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General Discussion => New Physics for Space Technology => Topic started by: jordan.greenhall on 05/12/2015 05:24 pm

Title: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: jordan.greenhall on 05/12/2015 05:24 pm
Hello everyone!  After a conversation on the main thread about the EM Drive, I reached out to the X-prize foundation and am now engaged in creating an X-prize project for/around EM Drive research.  TLDR: if you'd like to help make this happen, message me. 

The EM Drive is something that simultaneously seems impossible but/and has tremendous upside.  They agree that this is precisely the sort of thing that the X-prize was designed for.  I'll be working with them over the next few months to design and hopefully launch.  Targeting late summer/early fall for launch.

Running an X-prize consists of three major steps:

1.  Challenge design
2.  Running the challenge
3.  Judging the challenge

We are on step one and that has several key subcomponents:

* Most important is the design of the "challenge criteria".  This needs to be some set of objectively measurable events that a) Competitors could plausibly achieve during the challenge duration and b) Represent a clear and valuable addition to the state of the art.  This is the primary focus on this thread on the Forum. 

* Identify and recruit Judges.  In our case, this will be almost as important as the criteria.  The panel of judges has to be fair, objective and very high credibility.  Clearly having the X-Prize behind this challenge will help getting the right people on-board.

* Set the intellectual property rules for the challenge.  These can range from "all the IP created during the challenge is owned by the entity that runs the challenge" to "all the IP is put in the public domain" and everywhere in-between.  They have run challenges with all sorts of IP rules, and this can be a very important part of a challenge. 

* Set the magnitude of the prize and how it is divvied up.  Does the winner take all?  Does some fraction go to the top fast followers? 

* I will be working with them to raise the money for the challenge, but don't worry there will be a crowd funding component. 

After the challenge is designed, the next step is raising the money and promoting it.  They have a powerful platform for both and with the help of the good folks who are interested in the EM Drive, it seems likely that we could get several teams from around the world trying to hit this target.

Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Hanelyp on 05/12/2015 06:33 pm
Given that we're discussing an effect that would overturn a great deal of established physics if substantiated, demonstration of effect at some margin beyond noise floor would be an appropriate criteria.  The particular mechanism by which effect is generated should be irrelevant for the prize, beyond taking appropriate measure to eliminate a false signal.  It should be possible to treat the complete test device inside isolation enclosure as a black box into which is fed measured DC power to produce thrust.  Isolation and measurement method must rule out electromagnetic, convective, and stiction artifacts.

Needless to say, if I were a judge of such a prize I would be very skeptical.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: sfrank on 05/12/2015 07:25 pm
It seems to me one problem with offering a prize for confirming an actual effect is that there will likely always be some environmental problem with any individual test that could cast doubt on the measurements.  Confirmation will come from a preponderance of independent tests arriving at the same conclusions.  In which case, there's no single person to award the prize to (except perhaps Roger Shawyer?)

Personally I think if you're keen to fund Emdrive research, a better way would be to set up a gofundme for the replicators.  Then all the people here and on reddit that are interested in funding research can do so.  You can then have the replicators apply to have funds distributed to purchase equipment for them to use. 
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Mulletron on 05/12/2015 08:23 pm
Given that we're discussing an effect that would overturn a great deal of established physics if substantiated, demonstration of effect at some margin beyond noise floor would be an appropriate criteria.  The particular mechanism by which effect is generated should be irrelevant for the prize, beyond taking appropriate measure to eliminate a false signal.  It should be possible to treat the complete test device inside isolation enclosure as a black box into which is fed measured DC power to produce thrust.  Isolation and measurement method must rule out electromagnetic, convective, and stiction artifacts.

Needless to say, if I were a judge of such a prize I would be very skeptical.

I second Hanelyp's comments. Absolutely first and foremost, this effect must be confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt before any further progress can be made.

The public must be confident this effect is in fact real. Adding credibility to the proposed effect will also help drive research into the underlying science behind the anomalous thrust. A viable theory of operation will spur development through sound engineering.

IF that basic requirement can be met, I'd like to see performance metrics developed which focus on demonstrating increasing levels of thrust force per power input. I'm thinking of using the crawl, walk, run method to spur development. First the small things. What I have in mind will support two initial objectives:

The first is to demonstrate thrust levels which don't require state of the art gear in order to measure thrust. We have to get this out of the noise floor. A good place to start would be able to demonstrate at least 100uN of thrust every single time. This was mentioned by Paul March as a requirement before Eagleworks can pass off to GRC:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36313.msg1326608#msg1326608

The second objective is directly in support of enabling future spaceflight applications. Taking directly from section V of Anomalous Thrust Production from an RF Test Device Measured on a Low-Thrust Torsion Pendulum..see attachment, I'd like to see the following enabling objective met:
Quote
Based on test data and theoretical model development, the expected thrust to power for initial flight applications is expected to be in the 0.4 newton per kilowatt electric (N/kWe) range..

At the other end of the spectrum, how about some blue sky thinking? I think a good penultimate challenge would be to demonstrate a thrust to engine weight ratio >1.

Ultimate challenge? How about performance which will enable this?
http://www.xprize.org/prizes/future-prizes/transporter

Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: QuantumG on 05/12/2015 10:07 pm
Cubesat.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Asteroza on 05/12/2015 11:32 pm
Cubesat.

Are you suggesting the X-prize people performs the launch scheduling for a cubesat cluster launch, and perhaps provides some cubesat chassis for participants? Say, 6U types?
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: jordan.greenhall on 05/13/2015 12:48 am
I completely agree (including the requisite skepticism).  So, what does this look like in detail? 


Given that we're discussing an effect that would overturn a great deal of established physics if substantiated, demonstration of effect at some margin beyond noise floor would be an appropriate criteria.  The particular mechanism by which effect is generated should be irrelevant for the prize, beyond taking appropriate measure to eliminate a false signal.  It should be possible to treat the complete test device inside isolation enclosure as a black box into which is fed measured DC power to produce thrust.  Isolation and measurement method must rule out electromagnetic, convective, and stiction artifacts.

Needless to say, if I were a judge of such a prize I would be very skeptical.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: jordan.greenhall on 05/13/2015 12:53 am
1.  Maybe.  But there are clearly step-function demonstrations that will *strongly* activate multi-party interest in further work  - particularly from both private and public funding.  One major reason why I got interested in the X-prize is that it very much gets the attention of technology investors/entrepreneurs.  An appropriately framed challenge could easily push this into something that gets material investment and attention. 

2.  The major differentiator between an X-prize and something like gofundme is the multiplier effect.  Precisely because it is something that has enormous (and relatively obvious) commercial upside, a well-crafted X-prize might be expected to generate many times its magnitude in actual investment in the challenge.  This is commonly the case for X-prize events. 


It seems to me one problem with offering a prize for confirming an actual effect is that there will likely always be some environmental problem with any individual test that could cast doubt on the measurements.  Confirmation will come from a preponderance of independent tests arriving at the same conclusions.  In which case, there's no single person to award the prize to (except perhaps Roger Shawyer?)

Personally I think if you're keen to fund Emdrive research, a better way would be to set up a gofundme for the replicators.  Then all the people here and on reddit that are interested in funding research can do so.  You can then have the replicators apply to have funds distributed to purchase equipment for them to use.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Mulletron on 05/13/2015 07:32 am
Another resource attached detailing what it would take to enable crewed Mars, Jupiter and Saturn missions.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 05/13/2015 11:08 am
One of the prizes could be a day (or week) of testing in a vacuum chamber. This could be granted to 4-5 teams. Use of a vacuum chamber may not be considered a major prize by an official NASA team but few lone inventors have one.

Setting up a vacuum chamber with an electrified mini rail track inside is a significant cost but being reusable infrastructure it is cheap to allow several teams to use it. Much of the instrumentation, including cameras, can be built in.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: sghill on 05/13/2015 02:57 pm
I propose two challenges that are easy enough to judge.

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..."

Challenge #2: Ten million dollars is awarded to the first team that floats a working EM drive into an auditorium (without irradiating the audience).

Bonus Milestone Challenge!:  US$50,000 is awarded to the first team that demonstrates a working EMdrive with a measured thrust signal 3 standard deviations, screw it, 4 standard deviations, above the predicted noise levels.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: jordan.greenhall on 05/13/2015 04:04 pm
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.  From there two great things happen:

1.  Scientists will be activated to try to explain it.  Not debunk it - because you can't debunk reality - but explain it. 
2.  Technologists will be activated to try and make use of it.  For this, science is very useful because it makes engineering much easier.  But it is not necessary.  It is entirely plausible that we could build tens of billions of dollars worth of value without any deep theory about how it is actually working. 


I propose two challenges that are easy enough to judge.

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." a the end of the proof, and not "and then a miracle happens..."

Challenge #2: Ten million dollars is awarded to the first team that floats a working EM drive into an auditorium (without irradiating the audience).

Bonus Milestone Challenge!:  US$50,000 is awarded to the first team that demonstrates a working EMdrive with a measured thrust signal 3 standard deviations, screw it, 4 standard deviations, above the predicted noise levels.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: jordan.greenhall on 05/13/2015 04:17 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. 

Hanleyp identified what I think are the lower bound requirements: "Isolation and measurement method must rule out electromagnetic, convective, and stiction artifacts."  It seems to me that while a vacuum would be interesting, this actually introduces unnecessary cost and complication.  I could easily be wrong, but its my understanding that for thrust > X, *no* existing contributory cause (electromagnetic, convective, stiction, etc.) is an adequate explanation for the phenomenon.  It is only because we are currently operating in a micro-power environment that we need to use a vacuum chamber (etc.) to isolate out various alternative explanations. 

At what level of thrust would alternate explanations drop out?  We have a model that suggests that "the expected thrust to power for initial flight applications is expected to be in the 0.4 newton per kilowatt electric (N/kWe) range."  and this is without any fancy materials science (i.e., superconductivity). 

Would 1 newton suffice to rule out alternative explanations?  10 newton?  100? 
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: TheTraveller on 05/13/2015 04:48 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.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Mulletron on 05/13/2015 05:00 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.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: sfrank on 05/13/2015 05:04 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?  I don't want to beat a dead horse but it just seems like a gofundme campaign is the appropriate level of crowdfunding support at this time. Plus it gives us the added benefit of seeing immediate results.  Then later, if we decide things have progressed to the point where an X-Prize would help spark the next level of research, the gofundme account could provide the seed money for that prize.  It literally would just take a few clicks to get set up and we can go back to planning X-Prize criteria while we collect money to fund your current experiments.  That is, if you're interested in that.

Or as reddit would say:
(http://i1.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/facebook/000/264/200/acb.jpg)
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 05/13/2015 05:14 pm
{snip}
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. 

Hanleyp identified what I think are the lower bound requirements: "Isolation and measurement method must rule out electromagnetic, convective, and stiction artifacts."  It seems to me that while a vacuum would be interesting, this actually introduces unnecessary cost and complication.  I could easily be wrong, but its my understanding that for thrust > X, *no* existing contributory cause (electromagnetic, convective, stiction, etc.) is an adequate explanation for the phenomenon.  It is only because we are currently operating in a micro-power environment that we need to use a vacuum chamber (etc.) to isolate out various alternative explanations. 

