Blow for NASA's 'impossible' EM Drive
... as study finds thrust seen in previous tests were caused by Earth's magnetic fields
- Physicists in Germany have investigated the EmDrive and MachEffect Thruster
- These are the two leading candidates in race to develop the 'impossible engine'
- This type of engine could theoretically generate thrust without a propellant
- Controversial experiments have claimed to generate thrust with the technology
- New experiments however found Earth's magnetic fields may have interfered
It’s no wonder the EmDrive has come to be known as the ‘impossible engine’ – such a device would be able to generate thrust without using a propellant, giving it potential to revolutionize space travel.
But, as it seems to defy the laws of physics, scientists haven’t quite managed to bring the concept to fruition.
While some researchers have claimed to make headway in the last few years, including a team from NASA and another from China, the experiments have been plagued by inconsistencies and results that can’t be explained.
Now, physicists from Germany have put the concept to the test as well, and their findings suggest the real explanation for the phenomena observed in prior studies may be far more mundane than expected.
According to the new paper, interactions with Earth’s magnetic field may be responsible for the thrust observed in the controversial experiments.
In the study, presented this week at the Aeronautics and Astronautics Association of France’s Space Propulsion, researchers from Technische Universität Dresden discuss their ‘SpaceDrive Project,’ which aims to explore both the EmDrive and the Mach-Effect Thruster.
These are the two most prominent candidates in the race to develop the impossible engine.
‘The first concept uses microwaves in a truncated cone-shaped cavity that is claimed to produce thrust,’ the authors explain in the paper.
‘Although it is not clear on which theoretical basis this can work, several experimental tests have been reported in the literature, which warrants a closer examination.
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