowdfunding might or might not work financially, but I don't think it'd be safe reputation-wise until everything can be ruled out that might potentially say the observations were all some kind of mistake. People will become even more skeptical than they are, and they'll begin to wonder if the crowdfunding money was the real motivation for the project all along.

I personally have nothing against crypto, but I do worry that working on what many consider to be alternative science using what most consider to be alternative currency would just bring the alternativeness of the project over the edge and turn a lot of people off. I also don't think there are any political impediments to the project. No one is trying to shut it down or hide it or anything (at least for now), so half of the value of crypto is moot.

Lastly, the research is slow-going, but it's not stalled. I'm as eager as anyone -- naysayer or not -- to see more come out of this, but the phrase "don't fix what isn't broken" comes to mind.

Your point on crowdcrypto as being a doubling-down on "edge" is well taken.  At the same time, the cure to that problem is simple: provide unimpeachable evidence that the phenomenon is real.  A multi newton thrust is more proof than an ocean of equations, simulations or presentations. 

Intriguingly, I find that the concern that "but I don't think it'd be safe reputation-wise until everything can be ruled out that might potentially say the observations were all some kind of mistake. People will become even more skeptical than they are, and they'll begin to wonder if the crowdfunding money was the real motivation for the project all along." is one of the more compelling reasons why a more entrepreneurial approach might be necessary.  When reputations and motivations are inhibiting efforts to get direct access to truth, something is broken. 

Let me reverse the discussion: assuming that material resources could be raised to fund R&D, what *harm* would it do to the effort?  Presumably the deep harm would be if the "private" R&D were irresponsible - lots of hype and little discipline; and this irresponsibility tarnished the entire concept making it impossible for responsible folks to try it on. 

Certainly a risk.  Implies that the X-prize approach would be the most appropriate.

I think creating multi-newton thrust at this point would require much better equipment, which means more money. So we end up back with the chicken-egg problem, except, at risk of taking the idiom a little too far, they already have an egg, and I can't see a reason for them to hurry it into a chicken.

For something that hasn't even been published yet, I think the amount of information Eagleworks is sharing is pretty unusual. Access to truth doesn't seem to be an issue.

There are a bajillion cosmetics companies selling age-reversal products meant both cosmetically and literally, and while I believe that some (if not many) of their claims are indeed true, they're so buried in snake oil and marketing mumbojumbo that no one knows what of it to take seriously at all. Many of these companies are extremely profitable and well-respected in the business community. I worry that even if something can be demonstrated visibly moving, if it were to come from a private or enthusiast-funded group, people will continue to question it.

I mean, just look at all the supposed perpetual motion and free energy machine videos on YouTube. The only way I would even give them a second thought is if they came from an institution like NASA or if they didn't appear to violate fundamental laws of physics. EM Drive does the latter, so the former is the only reason people still have optimism.
« Last Edit: 05/01/2015 08:11 PM by ragingrei »

Offline jknuble

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Re: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive
« Reply #253 on: 05/01/2015 08:12 PM »
While your cavity and ours arn't exactly the same one could say the situations are quite similar.  The NASA Eagleworks system operated at 935MHz at (?)W, Roger Shawyer 2.45GHz at 850W, and Dr Yang at (?)MHz at 2.5KW (apologize if these missing values have been published, I didn't immediately see them).   
Welcome to the thread and the site.

Eagleworks studies were done around 100W power level. However they did comment that it needed an HDPE insert in the cavities to make it work.

No, actually Eagleworks' RF power amplifiers has now power ranges of up to 125 W, but they used powers ranging from a few watts to 17W in experiments conducted in ambient air (see the original full paper) then up to 50W in a hard vacuum (5×10−6 torr) but with a failing (arcing) RF amp, as stated in this post by Paul March aka Star-Drive.

Thanks! I had not seen the original paper, only the abstract.  I note they claim in effect even as low as 2.6W (although, not repeatable?).  That does seem quite low.  I'll ask a few guys involved with our diplexer investigation and see what they think.

-JK

Offline Vballer18

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Re: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive
« Reply #254 on: 05/01/2015 08:12 PM »
a) the force measurements of the EM-drive,

They are inconsistent.  For example, with the EM Drive re-oriented, rotated by 180 degrees so that it points in the opposite direction, the measurements differ significantly.  Need to have consistent measurements replicated at several labs (NASA Glenn, JPL, John Hopkins have been mentioned) for the evidence to be conclusive. Also, even if the data would be consistent, and the EM Drive can be used for space propulsion, that would not be conclusive evidence that its operation is due to a degradable and mutable quantum vacuum as there are several other explanations being explored.

Propellant: The Earth's magnetic field?

Momentum can be conserved if the em waves are pushing against Higgs bosons, which should be detectable by a deformation in the local Higgs field. This would mean that the engine would lose efficiency outside of the Oort Cloud in the Alpha Centauri scenario.