{snip}
For work on the Earth operation in a vacuum is not needed, except for a single proof of concept model that can be made by NASA. For use in spaceships the equipment (probably) needs to work outside, outside in LEO is a vacuum.

Note: I am treating the thruster like wheels and rocket nozzles which only work outside but being propellant-less the EM thruster may be the exception to the rule. However that unique would also need proving.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: aero on 05/13/2015 05:21 pm
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?

Maybe an absolute minimum total thrust requirement (one Newton) with a factor for thrust/power and thrust/weight, not including the weight of the power source. Perhaps Thrust/weight > 0.1 and drive power less than 1200 Watts. High power RF is very dangerous, even 1200 Watts is hazardous.

I use the term "RF" but I wonder if the operating frequency range should not even be a consideration?

And I do note that a 3 kg cavity (reasonable engine mass) with thrust/weight > 0.1 would produce 0.3  Newtons thrust. To get 1 Newton thrust from a 3 kg cavity requires a T/W >= 1/3 but at 1000 Watts drive power requires only Thrust/power 0.003 N/W (300 mN/W) which is near values that have been claimed.

Better heads than mine should tell if an engine performing to such specification could give unambiguous test data.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 05/13/2015 05:24 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.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Mulletron on 05/13/2015 05:54 pm

If we set up a gofundme to collect money to fund the replicators attempts, would you (@Mulletron and @TheTraveller) accept money from that? I don't want to beat a dead horse but it just seems like a gofundme campaign is the appropriate level of crowdfunding support at this time. Plus it gives us the added benefit of seeing immediate results.  Then later, if we decide things have progressed to the point where an X-Prize would help spark the next level of research, the gofundme account could provide the seed money for that prize.  It literally would just take a few clicks to get set up and we can go back to planning X-Prize criteria while we collect money to fund your current experiments.  That is, if you're interested in that.

Or as reddit would say:


Heck no and gofundme is not the focus of this thread.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: TheTraveller 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.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: sghill 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.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Star One 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.:)
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Mulletron 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.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: TheTraveller 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.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: tchernik 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.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: TheTraveller 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.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: jordan.greenhall 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).
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: TheTraveller 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.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: A_M_Swallow 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.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: ChrisWilson68 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.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: QuantumG 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.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Impaler 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.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: ChrisWilson68 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.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: A_M_Swallow 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.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Asteroza 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?
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: ChrisWilson68 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.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: ChrisWilson68 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.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: QuantumG 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.

Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: ChrisWilson68 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/
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Paul451 on 05/14/2015 04:43 am
Once you've definitively proven the effect real, you don't need a puny few million dollar prize to stimulate development, you'll have the entire aerospace industry pushing it (even if its limited to millinewtons it would revolutionise space travel.)

What I can't see is how you could define a test, in a way that would satisfy the lawyers, at any level of thrust that hasn't already unequivocally proven the effect is real. Either you open yourself to ambiguous results (and lawsuits), fraud (and lawsuits), or the demonstration will need to be 100pts on a scale where 10pts is enough to have already convinced people with real money. The prize becomes pointless, either being soft and therefore ambiguous, or only being claimable when it no longer matters. It seems to be a Catch-22 situation.

To use an analogy: It's like proposing the Orteig Prize (Atlantic crossing) as the level of demonstration necessary to "prove" the claims of the Wright Bros. By the time anyone is able to claim the prize, the basic claim "powered flight is real" is long, long proven beyond a shadow of a doubt; and probably already in commercial use. So what is the point of the prize?

Or another analogy: It's like the original X-Prize (flight to 100km) was offered before chemical-rockets were proven to exist. By the time someone could meet the terms of the prize, the idea of rockets will have been long since proven to everyone's satisfaction. The prize doesn't actually add anything.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Star One on 05/14/2015 06:40 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.

I don't think this bringing respectability to New Space you mention is anything to do with the intentions of the X-Prize. It's about straight up innovation not bestowing respectability on things, least of so called new space. And don't even get me started on terms like new space, which is just another meaningless buzzword. There's just the space industry no need to artificially separate things into old & new.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: sghill on 05/14/2015 02:43 pm
I love the Examiner article. How flattering that the little NSF forum carries enough cachet that it is generating mainstream press in real time from our posts.

Regarding the utility of the prize itself in response to Paul451. Your analogies are inaccurate, even though I see where you are coming from.

First, the potential for prize money reduces development risk, which in turn makes it easier to attract money to fund one, and perhaps many, development teams. The risk that another team still wins is there, but the absolute risk that nothing will come of making the effort is lowered.  For example, 45% of angel investor money goes to companies that are not selling, but are near to market. Yet only 5% goes to true startups.  The point here is that a near market company has already "invented" it's product offering, but it's not selling yet. It's risk of failing in the market place is still there, but the initial development risk is lower, so it's an attractive investment opportunity.  Similarly, an X-prize lowers development risk by creating a set opportunity for reward, but it doesn't affect market risk. I.e. Virgin Galactic is still a very risky market proposition, even though the technology they are using was initially developed to capture x-prize money.

Second, and relatedly, a development prototype that meets the judging criteria for winning is not necessarily a good design for  the marketplace, and my first point applies. However, the entire point of the prize is to spur development of the technology that otherwise would not have occurred.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Lumina on 05/14/2015 03:34 pm
I also believe that a cubesat is the best way to go for an X-prize. Prove constant mass and constant thrust of at least x.xxx N over minimum t length of time (starting from LEO). Thrust benchmark would have to be an order of magnitude above known effects such as the best-case photon rocket. Time and trajectory goals should be selected to indirectly and conclusively rule out all other known propellantless thrusting techniques.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: jordan.greenhall on 05/14/2015 03:37 pm
Nice.  Any reason why you think .1N is the right number?  Why not 1N or higher?  My sense is that there is some thrust > X where reasonable alternative explanations drop away and we are left with a "this is clearly something new" result.  Why do you think that .1N is X? 

Why vacuum?  Obviously it will be important for space operations that one be able to operate this thing in a vacuum - but for the purposes of proving that we have a "something new result," what does a vacuum add?  If thrust is > X, don't all of the things that a vacuum would help eliminate already drop away?

Portable is a nice interesting objective.  The deep intent here is to allow 3rd parties to ask for a test of the rig in their own environment?   

What I'm seeing so far in this thread (other than a funny need of people to contribute to the thread that they think that an X-prize is a bad idea!) is:

* Thrust > X
* Extremely repeatable
* For some long time and number of repetitions
* Highly transparent and available to be "prodded" by 3rd parties


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.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: jordan.greenhall on 05/14/2015 03:41 pm
Chris, you seem to have assumed your objections.

a) It can be branded anything.  If you think that calling it an "EM Drive" X-prize is troubling, please suggest what you think might be better.
b) The specific ask of this thread is for assistance on specifying the end result to be achieved.   The necessity of not binding to an implementation is well understood.  Do you have any specific suggestions here?
c) Keeping in mind the above also don't worry too much about the X-prize and their association with risky endeavours.  That is their raison d'etre.  They know that this has a small chance of success and are delighted by the prospect.  They are all about high risk / high reward innovation.

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.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: jordan.greenhall on 05/14/2015 03:48 pm
Paul, I don't follow.  Specifically, I don't see where lawyers come into the discussion.

In any event, let me walk through the current logic and lets see if we can connect:

1) The effect has clearly not yet been proven real.  Specifically, the current level of "proof" is inadequate to have kicked off a "race" within the industry (at least so far as we know).  The vast majority of relevant outside observers (e.g., physicists) continue to dismiss it as not real.
2) There is some threshold where the effect will have moved past some tipping point of "proof" that is adequate to significantly increase research activity. 
3) This threshold clearly is beyond the current level of demonstration; and is *hopefully* within the range of possibility that could be motivated by a $1M - $3M X-prize.
4) If this threshold has been passed we are in a very different environment and should expect substantial activity around the effect.

Earlier in this thread, I've outlined what appears to be the emerging consensus as to what that threshold looks like.

To use your analogy, we are currently *before* kitty hawk and the point of the X-prize is precisely kitty hawk.

Once you've definitively proven the effect real, you don't need a puny few million dollar prize to stimulate development, you'll have the entire aerospace industry pushing it (even if its limited to millinewtons it would revolutionise space travel.)

What I can't see is how you could define a test, in a way that would satisfy the lawyers, at any level of thrust that hasn't already unequivocally proven the effect is real. Either you open yourself to ambiguous results (and lawsuits), fraud (and lawsuits), or the demonstration will need to be 100pts on a scale where 10pts is enough to have already convinced people with real money. The prize becomes pointless, either being soft and therefore ambiguous, or only being claimable when it no longer matters. It seems to be a Catch-22 situation.

To use an analogy: It's like proposing the Orteig Prize (Atlantic crossing) as the level of demonstration necessary to "prove" the claims of the Wright Bros. By the time anyone is able to claim the prize, the basic claim "powered flight is real" is long, long proven beyond a shadow of a doubt; and probably already in commercial use. So what is the point of the prize?

Or another analogy: It's like the original X-Prize (flight to 100km) was offered before chemical-rockets were proven to exist. By the time someone could meet the terms of the prize, the idea of rockets will have been long since proven to everyone's satisfaction. The prize doesn't actually add anything.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: bad_astra on 05/14/2015 04:06 pm
Has anyone looked into the problem of having cubesats splatting s-band noise too and fro on parts of the spectrum that are already allocated?
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: bad_astra on 05/15/2015 02:56 pm
Yes, as these will be focused essentially out of a horn antenna.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: bad_astra on 05/15/2015 04:06 pm
thank you
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Impaler on 05/15/2015 07:06 pm
I also believe that a cubesat is the best way to go for an X-prize. Prove constant mass and constant thrust of at least x.xxx N over minimum t length of time (starting from LEO). Thrust benchmark would have to be an order of magnitude above known effects such as the best-case photon rocket. Time and trajectory goals should be selected to indirectly and conclusively rule out all other known propellantless thrusting techniques.

This is silly, the prize granting body will simply inspect the vehicle before it is launched to verify it is a legitimate design.  Submitting something to inspection is a normal part of wining a prize because their are always rules which need to be followed to be eligible.  Do you think the first X-Prize was won without anyone getting to look inside Space Ship One?

No specific thrust level or period of times is a guarantee that the vehicle is propellent-less and having a high thrust requirement needless raises the bar for the performance of the system when we just want to get a irrefutable demonstration of ANY performance at all.

I would simply go with a target Delta-V, such as reaching Earth escape velocity, it is easily verified via telemetry and independently confirmed by radar.  It establishes the drive as a viable means to raise satellites to GSO which is a immensely practical and immediate commercial usage.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Rodal on 05/15/2015 07:19 pm
The just announced successful Photonic Laser Thruster experiment by NASA which accelerated a 450 gram (~1 lb., ~4.4 Newtons) spacecraft simulator:

http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=45847

is an example of competing propellant-less means of space propulsion that should be taken into account in formulating this X-Prize as a propellant-less prize in general.  Would the Photonic Laser Thruster, for example, be able to compete for the X-Prize ? (if so, the  Photonic Laser Thruster is already ahead of the EM Drive in highest achieved thrust).

