Author Topic: EM Drive Unofficial FAQ  (Read 2925 times)

Offline SteveD

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EM Drive Unofficial FAQ
« on: 05/08/2015 04:26 AM »
Seems like the team could use some clearer PR.  Here is my, likely wrong, take on things.  Please note: this is a simplified FAQ for the media.  The poster in not affiliated with Eagleworks in any way.

Q:  What is the EM Drive?
A:  The EM Drive is a device invented by Roger Sawyer that uses microwaves to provide propulsion without the need for the device to supply its own reactant mass.

Q: Why is the Em Drive exciting?
A: If it works it would allow a spaceship to, slowly, accelerate to a very high speed.

Q: If the ship goes fast enough, doesn't relativity mean that the mass will increase and its acceleration will slow?
A: Many engineers would consider creating a spaceship that can accelerate to the point that relativity appreciably increases its mass a clear win.

Q: Some of Sawyer's calculations suggest that this device can be used to generate free energy or other extraordinary claims.  Are these correct?
A:  The Eagleworks team wishes to avoid public criticism of the device's inventor.  An early test of the EM Drive include a device built to Sawyer's specifications, a null device that should have been inoperative under Sawyer's theories and a truly inoperative device designed to control for equipment error.  The first two, but not the third produced thrust.

Q: If the inventors theory is wrong, doesn't that mean the device doesn't work?
A: It is possible that an inventor might discover some form of exotic phenomenon capable of generating thrust in a manner not yet fully understood.  The discovery of Pluto originally turned on incorrect calculations, that does not mean that the minor planet does not exists.

Q: What does the team think is going on?
A: The working theory is that the Em Drive is pushing against quantum virtual particles that flash in and out of existence. 

Q: Several prominent physicists have questioned this interpretation.
A: The teams current theory is meant to explain observed data and make testable predictions. 

Q: How accurate are the teams observations?
A: There is a large enough chance of error that no one is confident in claiming a definitive result.  The first version of the EM Drive ran on 100 watts of power - the same as an older incandescent light bulb.  Sensitive measuring equipment picked up a very small amount of thrust that cannot, otherwise, be explained.  Initial tests were conducted at atmospheric pressure, raising the possibility that air movement were generating the thrust.  More recent tests were conducted in a vacuum - and continued to show thrust.  Currently, the team is taking two tracks.  The first is to eliminate all possible sources of experimental error that they can think of.  The second it to scale up the power level of the experiment in a way that should, theoretically, increase the thrust generated.  The more thrust that's generated, the easier it is to measure.

Q: Is this a fraud?
A: Normally, scientific fraud does not include the suggestion that a relatively cheap device, produced by a team with minimal funding, will produce clear and testable results at an easily achievable power level.  The EM Drive may not pan out.  If, in the end, it does not work the hype surrounding it will be due to the team lacking the funding to quickly eliminate sources of measurement error, not deliberately leading people on.

Q: Has anyone else reached similar results?
A: Teams in China and the UK have reported a similar finding. 

Q: Why is the team publishing in technical paper and internet post instead of peer reviewed journals?
A: It's somewhat hard to get "this seems to work but we have only the vaguest idea why" into a peer reviewed journal.  The first step involves verifying that the device actually does work.  For this the more eyes looking for sources of error, the better.

Offline cuddihy

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Re: EM Drive Unofficial FAQ
« Reply #1 on: 05/08/2015 11:32 AM »

Q: Some of Sawyer's calculations suggest that this device can be used to generate free energy or other extraordinary claims.  Are these correct?
A:  The Eagleworks team wishes to avoid public criticism of the device's inventor.  An early test of the EM Drive include a device built to Sawyer's specifications, a null device that should have been inoperative under Sawyer's theories and a truly inoperative device designed to control for equipment error.  The first two, but not the third produced thrust.


1. His name is Shawyer, not Sawyer
2. The null device did not nullify Shawyer's hypothosis but rather the Guido Fetta theory of the related Cannae drive; both the Cannae device and the Cannae null device produced thrust. Both were in accordance with Shawyer's design, however.

Offline Hanelyp

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Re: EM Drive Unofficial FAQ
« Reply #2 on: 05/09/2015 03:36 AM »
Q: Some of Sawyer's calculations suggest that this device can be used to generate free energy or other extraordinary claims.  Are these correct?
A:  The Eagleworks team wishes to avoid public criticism of the device's inventor.  An early test of the EM Drive include a device built to Sawyer's specifications, a null device that should have been inoperative under Sawyer's theories and a truly inoperative device designed to control for equipment error.  The first two, but not the third produced thrust.
I'm not seeing the connection between that question and answer.

Offline Stormbringer

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Re: EM Drive Unofficial FAQ
« Reply #3 on: 05/09/2015 03:48 AM »
Q: Some of Sawyer's calculations suggest that this device can be used to generate free energy or other extraordinary claims.  Are these correct?
A:  The Eagleworks team wishes to avoid public criticism of the device's inventor.  An early test of the EM Drive include a device built to Sawyer's specifications, a null device that should have been inoperative under Sawyer's theories and a truly inoperative device designed to control for equipment error.  The first two, but not the third produced thrust.
I'm not seeing the connection between that question and answer.
I think it's a read between the lines thing. "Were not saying he's nuts but..." puts finger to temple making a corkscrew motion.

I mean I think what they said was shawyer's null condition was confirmed; meaning his theory of operation is wrong.
When antigravity is outlawed only outlaws will have antigravity.

Online Mulletron

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Re: EM Drive Unofficial FAQ
« Reply #4 on: 05/09/2015 11:32 AM »
Thanks to the hard work of some dedicated volunteers, we have a wiki now as well:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36313.msg1369116#msg1369116

It is going to take some time to populate with data and links to references.

http://emdrive.echothis.com/index.php/Main_Page
Challenge your preconceptions, or they will challenge you. - Velik

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