Offline flux_capacitor

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Re: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive
« Reply #255 on: 05/01/2015 08:30 PM »
About crowd-funding and all ideas to find a way to circumvent NASA's inability to accept any donation, I understand the excitement and that you all know the ins and outs. But keep in mind one thing:

In most people's head, NASA is a powerful and magical organization populated by top-level scientists and engineers wearing glasses and white smocks, working in clean and marvelous big labs like the one you can see in the last Pixar movie Big Hero 6.

Those people do not know the struggling of a scientist to get just a little more funding in their lab where only 3 or 4 other colleagues work with them. Eagleworks has an old dying RF amp and they do not even have the bucks to replace it… Paul had to build the copper frustum at home, in his wife's dining room! Really people would be shocked if they knew that.

On the opposite, the tweetosphere already believes NASA is secretly working on the U.S.S. Enterprise after having accidentally invented a warp drive in their best gigantic 1000 sq.ft underground secret lab… OK I exaggerate a bit, but have you read all those articles in the media with the picture of the Star Trek spaceship? This has triggered people's attention.

And now you want to explain people in the streets they should donate their money to NASA? They will answer: "What? They've invented that warp engine to explore the universe, but they can't even build it to change mankind's future? WTF where does my tax go? Come on guys, you're NASA!"

The problem is not with people, it's with NASA, and right up there, with funding from the congress. And how science and its relationships with politics (and military…) is taught at school. How to really help I don't know :(
« Last Edit: 05/01/2015 08:32 PM by flux_capacitor »

Offline Rodal

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Re: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive
« Reply #256 on: 05/01/2015 08:31 PM »
And now we have a pretty good video, objective  (even including Sean Carroll from CalTech, and Alcubierre stating that he thinks his warp-drive concept is not practically feasible for centuries) about the NSF article on the EM Drive !

http://www.newsy.com/47123/

 :)

There is some hope for the media, as these guys got this "right", fair and balanced, respecting science and yet keeping up some hope and they put the video together in a short amount of time
« Last Edit: 05/01/2015 08:36 PM by Rodal »

Offline SH

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Re: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive
« Reply #257 on: 05/01/2015 08:33 PM »
A test that should be performed:

NASA Eagleworks should very precisely measure the mass of the test article, and verify that it is not losing any mass while it is generating force.

Offline zen-in

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Re: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive
« Reply #258 on: 05/01/2015 08:38 PM »
Sorry to be against the tide but: doesn't Xprize reward a team among others in competition, after some goal has been achieved?

Eagleworks' team doesn't need to be motivated. They don't need to be rewarded after they reach, say, a 1N milestone. Repeatable 1 newton of thrust and they will already have NASA and the whole world backing them.

If a team engineers a device with 1N of thrust, then the entire world would be skeptical of them...and they might have a very difficult time getting contracts simply because people won't take them seriously.  In order to take them seriously, they would need to divulge all the details of their experiments and subject it to public scrutiny -- but if they do this, they completely lose their competitive advantage.  If it turns out to be valid, then larger companies like Boeing etc would immediately jump in and beat them out of the market.

Thus, by creating an XPrize like goal, that becomes a financial objective thats easier to shoot for and will encourage more teams to take on the time and risk of development.

NASA teams cannot accept direct contributions, and the NASA Eagleworks team is not necessarily the best suited team to solve this problem -- and their theories of how it works might be completely wrong, even if it does work.

If the Eaglework's apparatus could consistently produce a force of just 100 microNewtons in forward and reverse configuration I would be convinced.   To their credit they have provided a lot of information about their experiments and have disclosed sources of error and what they have done to mitigate these errors.   However as these error sources have been mitigated it appears the thrust has also decreased.   Without knowing any more details about their experiments, the protocol they use, and any unpublished null results I can still unequivocally state there is no thrust being produced because none of the claimed thrust  waveforms show the same response as the calibration pulse (a capacitor).   Instead the thrust waveforms show thermal and mechanical deformation responses.    I think they should continue their research but they should be doing some tests that rule out conventional explanations.   Earlier I stated they should heat the cavity with a DC power source and measure the response (apparent movement which is construed as a force).   This is different from the dummy load test where the dummy load did not heat up the cavity.
As to crowd funding or some kind of prize, I would not be one to say no to that.   However any prize should not be limited to this technology because it will eventually be proven to be inconclusive as the measured "thrust" decreases further.
« Last Edit: 05/01/2015 08:43 PM by zen-in »

Offline ragingrei

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Re: FEATURE ARTICLE: Evaluating NASA's Futuristic EM Drive
« Reply #259 on: 05/01/2015 08:43 PM »
And now we have a pretty good video, objective  (even including Sean Carroll from CalTech, and Alcubierre stating that he thinks his warp-drive concept is not practically feasible for centuries) about the NSF article on the EM Drive !

http://www.newsy.com/47123/

 :)

There is some hope for the media, as these guys got this "right", fair and balanced, respecting science and yet keeping up some hope and they put the video together in a short amount of time

I'm glad for that. I wrote an article in the pop sci column of the local Japanese community magazine I work for, and it was very much the same description of the current situation as in this video, along with a little history beginning with Shawyer's work.

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