It seems (*) that the X-Prize needs to state not just a propellant-less means of space propulsion, but in addition that the propulsion has to be effected entirely by internal power and fields, without the need of any external forces or power from external fields (thus eliminating solar sails, electrodynamic tethers, propulsion using external magnetic fields, Photonic Laser Thrusters, etc.)

(http://www.photonics.com/images/Web/Articles/2013/10/8/thumbnail_55064.jpg)

_________
(*) Assuming that the purpose is to reward the achievement of a milestone involving space propulsion without internal supply of propellant and without the action of external force fields or power, something that appears impossible perhaps with the exception of a photonic rocket (which does emit photons, and is entirely classical: as it does not break the law of conservation of momentum, and whose thrust/InputPower is several orders of magnitude less that what is claimed by EM Drive experimenters )

The concept of the EM Drive (if the EM Drive is ever possible) is self-contained while the Photonic Thruster is limited to the distance to the Resource Vehicle at the present time,

Quote from: http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=45847
I can see future development that includes optical cavities that span many kilometers achieved with precise mirror alignment to enable maneuvering spacecraft many kilometers apart, and propellant-free propulsion of satellites in formations.

Although Bae has written about the concept being used for Interstellar Travel:

http://ykbcorp.com/downloads/Bae_photon_propulsion_STAIF2_Paper_Circulation.pdf

using an "Interstellar Photonic Railway"
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 05/15/2015 08:01 pm
{snip}
It seems (*) that the X-Prize needs to state not just a propellant-less means of space propulsion, but in addition that the propulsion has to be effected entirely by internal power and fields, without the need of any external forces or power from external fields (thus eliminating solar sails, electromagnetic tethers, Photonic Laser Thrusters, etc.)

A practical thruster will take its power from solar arrays because batteries will not carry sufficient power to last the trip.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Rodal on 05/15/2015 08:04 pm
...

A practical thruster will take its power from solar arrays because batteries will not carry sufficient power to last the trip.
The feasibility of the EM Drive is a big IF, but for argument's sake, the EM Drive researchers have proposed internal nuclear power to supply the power, as it appears that the power from solar arrays will not supply enough power to enable human-crewed missions :

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2015/04/evaluating-nasas-futuristic-em-drive/
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: jordan.greenhall on 05/16/2015 12:52 am
The just announced successful Photonic Laser Thruster experiment by NASA which accelerated a 450 gram (~1 lb., ~4.4 Newtons) spacecraft simulator:

http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=45847

is an example of competing propellant-less means of space propulsion that should be taken into account in formulating this X-Prize as a propellant-less prize in general.  Would the Photonic Laser Thruster, for example, be able to compete for the X-Prize ? (if so, the  Photonic Laser Thruster is already ahead of the EM Drive in highest achieved thrust).

This is an *excellent* point.

As Dr. Rodal points out, there are other effective ways to generate various forms of thrust for specific applications. 

What prevents those being of interest to an X-Prize is that they all are part of reasonably well understood physics and have been the subject of engineering consideration for a long time.  They live well along the technology improvement s-curve and, consequently, are "relatively" unlikely to deliver a breakthrough in capability.

By contrast, if the EM Drive is real at all, this represents a major anomaly and novelty.  Precisely because it is highly novel, it represents at least a *potential* breakthrough.  To put it bluntly, we don't really have any idea what the upside could be.  It could be quite significant (i.e., satellite applications are the low end of the potential).  And this is what makes it interesting for an X-Prize. 

Accordingly, the challenge design should rule out approaches that deliver "propellant free" thrust via well understood physics.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Rodal on 05/16/2015 01:30 am
The just announced successful Photonic Laser Thruster experiment by NASA which accelerated a 450 gram (~1 lb., ~4.4 Newtons) spacecraft simulator:

http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=45847

is an example of competing propellant-less means of space propulsion that should be taken into account in formulating this X-Prize as a propellant-less prize in general.  Would the Photonic Laser Thruster, for example, be able to compete for the X-Prize ? (if so, the  Photonic Laser Thruster is already ahead of the EM Drive in highest achieved thrust).

This is an *excellent* point.

As Dr. Rodal points out, there are other effective ways to generate various forms of thrust for specific applications. 

What prevents those being of interest to an X-Prize is that they all are part of reasonably well understood physics and have been the subject of engineering consideration for a long time.  They live well along the technology improvement s-curve and, consequently, are "relatively" unlikely to deliver a breakthrough in capability.

By contrast, if the EM Drive is real at all, this represents a major anomaly and novelty.  Precisely because it is highly novel, it represents at least a *potential* breakthrough.  To put it bluntly, we don't really have any idea what the upside could be.  It could be quite significant (i.e., satellite applications are the low end of the potential).  And this is what makes it interesting for an X-Prize. 

Accordingly, the challenge design should rule out approaches that deliver "propellant free" thrust via well understood physics.

I propose to use this wording

<<A space propulsion engine that can accelerate a spacecraft/satellite (*), in a controlled manner, purely by internal (to the spacecraft/satellite) generated power, without ejecting any particles from the spacecraft/satellite to achieve such acceleration, and without using any external forces or fields to achieve said controlled acceleration. (Thus, any space propulsion devices that eject propellant, and/or use any external forces or external fields (e.g. solar sails, electrodynamic tethers, propulsion using external magnetic fields, Photonic Laser Thrusters, etc.) are eliminated from consideration) >>

____________________
(*) the control, magnitude, (linear and rotational) direction, and duration of the acceleration as well as the total mass, orientation and location of the spacecraft to be specified



NOTES:

1) I am aware that to achieve significant controlled acceleration of a spacecraft/satellite, per the wording specified above, appears to be impossible (**), certainly according to classical physics, as it runs explicitly against the (universally confirmed) law of conservation of momentum, but this is just what the EM Drive researchers in the US, UK and China claim.   As such it differs from previous X-Prizes, that just involved an engineering feat.  Achieving the above would imply not just an engineering breakthrough but a break with the laws of classical physics.

2) The above wording does not include the words EM Drive or any particular concept or engineering device.  The above-specified objectives can be satisfied by several presently proposed and tested, different, means of propulsion, such as:

a) the EM Drive: a closed resonant microwave cavity (experiments by NASA's Dr. White and Cannae's G. Fetta in the US, R.Shawyer in the UK and Prof. Yang in China)

b) the Woodward-Mach-Effect MET or MLT devices (Prof. Woodward and Prof. Fearn,  California State University, Fullerton ) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_F._Woodward
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodward_effect

3) The word acceleration was chosen on purpose instead of force.  A specified change in velocity (over a specified length of time) is also suitable wording.  Force is not suitable wording because force is an intuitive concept that is never directly measured, it involves additional quantities: what one directly measures in experiments are displacements (a force obtained by multiplying the displacement by a stiffness) or accelerations (a force obtained by multiplying the acceleration by a mass), or a piezoelectric effect, etc.  Acceleration is an explicit, fundamental concept which involves primary dimensions of spatial geometry and time and that can be formally defined.

4) If the above wording is modified to allow ejecting particles, or to allow external fields to accelerate the spacecraft, it would be practically impossible to set a goal for the X-Prize in the spirit proposed by Jordan Greenhall, as for example, there are already a number of propellant-less devices that can accelerate a spacecraft/satellite by means of external fields.

(**) photonic rockets (e.g. using a military searchlight as a means of propulsion) are also excluded because they emit photons to achieve their propulsion.  They are also practically excluded as their thrust/InputPower, even for a perfectly collimated beam, is several orders of magnitude less that what is claimed to have been presently measured by all EM Drive experimenters.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 05/16/2015 02:35 am
If the EM Drive emits tachyons then it does not meet this definition.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Rodal on 05/16/2015 02:37 am
If the EM Drive emits tachyons then it does not meet this definition.
1) If the EM Drive emits any kind of particles it is not meeting the claims of any of the researchers in the US, UK and China.  All the EM Drive researchers are claiming that there are no particles being emitted.

2) If the EM Drive would emit tachyons (a hypothetical, fictional, particle that has never been found in nature) then the EM Drive could be used for communication with the past, which would involve a time paradox.

(Tachyons are fictional particles that can travel faster than the speed of light.  Sending signals faster than light, leads to to violations of causality. For example, somebody from the future could send Shawyer, using tachyons, a message with the design for an EM Drive for Shawyer to get the X-Prize  :) )

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tachyonic_antitelephone

Suppose A and B enter into the following agreement: A will send a message at three o'clock if and only if he does not receive one at one o'clock. B sends a message to reach A at one o'clock immediately on receiving one from A at three o'clock. Then the exchange of messages will take place if and only if it does not take place. This is a genuine paradox, a causal contradiction.

3) If for some reason, people still would like to widen the definition, "particles" can be substituted by "propellant" but I like "particles" because it puts all the researchers in the US, UK and China under a more stringent condition and because the size of particle that would qualify as "propellant" would have to be further specified (which would be kind of arbitrary).
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 05/16/2015 02:45 am
If the EM Drive emits tachyons then it does not meet this definition.
If the EM Drive would emit tachyons (a hypothetical, fictional, particle that has never been found in nature) then the EM Drive could be used for communication with the past, which would involve a time paradox.

(Tachyons are fictional particles that can travel faster than the speed of light.  Sending signals faster than light, leads to to violations of causality. For example, somebody from the future could send Shawyer, using tachyons, a message with the design for an EM Drive for Shawyer to get the X-Prize  :) )

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tachyonic_antitelephone

We will deal with that problem when we see it.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 05/16/2015 03:58 am
Why vacuum?  Obviously it will be important for space operations that one be able to operate this thing in a vacuum - but for the purposes of proving that we have a "something new result," what does a vacuum add?  If thrust is > X, don't all of the things that a vacuum would help eliminate already drop away?

Without a vacuum it becomes much harder to rule out other effects, even for higher X.

c) Keeping in mind the above also don't worry too much about the X-prize and their association with risky endeavours.  That is their raison d'etre.  They know that this has a small chance of success and are delighted by the prospect.  They are all about high risk / high reward innovation.

Yes, the X-Prize is meant to be associated with risky endeavours, but that doesn't mean all levels of risk are equivalent.  The X-Prize loses its power if they start announcing X-Prizes for discovering unicorns, the Tooth Fairy, and Santa.  I know in your world view unicorns aren't equivalent to the EM Drive actually working, but you have to understand that to the majority of well-educated people in technical fields the EM Drive working is pretty much equivalent to finding a living unicorn.

So by trying help the EM Drive you lessen the X-Prize's effectiveness for all those other X-Prizes for things like flying to the moon that are not inconsistent with known physics.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Mulletron on 05/16/2015 08:28 am
The X-Prize loses its power if they start announcing X-Prizes for discovering unicorns, the Tooth Fairy, and Santa.  I know in your world view unicorns aren't equivalent to the EM Drive actually working, but you have to understand that to the majority of well-educated people in technical fields the EM Drive working is pretty much equivalent to finding a living unicorn.

So by trying help the EM Drive you lessen the X-Prize's effectiveness for all those other X-Prizes for things like flying to the moon that are not inconsistent with known physics.

