Hey, people are talking about picosats these days, never mind just nanosats or cubesats. So does the efficiency of this mechanism improve as the package size scales up, or as package size scales down?
Are we still discussing propellentless propulsion? Prove the effect exists and you will get a thousand times more funding, it will break open a whole new area of physics with unforeseeable consequences. It doesnt matter if you move a centimeter or to the moon, you just have to make it clear you haven't just accidentally reinvented the ion drive.
At any rate, it sounds like the JSC group is focusing on attitude-control systems, which is much more immediately practical. If they could get even a basic Q-Thruster ACS working, it would be commercial useful enough to self-support future development.
Which is precisely why Woodward & White's work is so interesting: they are attempting to experimentally test their crazy theory with a well-documented, reproducible experiment.IIRC, the thought for a flight test is to prove that the (very small) effect they claim to observe on the ground is really propulsion, and not simply due to the experimental setup.
But if it doesn't require significant investment to do this kind of low-level research, then why worry about it biting you back? I can see people worried about getting in hot water for spending vast sums on something that fizzles out, but not on spending weak sums. It doesn't sound like testing this theory automatically entails some kind of massive expenditure.As I recall, after some guy claimed to have used Hafnium isotope from an X-ray machine to create a quantum nucleonic battery, it was Los Alamos National Labs which spent money on an experiment to debunk the claim, calling it an opportunity to validate existing known laws of physics. People spend money all the time on testing and revalidating laws of physics. So even money spent on a disproof of Mach-Woodward could be seen as useful science. Just like Mythbusters.
Of course, you're not limited by chemical energy densities - power it from a solar cell and you can keep going for ever. However, with SEP having such high Isp it will compete quite well for Dawn-like solar powered missions.
Well, you may not always be able to gather propellant mass along the journey if you run out, but you'll probably still be able to gather light energy.
I don't even know what this grandly named WarpStar1 is...
It doesn't sound like testing this theory automatically entails some kind of massive expenditure.
http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/AW_11_05_2012_p84-495380.xmlAvLeak, so take with a large grain of halite...
This also of course promises free energy. Increase velocity with this device proportionally to input energy, extract energy using standard physics proportional to velocity squared. That solves our energy problems.