To my knowledge, no lab has presented evidence of discovering unicorns, the Tooth Fairy, and Santa.

Quote
but you have to understand that to the majority of well-educated people in technical fields the EM Drive working is pretty much equivalent to finding a living unicorn

All I have to say is that if we're ever going to understand how folks are reporting a thrust signature from these copper cans, we're going to have to upgrade our toolbox to the latest tools available. Most people are simply unaware that concepts such as "Casimir momentum" even exist. This stuff isn't magic, it's just new.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 05/16/2015 09:22 am
The X-Prize loses its power if they start announcing X-Prizes for discovering unicorns, the Tooth Fairy, and Santa.  I know in your world view unicorns aren't equivalent to the EM Drive actually working, but you have to understand that to the majority of well-educated people in technical fields the EM Drive working is pretty much equivalent to finding a living unicorn.

So by trying help the EM Drive you lessen the X-Prize's effectiveness for all those other X-Prizes for things like flying to the moon that are not inconsistent with known physics.

To my knowledge, no lab has presented evidence of discovering unicorns, the Tooth Fairy, and Santa.

Quote
but you have to understand that to the majority of well-educated people in technical fields the EM Drive working is pretty much equivalent to finding a living unicorn

All I have to say is that if we're ever going to understand how folks are reporting a thrust signature from these copper cans, we're going to have to upgrade our toolbox to the latest tools available. Most people are simply unaware that concepts such as "Casimir momentum" even exist. This stuff isn't magic, it's just new.

You're completely and utterly missing my point.

It doesn't matter whether it's real or not.  My point is that, for better or worse, the vast majority of the science and engineering establishment believes it's nonsense.  You have to take that into consideration when deciding whether or not to create an EM Drive X-Prize, because that's enough to seriously harm everything else the X-Prize foundation is doing.

Whether the EM Drive really works or not is off topic for this thread.
Title: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Star One on 05/16/2015 01:37 pm
The X-Prize loses its power if they start announcing X-Prizes for discovering unicorns, the Tooth Fairy, and Santa.  I know in your world view unicorns aren't equivalent to the EM Drive actually working, but you have to understand that to the majority of well-educated people in technical fields the EM Drive working is pretty much equivalent to finding a living unicorn.

So by trying help the EM Drive you lessen the X-Prize's effectiveness for all those other X-Prizes for things like flying to the moon that are not inconsistent with known physics.

To my knowledge, no lab has presented evidence of discovering unicorns, the Tooth Fairy, and Santa.

Quote
but you have to understand that to the majority of well-educated people in technical fields the EM Drive working is pretty much equivalent to finding a living unicorn

All I have to say is that if we're ever going to understand how folks are reporting a thrust signature from these copper cans, we're going to have to upgrade our toolbox to the latest tools available. Most people are simply unaware that concepts such as "Casimir momentum" even exist. This stuff isn't magic, it's just new.

You're completely and utterly missing my point.

It doesn't matter whether it's real or not.  My point is that, for better or worse, the vast majority of the science and engineering establishment believes it's nonsense.  You have to take that into consideration when deciding whether or not to create an EM Drive X-Prize, because that's enough to seriously harm everything else the X-Prize foundation is doing.

Whether the EM Drive really works or not is off topic for this thread.

There is a danger here of it looking like you're trying to speak for the whole of the scientific establishment on this topic. That aside as far as I can see your concerns regarding the X-Prize have been answered up thread so I'm not sure there is any worth in you recycling this again.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: jordan.greenhall on 05/17/2015 12:56 am
I disagree.  Whether EM Drive really works - or, rather, whether EM Drive has a non-trivial probability of really working - is precisely the point.  The X prize exists to deliver "radical breakthroughs".  By definition, this requires that it tilt at windmills that the vast majority of experts believe are impossible nonsense.  Otherwise, they wouldn't be breakthroughs.

This is the beauty of the prize format.

1. We believe that the upside is significant and that there are objectively measurable, clear ways of demonstrating that upside.

2. We therefore are willing to offer to pay a substantial prize to anyone who is able to hit those targets.  But *not* to fund the effort to get there.

3. If other people agree that this is possible and desirable and are willing to undertake the (often substantial) effort to try and hit the target, then we are collectively joined in an audacious effort.   

4. If the target is hit, the world wins and we are delighted to pay the prize.

5. If the target is not hit, then we don't pay the prize - the deep risk is entirely taken by the good folks at step 3 who were willing to take the personal and material risk of venturing the competition.

The fundamental premise of the X prize is that people are allowed to believe that they can accomplish impossible things - and that if they themselves are willing to put their time, energy and resources against it; on occasion impossible things do result. 

In any event, this discussion is moot: I'm talking directly with the folks at the X prize foundation.  I presume that they are better positioned than either of us to opine on whether something like this is right for an X prize.  Making that judgement is not our job.  Our job is to formulate a challenge criterion that, if it were accomplished, would be worth the prize.

For myself, it seems an obviously worthwhile risk.  Something the vast majority of the engineering and scientific establishment considers it nonsense - while at the same time there is meaningful concrete evidence that *something* is afoot - is just the sort of thing to examine when you are looking for breakthroughs.


You're completely and utterly missing my point.

It doesn't matter whether it's real or not.  My point is that, for better or worse, the vast majority of the science and engineering establishment believes it's nonsense.  You have to take that into consideration when deciding whether or not to create an EM Drive X-Prize, because that's enough to seriously harm everything else the X-Prize foundation is doing.

Whether the EM Drive really works or not is off topic for this thread.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: jordan.greenhall on 05/17/2015 12:59 am
Ok, this side conversation made me smile.  I love perspective.

How about this: if it turns out that someone working on this prize happens to fail the challenge because they end up demonstrating the existence of Tachyons, then we will give them a Nobel prize instead. 

If the EM Drive emits tachyons then it does not meet this definition.
If the EM Drive would emit tachyons (a hypothetical, fictional, particle that has never been found in nature) then the EM Drive could be used for communication with the past, which would involve a time paradox.

(Tachyons are fictional particles that can travel faster than the speed of light.  Sending signals faster than light, leads to to violations of causality. For example, somebody from the future could send Shawyer, using tachyons, a message with the design for an EM Drive for Shawyer to get the X-Prize  :) )

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tachyonic_antitelephone

We will deal with that problem when we see it.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: KelvinZero on 05/17/2015 01:27 am
I think a nobel prize would be a given. Only a tiny minority seems to still claim this fits within existing physics, and even if so they would deserve it for proving so many opposing opinions wrong.

I wouldn't worry too much if something like the photonic thruster slipped through and won. The nature of the x-prize is about something that works, not how it works. So long as the winner produces some revolution relevant to the desired usage, great. You can always start another prize.

I mean, boo hoo if instead of violating known laws they produce a cold fusion rocket or find a way to push on dark matter or latch a tractor beam on a distant galaxy receding at the speed of light. What would be really depressing if someone actually makes sense of the physics of this claim, but can no longer claim the prize because it now has a conventional explanation, despite being no less useful.

I guess you guys might think this is too far off topic, but for example I would like to see a prize for most delta-v into a cubesat. This probably does not exactly suit an x-prize because there will always be a winner, and always room for a better winner next year. It is more like a race. The key is very simple rules that do not eliminate great ideas for silly reasons. (The race itself might have to be spread over a multi year period to give high ISP drives a chance to pull ahead. You could also have different prizes for the same race at different marks, eg the 1 year mark, the 5 year mark and so on)
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 05/17/2015 03:44 am
By definition, this requires that it tilt at windmills that the vast majority of experts believe are impossible nonsense.  Otherwise, they wouldn't be breakthroughs.

That's nonsense.  No prize the X-Prize foundation has ever offered has been for anything any expert thought was impossible nonsense.  They've always been for things that are hard but that do not violate the known laws of physics.

In other words, they've always been about engineering challenges, not basic science challenges.

It's just silly to say it can't be a breakthrough if it's just an engineering challenge.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Star One on 05/17/2015 11:17 am

By definition, this requires that it tilt at windmills that the vast majority of experts believe are impossible nonsense.  Otherwise, they wouldn't be breakthroughs.

That's nonsense.  No prize the X-Prize foundation has ever offered has been for anything any expert thought was impossible nonsense.  They've always been for things that are hard but that do not violate the known laws of physics.

In other words, they've always been about engineering challenges, not basic science challenges.

It's just silly to say it can't be a breakthrough if it's just an engineering challenge.

Quite a lot of assumptions made there for a subject that's still out for debate.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: jordan.greenhall on 05/17/2015 07:26 pm
Hmm, this particular thread of conversation seems to be a distraction.


By definition, this requires that it tilt at windmills that the vast majority of experts believe are impossible nonsense.  Otherwise, they wouldn't be breakthroughs.

That's nonsense.  No prize the X-Prize foundation has ever offered has been for anything any expert thought was impossible nonsense.  They've always been for things that are hard but that do not violate the known laws of physics.

In other words, they've always been about engineering challenges, not basic science challenges.

It's just silly to say it can't be a breakthrough if it's just an engineering challenge.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: jordan.greenhall on 05/17/2015 07:40 pm
Hmm, you seem to have an implicit moral bias ("shady" "bookie").  In any event, this is a good point.  There is leverage available in the X Prize format.  For some $Y amount of money raised to "back" the prize, you can secure a prize of MY where M is related to the expected probability of the prize being claimed.  This could be used either to reduce the required magnitude of Y or to increase the end size of MY. 

Notably, the most important leverage exists where there is an information gradient between those who are seeking the prize and those who are "insuring" it.  To the point - when the time comes to get some entity to insure the prize, they will go out to "the experts" to evaluate the probability of the prize being claimed.  Presumably in the current context the experts will report back with a probability close to zero (i.e., this is all complete nonsense) which would result in a very high M value. 

If we believe that the probability is some number relatively larger than zero (say 2%) then - presuming that we actually have better information than "the experts" - this difference represents a major "information arbitrage" and an excellent way of making science more efficient and rational. 

Everyone please keep in mind how an X-prize is funded.

The prize sponsors will take out an insurance policy from a shady insurance company in the Cayman Islands or some place.  The policy is basically a bet placed with bookies.  If the prize is claimed before the policy expires, then the insurance company has to pay out to the policy holder.  If the prize is not claimed, then the insurance company takes the money that was used to purchase the policy.  In that way, the prize sponsors only have to raise a little money to come up with a prize worth millions.

The harder the prize is to claim, the cheaper the policy costs.  Ergo, the more impossible the task, the easier it is to create the prize.  It's nice to think that someone will claim the prize, but the real value comes from creating the effort and publicity.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: txdrive on 05/17/2015 08:25 pm
So, no prize if the effect actually doesn't even exist?
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: jordan.greenhall on 05/17/2015 09:11 pm
No prize if the challenge criteria are not hit.  If we do a good job designing the challenge criteria, then, by definition if the effect doesn't even exist, the challenge criteria will not be hit and there will be no prize awarded.

In essence, the prize at this level is all about potently demonstrating that the effect exists.  And no more than that.

I should note that we are in a very interesting position in that it is possible that non-public efforts exist that have demonstrated substantially more than is currently publicly available.  Shawyer strongly hints at that here: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/emdrive-warp-drive-are-two-different-things-nasas-still-working-emdrive-1501268

So it might turn out that what we consider to be a major innovation (demonstrating the effect) is, in fact, not interesting at all . . . which would itself be rather interesting.

So, no prize if the effect actually doesn't even exist?
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Rodal on 05/17/2015 09:48 pm
I agree with your prior posts, particularly about leverage.  Essentially this X-Prize would be priced like a "way out of the money" call option.

One can make more money, more consistently by selling options than by buying options  ;) (but of course one has to hedge against the risk of selling options).

Shawyer has Intellectual Property riding on this: patents.  Patents have decaying value with time due to their finite life.  If Shawyer's company would have achieved EM Drive self-levitation or any other major landmark like propulsion of a satellite, it would be to his best interest to proceed to commercialize his efforts as soon as possible, instead of keeping it under "wraps".  In essence his patents are options that he purchased (with his "sweat equity") some time ago, and whose value is exponentially decaying with time, becoming zero at patent expiration.  If one owns calls that have become valuable, the best course of action is to sell them to pocket the profits instead of letting time go by ticking towards expiration.

The clock is ticking on Shawyer's patents as their value exponentially decays with time.

Take for example a Biotech company: it is to their benefit to publicize the effectiveness of new drugs working on Phase II, or Phase III as soon as possible (within what's allowed by law of course).  The last thing a small Biotech company would do would be to keep a drug "under wraps" as the main value of the drug takes place during the lifetime of the patent, since after the patent expires the value of the drug decreases dramatically due to competition from generics.  So, in my view Shawyer's pronouncements (no demonstrated progress of his EM Drive during the past few years) are actually depressing to me.  (Depressing compared to the success shown by many small tech and Biotech companies in different fields, in similar timeframes.)

No prize if the challenge criteria are not hit.  If we do a good job designing the challenge criteria, then, by definition if the effect doesn't even exist, the challenge criteria will not be hit and there will be no prize awarded.

In essence, the prize at this level is all about potently demonstrating that the effect exists.  And no more than that.

I should note that we are in a very interesting position in that it is possible that non-public efforts exist that have demonstrated substantially more than is currently publicly available.  Shawyer strongly hints at that here: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/emdrive-warp-drive-are-two-different-things-nasas-still-working-emdrive-1501268

So it might turn out that what we consider to be a major innovation (demonstrating the effect) is, in fact, not interesting at all . . . which would itself be rather interesting.

So, no prize if the effect actually doesn't even exist?
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: txdrive on 05/18/2015 12:54 am
No prize if the challenge criteria are not hit.  If we do a good job designing the challenge criteria, then, by definition if the effect doesn't even exist, the challenge criteria will not be hit and there will be no prize awarded.

In essence, the prize at this level is all about potently demonstrating that the effect exists.  And no more than that.
It's not exactly science if there's no falsifications...
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: sghill on 05/18/2015 01:01 am
No prize if the challenge criteria are not hit.  If we do a good job designing the challenge criteria, then, by definition if the effect doesn't even exist, the challenge criteria will not be hit and there will be no prize awarded.

In essence, the prize at this level is all about potently demonstrating that the effect exists.  And no more than that.
You are not interested in science if there's no falsifications.

True, but you might be interested in engineering...

Hmm, you seem to have an implicit moral bias ("shady" "bookie").  In any event, this is a good point.  There is leverage available in the X Prize format.  For some $Y amount of money raised to "back" the prize, you can secure a prize of MY where M is related to the expected probability of the prize being claimed.  This could be used either to reduce the required magnitude of Y or to increase the end size of MY. 

Notably, the most important leverage exists where there is an information gradient between those who are seeking the prize and those who are "insuring" it.  To the point - when the time comes to get some entity to insure the prize, they will go out to "the experts" to evaluate the probability of the prize being claimed.  Presumably in the current context the experts will report back with a probability close to zero (i.e., this is all complete nonsense) which would result in a very high M value. 

If we believe that the probability is some number relatively larger than zero (say 2%) then - presuming that we actually have better information than "the experts" - this difference represents a major "information arbitrage" and an excellent way of making science more efficient and rational. 

No bias on my part.  You used "shady" not me.  I was being illustrative of how the process works and the fact that the kinds of insurance companies that issue these sorts of policies are not Met Life.

That being said, your post brings up another related point I left out of my previous post.  To those people who think that the pursuit of a working EMDrive is akin to paying someone to search for unicorns, simply don't contribute to getting the policy for the prize money and let the fools spend theirs.  The insurance company is definitely siding with you in pricing and issuing the prize purse policy.

For the people who think that the effect is real, and that making a working EMDrive is an engineering problem to be solved, you'll be the people who have to pay for the insurance policy.  If you are wrong, you're out some of your money.  If you're right, someone else gets rich, and the world changes.  With crowd-sourcing, the amount of money you loose individually could indeed be very small.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: txdrive on 05/18/2015 02:36 am
We have enough problem with non-impartial experimenters as it is...

I think a good engineering challenge - which goes in with the spirit of science, rather than against it - would be to build a set up which

Accommodates devices that fit in a box of [size] and weight up to [weight] (1 cubic foot and 25 pounds is good enough?)

Can reliably measure forces down to 1uN while supplying 1kW (for sufficient time to measure the force), 0.1 uN while supplying 100W, and so on down to 10W , as tested with a heater placed against all sides of the box (must give less than those specs).

Is not fooled by a desk fan, a gyroscope, a gyrocompass, a servo moving weights around, a vibration source (list of frequencies and amplitudes), an electromagnet up to [some reasonable figure you can shield with a reasonable amount of mu-metal] (inside the box). Preferably with magnetometers around to prevent any remote influences from the pockets or the lab on the floor below/above etc.

With regards to [advanced drive], the rig passes if:
The force measured with [advanced drive] is below 1/c = 3.33 uN/kW (the most likely condition)
The force measured with [advanced drive] matches where the thrust is supposed to go, down to 5% accuracy as [advanced drive] is rotated in 10 degrees increments. (the unlikely condition where the prize is redundant because you'll be getting a Nobel anyway)

edit: or if the drive fitting the size and weight specifications can't be obtained for testing.

I think you could exceed those specs with a few hundred dollars worth of parts from your local hardware and lumber store (plus mu-metal). You could use a battery for power and a double-walled box with ice and water in-between to prevent the heater from getting through. Vibration may be more of a challenge.

It's a good, reasonably difficult challenge involving proven physics and known technologies. It encourages the truth, not just the answer you want to see.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 05/18/2015 07:14 am
Somewhere in one of the EM Drive threads it was pointed out that the equipment being tested needs to be in a vacuum for 2 days to allow the outgassing to finish. The batteries in the equipment will soon be discharged. So to repeat the test the batteries need recharging. The test chamber will need a way to connect wires etc. without breaking the vacuum - possibly by some sort of manipulators operated from outside.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: txdrive on 05/18/2015 11:39 am
Somewhere in one of the EM Drive threads it was pointed out that the equipment being tested needs to be in a vacuum for 2 days to allow the outgassing to finish. The batteries in the equipment will soon be discharged. So to repeat the test the batteries need recharging. The test chamber will need a way to connect wires etc. without breaking the vacuum - possibly by some sort of manipulators operated from outside.
It doesn't need to be in a vacuum. It merely needs to be prevented from expelling air, which can be accomplished by simply enclosing it in a box. The one remaining issue is to keep it from heating sides of the box too much over the duration of the test. Forces 500 times smaller than what EW can't seem to consistently replicate in both orientations were measured to ~2% accuracy hundreds years ago, in air.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Prober on 05/18/2015 02:37 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.

an open source EM drive can work, and bring many to work on it.

Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Paul451 on 05/18/2015 02:50 pm
Specifically, I don't see where lawyers come into the discussion.

Any prize/contest has to be robust enough to stand up to a legal challenge from a disgruntled contestant or funder. The X-Prize Foundation runs the details of its challenges past its lawyers.

1) The effect has clearly not yet been proven real.  Specifically, the current level of "proof" is inadequate to have kicked off a "race" within the industry (at least so far as we know).  The vast majority of relevant outside observers (e.g., physicists) continue to dismiss it as not real.

And this is what I see as the problem.

In order to be practical, in order to be able to define the terms in full in advance, you have to set the standard of proof higher than that required to attract commercial development. Ie, by the time the device is developed to the point where it can meet the requirements of a prize-challenge (such as a cube-sat demonstration), it will have long been developed enough to demonstrate to skeptical aerospace companies. That's what I think is the Catch-22.

There's almost no development risk once the effect is proven to be real. It will revolutionise deep space travel even at sub-Newton thrusts. At more-than-one-Newton, it will revolutionise many types Earth transport. At greater than 1g, it will replace every other form of transport in existence. All of them. The only risk is getting to that very first level of proving the effect is real. After that, the "prize" already exists, multi-billion dollar markets. If your prize was going to stimulate teams, those teams would already be suitably stimulated by a much, much larger prize that already exists.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: tchernik on 05/18/2015 03:33 pm
Specifically, I don't see where lawyers come into the discussion.

Any prize/contest has to be robust enough to stand up to a legal challenge from a disgruntled contestant or funder. The X-Prize Foundation runs the details of its challenges past its lawyers.

1) The effect has clearly not yet been proven real.  Specifically, the current level of "proof" is inadequate to have kicked off a "race" within the industry (at least so far as we know).  The vast majority of relevant outside observers (e.g., physicists) continue to dismiss it as not real.

And this is what I see as the problem.

In order to be practical, in order to be able to define the terms in full in advance, you have to set the standard of proof higher than that required to attract commercial development. Ie, by the time the device is developed to the point where it can meet the requirements of a prize-challenge (such as a cube-sat demonstration), it will have long been developed enough to demonstrate to skeptical aerospace companies. That's what I think is the Catch-22.

There's almost no development risk once the effect is proven to be real. It will revolutionise deep space travel even at sub-Newton thrusts. At more-than-one-Newton, it will revolutionise many types Earth transport. At greater than 1g, it will replace every other form of transport in existence. All of them. The only risk is getting to that very first level of proving the effect is real. After that, the "prize" already exists, multi-billion dollar markets. If your prize was going to stimulate teams, those teams would already be suitably stimulated by a much, much larger prize that already exists.


I agree. The race here is towards conclusively proving the phenomenon's existence, and characterize its behavior in order to understand its capabilities. Once that happens, the  prize will be there for anyone to take.

And as you say: even small sub-Newton thrust in a vacuum is a revolution for space applications, just by removing the embedded expiry date coming with the amount of fuel your probe or ship can carry.

Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Rodal on 05/18/2015 04:01 pm
Specifically, I don't see where lawyers come into the discussion.

Any prize/contest has to be robust enough to stand up to a legal challenge from a disgruntled contestant or funder. The X-Prize Foundation runs the details of its challenges past its lawyers.

1) The effect has clearly not yet been proven real.  Specifically, the current level of "proof" is inadequate to have kicked off a "race" within the industry (at least so far as we know).  The vast majority of relevant outside observers (e.g., physicists) continue to dismiss it as not real.

And this is what I see as the problem.

In order to be practical, in order to be able to define the terms in full in advance, you have to set the standard of proof higher than that required to attract commercial development. Ie, by the time the device is developed to the point where it can meet the requirements of a prize-challenge (such as a cube-sat demonstration), it will have long been developed enough to demonstrate to skeptical aerospace companies. That's what I think is the Catch-22.

There's almost no development risk once the effect is proven to be real. It will revolutionise deep space travel even at sub-Newton thrusts. At more-than-one-Newton, it will revolutionise many types Earth transport. At greater than 1g, it will replace every other form of transport in existence. All of them. The only risk is getting to that very first level of proving the effect is real. After that, the "prize" already exists, multi-billion dollar markets. If your prize was going to stimulate teams, those teams would already be suitably stimulated by a much, much larger prize that already exists.


I agree. The race here is towards conclusively proving the phenomenon's existence, and characterize its behavior in order to understand its capabilities. Once that happens, the  prize will be there for anyone to take.

And as you say: even small sub-Newton thrust in a vacuum is a revolution for space applications, just by removing the embedded expiry date coming with the amount of fuel your probe or ship can carry.

Arguably, airplanes only took off after the Wright Flyer proved that stability and control of a heavier than air airplane was practically possible.  Lord Kelvin had stated this was impossible.

The challenge here is much greater, of course, not really possible to compare, because the EM Drive involves a huge problem with the universal principle of conservation of momentum.  Nonetheless, the EM Drive, IMHO, is not really going to take off for space propulsion until it is shown that it can propel a spacecraft/satellite in a specified controlled course in space, and if there is an X-Prize, the prize should so state IMHO. 

"Demonstrations" of measurements in a lab (*) on terra firma will be open to the sort of debate that has already plagued the EM Drive and fail to convince independent skeptical observers (just like, for example, "verifications" of cold fusion failed to convince skeptical observers).

________

(*) short of self-levitation on Earth, which is a much, much higher challenge than propelling a spacecraft/satellite in space.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Ludus on 05/18/2015 04:39 pm
Cubesat.

I'm not sure why people don't get it. This is the application promoted by the inventor. If the cubesat can be tracked by anyone it's a simple  transparent experiment. It can easily be designed so that no known physics would allow it to meet the challenge so there's no need to see the cubesat or impose any complicated conditions. The issue is deliberate fraud. Any lab experiment prize is just a challenge to build a better magic trick. Science and engineering culture is not well suited to deal with clever fraud. We have endless evidence of this with studies of paranormal events. The experts here are the James Randi Foundation and I think they'd be glad to work with Xprize.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Ludus on 05/18/2015 04:47 pm
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/

I missed that Chris already had this covered.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: txdrive on 05/18/2015 04:59 pm
Specifically, I don't see where lawyers come into the discussion.

Any prize/contest has to be robust enough to stand up to a legal challenge from a disgruntled contestant or funder. The X-Prize Foundation runs the details of its challenges past its lawyers.

1) The effect has clearly not yet been proven real.  Specifically, the current level of "proof" is inadequate to have kicked off a "race" within the industry (at least so far as we know).  The vast majority of relevant outside observers (e.g., physicists) continue to dismiss it as not real.

And this is what I see as the problem.

In order to be practical, in order to be able to define the terms in full in advance, you have to set the standard of proof higher than that required to attract commercial development. Ie, by the time the device is developed to the point where it can meet the requirements of a prize-challenge (such as a cube-sat demonstration), it will have long been developed enough to demonstrate to skeptical aerospace companies. That's what I think is the Catch-22.

There's almost no development risk once the effect is proven to be real. It will revolutionise deep space travel even at sub-Newton thrusts. At more-than-one-Newton, it will revolutionise many types Earth transport. At greater than 1g, it will replace every other form of transport in existence. All of them. The only risk is getting to that very first level of proving the effect is real. After that, the "prize" already exists, multi-billion dollar markets. If your prize was going to stimulate teams, those teams would already be suitably stimulated by a much, much larger prize that already exists.


I agree. The race here is towards conclusively proving the phenomenon's existence, and characterize its behavior in order to understand its capabilities. Once that happens, the  prize will be there for anyone to take.

And as you say: even small sub-Newton thrust in a vacuum is a revolution for space applications, just by removing the embedded expiry date coming with the amount of fuel your probe or ship can carry.

Arguably, airplanes only took off after the Wright Flyer proved that stability and control of a heavier than air airplane was practically possible.  Lord Kelvin had stated this was impossible.

The challenge here is much greater, of course, not really possible to compare, because the EM Drive involves a huge problem with the universal principle of conservation of momentum.  Nonetheless, the EM Drive, IMHO, is not really going to take off for space propulsion until it is shown that it can propel a spacecraft/satellite in a specified controlled course in space, and if there is an X-Prize, the prize should so state IMHO. 

"Demonstrations" of measurements in a lab (*) on terra firma will be open to the sort of debate that has already plagued the EM Drive and fail to convince independent skeptical observers (just like, for example, "verifications" of cold fusion failed to convince skeptical observers).
You have to keep in mind that something which measures massively different forces (From memory, off by something like 70%, wasn't it) when the device is turned around 180 degrees, is intrinsically highly unconvincing. When the effect does not exist, any experimental data to the contrary is similarly unconvincing - close to the error floor of the experimental set up (arises from a slight over-estimation of the accuracy) and thus inconsistent.

The world is a very unskeptical place. Shawyer got 45 000 uk pounds grant from the government to experimentally study a miscalculation.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: jordan.greenhall on 05/18/2015 06:07 pm
Thanks for engaging! 

The objective of this X Prize is to potently demonstrate that the effect proposed by Shawyer and being studied by Eagleworks is real.  If you've looked at this thread, then you will know that I've proposed that there is some sustained and repeatable thrust > X where all existing explanations drop away and we are left with a concrete (repeatable) demonstration of a "real anomaly".  Note that this does not necessarily require demonstration that the effect is *useful* (i.e., in a satellite application).  The demonstration of the existence of the effect beyond some level of doubt is more than enough to justify the X Prize.  It will move the effect from "nonsense" into "very interesting" and, consequently, kick off a much larger mainstream research and development effort.

Now when we compare my proposed approach to your proposed approach we have two major variables:

1.  The cost and complexity necessary to achieve the challenge;
2.  The degree to which demonstration once/if achieved is compelling evidence that the "effect is real"

To compare the "terrestrial" vs. the "cubesat" approach, we'd need to compare the relative cost and complexity necessary to achieve a compelling demonstration.

Obviously for small X (i.e., small thrust) the cost and complexity is relatively small *but* the demonstration isn't adequately compelling.  Equally, as X increases, cost and complexity increases - and so does the quality of the demonstration (although likely in step functions rather than smoothly).

You propose that a cubesat approach


can easily be designed so that no known physics would allow it to meet the challenge so there's no need to see the cubesat or impose any complicated conditions.
[/quote]

Can you articulate these design constraints?  Adding the complexity of making the drive operable remotely in the vacuum of space, able to endure the rigors of launch and, of course, of actually launching it in an operational cubesat of some sort seems to me "more" rather than "less" complicated.   But, I know next to nothing about this approach and would love to learn how it is the straightest path.



Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: sghill on 05/18/2015 06:24 pm
Note that this does not necessarily require demonstration that the effect is *useful* (i.e., in a satellite application). 

"Useful" is an important word here.  I think a contest-entry thruster with a thrust to weight ratio greater than 1 would definitely take the prize money for application development.  Float the darn thing into the room and claim your check.  Operation of the thruster would be turned over to an independent review authority for auditing just like any sort of big money contest.

I maintain as well that a separate prize for a peer-reviewed explanation of why the thruster works is also necessary.

The two are separate tracks.

Now when we compare my proposed approach to your proposed approach we have two major variables:

1.  The cost and complexity necessary to achieve the challenge;
2.  The degree to which demonstration once/if achieved is compelling evidence that the "effect is real"

1. Irrelevant.  The teams will make their own risk/reward calculation.  Paul Allen spent US $20 million on SpaceShipOne to win US$10 million, but I bet the possibility of a check helped his willingness to participate.
2. See my point above.  A thrust to weight ratio greater than 1 is an extremely simple metric to get one's mind around (helpful for good press), and it requires all sorts of other ticky-tacky details to get solved to achieve it- just like the 100km ceiling for the X-prize was arbitrary (they could have chosen a harder 100 miles) but certainly definitive and easy to conceptualize.  To your point though, a thruster with that kind of performance is also immediately applicable to any sort of transportation regime.  As others on this thread have vocally pointed out, a working thruster that can work like that will make untold fortunes for someone.  I'm just drawing the line in the sand for a performance level required to win the applications prize.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: tchernik on 05/18/2015 06:38 pm
Specifically, I don't see where lawyers come into the discussion.

Any prize/contest has to be robust enough to stand up to a legal challenge from a disgruntled contestant or funder. The X-Prize Foundation runs the details of its challenges past its lawyers.

1) The effect has clearly not yet been proven real.  Specifically, the current level of "proof" is inadequate to have kicked off a "race" within the industry (at least so far as we know).  The vast majority of relevant outside observers (e.g., physicists) continue to dismiss it as not real.

And this is what I see as the problem.

In order to be practical, in order to be able to define the terms in full in advance, you have to set the standard of proof higher than that required to attract commercial development. Ie, by the time the device is developed to the point where it can meet the requirements of a prize-challenge (such as a cube-sat demonstration), it will have long been developed enough to demonstrate to skeptical aerospace companies. That's what I think is the Catch-22.

There's almost no development risk once the effect is proven to be real. It will revolutionise deep space travel even at sub-Newton thrusts. At more-than-one-Newton, it will revolutionise many types Earth transport. At greater than 1g, it will replace every other form of transport in existence. All of them. The only risk is getting to that very first level of proving the effect is real. After that, the "prize" already exists, multi-billion dollar markets. If your prize was going to stimulate teams, those teams would already be suitably stimulated by a much, much larger prize that already exists.


I agree. The race here is towards conclusively proving the phenomenon's existence, and characterize its behavior in order to understand its capabilities. Once that happens, the  prize will be there for anyone to take.

And as you say: even small sub-Newton thrust in a vacuum is a revolution for space applications, just by removing the embedded expiry date coming with the amount of fuel your probe or ship can carry.

Arguably, airplanes only took off after the Wright Flyer proved that stability and control of a heavier than air airplane was practically possible.  Lord Kelvin had stated this was impossible.

The challenge here is much greater, of course, not really possible to compare, because the EM Drive involves a huge problem with the universal principle of conservation of momentum.  Nonetheless, the EM Drive, IMHO, is not really going to take off for space propulsion until it is shown that it can propel a spacecraft/satellite in a specified controlled course in space, and if there is an X-Prize, the prize should so state IMHO. 

"Demonstrations" of measurements in a lab (*) on terra firma will be open to the sort of debate that has already plagued the EM Drive and fail to convince independent skeptical observers (just like, for example, "verifications" of cold fusion failed to convince skeptical observers).

________

(*) short of self-levitation on Earth, which is a much, much higher challenge than propelling a spacecraft/satellite in space.

Agree. A successful test in space would be the culmination of a series of tests and replications, for any family of Emdrive thrusters giving thrust in the milli Newton range per Kilowatt (which is the current apparent situation).

If they can get Newtons per Kilowatt or more, though, they could run demonstrators here on Earth, making a chariot or a small airplane move with Emdrives instead of propellers (depending on the thrust per kg ratio they can get).

A flying demonstrator would be crushing evidence, of course. But as things look now I think we will be certain it works (or not), way before thinking about reaching such levels of thrust.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Hanelyp on 05/18/2015 07:10 pm
A satellite using the device is clearly the ultimate test, but expensive.  One approach to dealing with that is splitting the prize into 2 phases.  Phase one on the ground with the prize being orbital testing to attempt for phase 2.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: jordan.greenhall on 05/18/2015 11:26 pm
Seems we are reasonably aligned.  For my part, I like the idea of multiple X Prizes - but that is easy to make path dependent.  *If* test 1 is passed then there are lots of additional actions that follow.   If not, then . . . not :)

The only place where I disagree is in the "irrelevance" of the cost and complexity necessary to achieve the challenge.  The formula here is some relationship between:

D = depth of pockets motivated by greed, ego or passion to fund the effort
C = cost and complexity of the challenge
M = magnitude of the prize
P = probability of claiming the prize

SpaceShip One had lots of D and while C was high, so was P.  Moreover, the challenge was structured such that the *winner* got to keep all of the IP.  Since Branson paid a cool $120M for the winning IP, a $20m investment on a $10m prize was actually a highly profitable venture. 

The disposition of the IP here is almost as important as the challenge criteria.  On one hand, we'd love to see any IP created in the competition live in the public domain.  On the other hand, there is already substantial IP in the space and clearly any novel IP developed during the competition could be quite valuable - lending more incentive to the effort.

What does the community think about IP?


Now when we compare my proposed approach to your proposed approach we have two major variables:

1.  The cost and complexity necessary to achieve the challenge;
2.  The degree to which demonstration once/if achieved is compelling evidence that the "effect is real"

1. Irrelevant.  The teams will make their own risk/reward calculation.  Paul Allen spent US $20 million on SpaceShipOne to win US$10 million, but I bet the possibility of a check helped his willingness to participate.
2. See my point above.  A thrust to weight ratio greater than 1 is an extremely simple metric to get one's mind around (helpful for good press), and it requires all sorts of other ticky-tacky details to get solved to achieve it- just like the 100km ceiling for the X-prize was arbitrary (they could have chosen a harder 100 miles) but certainly definitive and easy to conceptualize.  To your point though, a thruster with that kind of performance is also immediately applicable to any sort of transportation regime.  As others on this thread have vocally pointed out, a working thruster that can work like that will make untold fortunes for someone.  I'm just drawing the line in the sand for a performance level required to win the applications prize.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: jordan.greenhall on 05/18/2015 11:31 pm
For fun, I'd be interested in getting the communities estimation of the relative degree of difficulty vs. degree of evidence associated with various challenge criteria.

What do you think the all-in probability of success is for a challenge to hit:

* 1 Newton of thrust
* 1 Newton of thrust with a 1N/kw power ratio
* 10 Newtons of thrust
* 1000 Micronewtons of thrust in LEO via cubesat

(Obviously your estimation will have to include some estimation for the effect not being real at all).

Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Rodal on 05/19/2015 12:09 am
As background to the EM Drive IP question:

These are all the Shawyer patent documents I know of, that have been posted in the EM Drive thread.  All of them are UK patents.

For the publication numbers attached below:

GB2493361 High q microwave radiation thruster
Filed 6Feb11 - Awaiting first examination

GB2399601 High thrust microwave engine
Filed 13Mar03 - Granted 31Jan06 - last renewed 6Mar15

GB2334761 Microwave thruster for spacecraft
Filed 29Ap88 - Granted 21Mar00 - last renewed 1Apr15

GB2229865 Electrical propulsion unit for spacecraft
Filed 1Nov88 - Granted 5May93 - now ceased (not in force from 1Nov97)

Prof. James Woodward has a patent conferred for his device (which is different than the EM Drive but should also meet the X-Prize conditions since it is a propellant-less thruster), but notice that its priority date is 1999 and that it's fee status is lapsed: 
https://www.google.com/patents/US6347766?dq=James+Woodward+propulsion&hl=en&sa=X&ei=aYBaVc39L7HLsAS-nICoBA&ved=0CDIQ6AEwAw

Under justia, this is all that shows up for Shawyer (not an EM Drive patent):

http://patents.justia.com/inventor/roger-j-shawyer

Same under Google patents

and I couldn't find Shawyer's EM Drive patents under USPTO search under inventor either

A search for Guido Fetta shows the following IP:

https://www.google.com/?tbm=pts&gws_rd=ssl#tbm=pts&q=Guido+Fetta

A search for James Woodward shows the following IP

https://www.google.com/?tbm=pts&gws_rd=ssl#tbm=pts&q=James+Woodward+propulsion

...

SpaceShip One had lots of D and while C was high, so was P.  Moreover, the challenge was structured such that the *winner* got to keep all of the IP.  Since Branson paid a cool $120M for the winning IP, a $20m investment on a $10m prize was actually a highly profitable venture. 

The disposition of the IP here is almost as important as the challenge criteria.  On one hand, we'd love to see any IP created in the competition live in the public domain.  On the other hand, there is already substantial IP in the space and clearly any novel IP developed during the competition could be quite valuable - lending more incentive to the effort.

What does the community think about IP?

....
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: jordan.greenhall on 05/19/2015 01:52 am
Thanks Dr. Rodal.  Under the assumption that this is the extent of related existing IP, that is *good news*. 

Note to all - what do we think should be the IP angle taken by the X Prize? 

> All created IP is donated to the public domain
> All created IP remains the private property of each competitor
> All created IP is assigned to a pool to be shared among all competitors
> All created IP is assigned to Mulletron!
> Etc. (there is no proscribed boundary - what is the right approach?)


As background to the EM Drive IP question:

These are all the Shawyer patent documents I know of, that have been posted in the EM Drive thread.  All of them are UK patents.

For the publication numbers attached below:

GB2493361 High q microwave radiation thruster
Filed 6Feb11 - Awaiting first examination

GB2399601 High thrust microwave engine
Filed 13Mar03 - Granted 31Jan06 - last renewed 6Mar15

GB2334761 Microwave thruster for spacecraft
Filed 29Ap88 - Granted 21Mar00 - last renewed 1Apr15

GB2229865 Electrical propulsion unit for spacecraft
Filed 1Nov88 - Granted 5May93 - now ceased (not in force from 1Nov97)

Prof. James Woodward has a patent conferred for his device (which is different than the EM Drive but should also meet the X-Prize conditions since it is a propellant-less thruster), but notice that its priority date is 1999 and that it's fee status is lapsed: 
https://www.google.com/patents/US6347766?dq=James+Woodward+propulsion&hl=en&sa=X&ei=aYBaVc39L7HLsAS-nICoBA&ved=0CDIQ6AEwAw

Under justia, this is all that shows up for Shawyer (not an EM Drive patent):

http://patents.justia.com/inventor/roger-j-shawyer

Same under Google patents

and I couldn't find Shawyer's EM Drive patents under USPTO search under inventor either

A search for Guido Fetta shows the following IP:

https://www.google.com/?tbm=pts&gws_rd=ssl#tbm=pts&q=Guido+Fetta

A search for James Woodward shows the following IP

https://www.google.com/?tbm=pts&gws_rd=ssl#tbm=pts&q=James+Woodward+propulsion

...

SpaceShip One had lots of D and while C was high, so was P.  Moreover, the challenge was structured such that the *winner* got to keep all of the IP.  Since Branson paid a cool $120M for the winning IP, a $20m investment on a $10m prize was actually a highly profitable venture. 

The disposition of the IP here is almost as important as the challenge criteria.  On one hand, we'd love to see any IP created in the competition live in the public domain.  On the other hand, there is already substantial IP in the space and clearly any novel IP developed during the competition could be quite valuable - lending more incentive to the effort.

What does the community think about IP?

....
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Rodal on 05/19/2015 03:29 am
Thanks Dr. Rodal.  Under the assumption that this is the extent of related existing IP, that is *good news*. 

Note to all - what do we think should be the IP angle taken by the X Prize? 

> All created IP is donated to the public domain
> All created IP remains the private property of each competitor
> All created IP is assigned to a pool to be shared among all competitors
....

The realistic part of me votes for <<All created Intellectual Property remains the private property of each competitor inventor>> because my understanding is that the X-Prize money will only be awarded after the winner has already used real $$$ and sweat equity to enable her to win the X-Prize.  If there are any new inventions needed to win the X-Prize, these inventions maybe invented by persons having nothing to do with the X-Prize competition.

Hence, although the idealistic part of me would like the EM Drive IP to be public property, the Intellectual Property should belong to the inventor(s) and those that invested their money and time in the invention and development.  Having said that, it would be nice if the winners donate their IP to the world, or make their patents free to share (for example the Tesla Elon Musk model: http://www.teslamotors.com/blog/all-our-patent-are-belong-you ).

If the winner of the X-Prize is precluded from owning the IP, that may prevent people from obtaining private venture funding to enable them to win the X-Prize, particularly if the X-Prize involves a high-cost challenge like demonstrating propulsion of an EM-Drive-powered spacecraft/satellite in controlled course, which is what I personally favor should be the X-Prize challenge.

...
> All created IP is assigned to Mulletron!
> Etc. (there is no proscribed boundary - what is the right approach?)
....
???    ::)

1) I don't understand why we should consider assigning all the Intellectual Property rights to any particular individual on a priori basis before knowing who won the X-Prize. (*)

or without knowing

2) Whether new inventions will be needed to win the X-Prize and if so, who will invent those inventions.  The X-Prize deals more with a proof-of-concept.  It is not clear whether new inventions will be needed for the proof-of-concept, and who will be responsible for those inventions (they may be invented by people having nothing to do with the X-Prize competition).

____________________________________
(*) EDIT:  Unless somebody received a tachyonic communication from the future that this individual has won the X-Prize. In that case, such tachyonic telephone communication would indeed lend credence to the consideration that the EM Drive emits tachyons   ;)  (see
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=37563.msg1374816#msg1374816  and
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=37563.msg1374817#msg1374817 )
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 05/19/2015 05:17 am
There's almost no development risk once the effect is proven to be real.

With sincere respects to you and your opinion, that's simply not correct.  I can prove why in two words: "Virgin Galactic"

He's not saying there's never any development risk with any proven effect at all.  He's saying that for the EM Drive in particular the consequences of it being real are so far-reaching that there's almost no development risk if the effect is proven.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Paul451 on 05/19/2015 06:29 am
Arguably, airplanes only took off after the Wright Flyer proved that stability and control of a heavier than air airplane was practically possible.

Pedantically (and off-topic), while the Wright Bros probably had the first flight, they didn't have the first proven flight. Indeed, they weren't widely believed until they took their aircraft to Europe. And their designs played only a small role in aviation, it was largely a dead-end, the industry had already gone in a different direction before their first European flight.

I'm not sure why people don't get it. This is the application promoted by the inventor. If the cubesat can be tracked by anyone it's a simple  transparent experiment.

A cubesat experiment producing enough thrust to be definitively detected from the ground, in a way that rules out alternative explanations (magnetic, atmospheric drag, solar heating, etc) would be large enough to be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt in a lab on Earth.

[I would suggest three parts. Two with EMDrives, one serving as the control and comms relay. Once released into orbit, the three parts separate and the control-unit measures the rate of drift of the other two. Then you fire the EMDrive on one of the two test units, measure the acceleration, turn it off (perhaps even reverse the thrust), then repeat with the other unit. The demonstrated control would eliminate most alternative explanations, and being measured by the co-orbiting control unit drastically reduces the amount of thrust needed to be detectable.]

We have endless evidence of this with studies of paranormal events. The experts here are the James Randi Foundation and I think they'd be glad to work with Xprize.

It is more like Randi's Million Dollar Paranormal Prize than an X-Prize or previous aviation or transport prize. But you need to remember, the rules of paranormal prizes are not the same as "scientific proof". They don't accept a "95% confidence", they require 99.9999% confidence. Ie, that there's only 1 in a million likelihood of getting the same result by chance.

Again, to meet that level of proof, the EMDrive would have already been demonstrated beyond any reasonable scientific doubt and have already "claimed" the "prize" of aerospace development.

X-Prizes exist for known technology with unknown markets, to try to get them over the hump of demonstrating a commercially viable prototype. EMDrive just needs to exist, the market is already obvious.

There's almost no development risk once the effect is proven to be real.
With sincere respects to you and your opinion, that's simply not correct.  I can prove why in two words: "Virgin Galactic"

Scaled Composites wasn't demonstrating any novel physics. We'd long flown humans past 100km, no-one was skeptical about whether hybrid-solid motors were real, and so on. The issue was (and remains) whether there's a market for manned suborbital flight, and whether a suborbital hopper can be developed cheap enough to catch that market. That is very similar to older, traditional aviation/transport prizes and contests.

The EMDrive is different. If the effect exist, it will be revolutionary and leapt on by the whole industry. All the risk is in the lab demonstration, none in development after its accepted by the bulk of the scientific community.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Rodal on 05/22/2015 09:36 pm
I have been arguing (  http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=37563.msg1374800#msg1374800 ) that, if there is going to be an X-Prize for "propellant-less propulsion without the need of external force fields", it should involve a controlled demonstration in space.  To show that such a demonstration is within the realm of what is presently possible to attempt, without an X-Prize or with an X-Prize, people are already working on it and giving interviews on their plans. 

Interview with the team leader.

http://n-o-d-e.net/post/119343131451/building-a-diy-emdrive

Project:

https://hackaday.io/project/5596-em-drive



They're doing a Shawyer/Chinese replication attempt @2.4 GHz, and also building a 25 GHz EM Drive with the aim of popping it into a PocketQub and sending it into space (one of them has already sent into space a different project).



Hat-tip to Star One for finding the interview and to DeltaMass for the synopsis.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Hanelyp on 05/23/2015 04:36 am
Rodal, that is one dodgy looking force balance setup, perfectly oriented to get a force reading from convection.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Prunesquallor on 06/04/2015 01:53 pm
I'm not a big fan of jumping straight to a flight demonstration.  But if that's what the Foundation wants to do, I think is only makes sense in the context of a staged prize.

Stage 1: Ground demonstration of "propellantless drive" to specified levels of performance and confidence
Stage 2: Space demonstration to specified level of performance

No one would attempt Stage 2 without having accomplished Stage 1 anyway.  Stage 1 alone should be worth some bucks and probably a Nobel Prize.  Given the (at this point) pretty much unknown results of Stage 1, Stage 2 "specified level of performance" may not be practical within "affordable" resources (e.g., spacecraft mass, power requirements).
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Prunesquallor on 06/04/2015 02:18 pm
For fun, I'd be interested in getting the communities estimation of the relative degree of difficulty vs. degree of evidence associated with various challenge criteria.

What do you think the all-in probability of success is for a challenge to hit:

* 1 Newton of thrust
* 1 Newton of thrust with a 1N/kw power ratio
* 10 Newtons of thrust
* 1000 Micronewtons of thrust in LEO via cubesat

(Obviously your estimation will have to include some estimation for the effect not being real at all).

These are arbitrary numbers, and without context of the implications, I don't see any discriminator.  The link Mulletron provided on the first page of this thread showed some analysis that indicated a performance level of 0.4N/kW was sort of the point where human interplanetary exploration went "revolutionary".  That includes a LOT of assumptions on the operational behavior (and mass) of the thruster, but it's the only SYSTEMS level assessment I've seen.

The total thrust level probably isn't that important as you could presumably "gang" thrusters to get whatever level you want (assuming a N/kW limit).  The criteria should be a performance level that lets you do amazing things without OTHER miracles occurring (a la VASIMR).  Hence a thrust/power.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: CitizenSpace on 12/22/2015 11:34 am
I think the criteria should be pretty straight forward - I don't see why 5 pages of discussion has resulted in no progress on the subject.

If you really want an EM Drive to be proved, I think you have two options:
1) Produce 1.5N of force from less then 5kWh.
2) Make a positive-TWR thruster
These two could probably be connected. I don't see what all the fuss is about. If you're producing 150 grams of force from less then 5kWh, I think it's safe to say that you've proven the EM Drive has merit. Putting a CubeSat with the system in it shouldn't be required.

I personally really hope that the EM Drive works out. However, based off the fact that it should only take $10,000 or so to produce a serious one that could pass the aforementioned goals (based off what I've heard), and that in doing so we would revolutionise all forms of transportation, I find it increasingly hard to hold onto hope when no one has done so.

Seriously. $10,000 is not a lot of money for what it could mean for humanity.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: spupeng7 on 02/19/2016 12:03 am
The real prize is flight, so lets incentivize the real prize - Levitation.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Ludus on 03/29/2016 02:40 pm
No lab based performance standard is sufficient for this kind of claim, especially when a test of the immediate application is so simple and transparent.

Any lab based performance standard will just be seen as another opportunity for magic tricks. The issue here is deliberate fraud not detecting subtle phenomena. Researchers are notoriously just as bad as the general public at understanding tricks.

Small satellites aren't a difficult standard for something like this. They just eliminate the possibility of fraud. They're the real application for this so it's not a stunt.

X amount of force or even levitation on a lab bench are no different from The Floating Lady. Build a small satellite with PV panels and maneuver it more than known technology can achieve and you deserve a Nobel prize and billions in research grants. When a miracle is so easy to demonstrate by methods that aren't subject to fraud it's suspicious in itself that anyone wants more muddled alternatives.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: tchernik on 03/29/2016 05:23 pm
Serious scientific replication and validation is all that's needed right now.

Once the validity is thoroughly established, then we can do fairs and shows showing the strongest Emdrive in the world.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Paul451 on 03/30/2016 05:34 am
I think the criteria should be pretty straight forward - I don't see why 5 pages of discussion has resulted in no progress on the subject.

Because if you can build a device that meets any criteria capable of excluding fraud (or even systematic error), then you've already made more money that a puny $10k. Hell, the Nobel Prize in Physics comes with kr8 million (about $1m).
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: xanatos on 08/25/2016 11:53 pm
Google X-prize threshold suggestion:  Drive must be capable of levitating the mass of its own weight plus it's power supply.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: JohnFornaro on 08/26/2016 12:41 pm
Given that we're discussing an effect that would overturn a great deal of established physics if substantiated, demonstration of effect at some margin beyond noise floor would be an appropriate criteria....

This is the only criteria that is needed.

As an aside, the IP would belong to the party which developed the technology.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: JohnFornaro on 08/26/2016 12:53 pm
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.

I think I agree with this.

If the math works and were to be released, then within a week, "everybody" would build one of these things.  The prize money would not be interesting to the party that had the math and a possible blueprint for building the device.

In the other thread (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=40959.0), as an aside, the focus is more on building a device before having the math.

Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: JohnFornaro on 08/26/2016 03:05 pm

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.

I think I agree with this.

If the math works and were to be released, then within a week, "everybody" would build one of these things.  The prize money would not be interesting to the party that had the math and a possible blueprint for building the device.

In the other thread (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=40959.0), as an aside, the focus is more on building a device before having the math.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Elrond Cupboard on 08/29/2016 06:13 pm
The real prize is flight, so lets incentivize the real prize - Levitation.
The effect may be real, but never capable of better than uN forces. If it's better than 30MWN^-1 it might still be useful.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Asteroza on 09/01/2016 03:03 am
There's a new science crowdfunding platform out now, so why wait for the X-Prize foundation?

https://www.fiatphysica.com/ (https://www.fiatphysica.com/)

For a crowdfunded effort though, I think the the fundamental requirements would be a 3U cubesat demo and open source everything.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Mulletron on 12/23/2016 12:05 pm
Latest news suggests we may be in the beginnings of a new space race. Looks like a good time to reevaluate the need for this X Prize planning. We certainly know that EMDrive works now. Let's see what she can really do.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 12/24/2016 07:30 pm
We certainly know that EMDrive works now.

That implies that it's a generally accepted fact.  That is not true at all.

There's a small core of believers who believe the evidence is sufficient to establish beyond a doubt that it works.  Most people believe that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and that the reasonable bar for the extraordinary claim of the EM Drive working has not been reached.
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: Peter Lauwer on 12/24/2016 09:11 pm
We certainly know that EMDrive works now.

That implies that it's a generally accepted fact.  That is not true at all.

There's a small core of believers who believe the evidence is sufficient to establish beyond a doubt that it works.  Most people believe that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and that the reasonable bar for the extraordinary claim of the EM Drive working has not been reached.

So very true. Amidst all this enthusiasm, sometimes even hysteria, about the EM Drive and its use by the Chinese and how far they might be ahead, we still have to consider that most of it should be classified as 'unconfirmed rumours'.
There is only one decent scientific article in which the existence of an anomalous force is confirmed (White et al, 2016), one undecided, there might be an anomalous force (Tajmar and Fiedler, 2015) the rest is rather vague, not well described, might be misinterpretations, wishful thinking or misleading business information.

The coming year will bring more clarity in this matter, I expect.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas!
Peter
Title: Re: EM Drive X-Prize Planning
Post by: sanman on 12/27/2016 07:40 pm
We certainly know that EMDrive works now.

That implies that it's a generally accepted fact.  That is not true at all.

There's a small core of believers who believe the evidence is sufficient to establish beyond a doubt that it works.  Most people believe that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and that the reasonable bar for the extraordinary claim of the EM Drive working has not been reached.

Some people seem to be treating the fact that the Chinese Space Agency is carrying out testing of the EMdrive in space as proof that the EMdrive actually works. Shouldn't the device be investigated by major US national laboratories first - like in the case of the Hafnium Controversy - in order to give a more definitive proof/disproof of the phenomenon? It would seem to me that controlled laboratory conditions would be better than just firing it up in outer space, so that you can characterize the effect as precisely as possible, and not accidentally rediscover the photon rocket.