Did NASA Validate an “Impossible” Space Drive? In a Word, No.

By Corey S. Powell | August 6, 2014 3:27 am

UPDATE 5/11/15: The story of “NASA’s impossible space engine” has roared back to life, prompted by an updated report on NasaSpaceflight.com. But the sad truth is that not much has really changed since my original investigation. The space engine still violates known laws of physics. The evidence that it works is still marginal, based on the limited information that the NASA Eagleworks team has reported. Those findings have not been submitted to peer review, so there is no way to evaluate them independently. And NasaSpaceflight.com is not in any way a NASA outlet. The official NASA statement: “This is a small effort that has not yet shown any tangible results.”

Being skeptical about a delicious story like this isn’t much fun, but it is essential if we are going to make real progress in space exploration. Marc Millis, who for years directed the Breakthrough Propulsion Physics program at NASA’s Glenn Research Center, calls things like the EmDrive “idea zombies,” because they keep returning even when objective evaluations do not back up their claims. Meanwhile there are other, much more promising experimental spaceflight technologies (such as laser lightsails and electromagnetic rockets) that deserve a lot more support than they are getting.

I truly believe that humans will eventually get to the stars–but it will require being smart and, yes, skeptical about where we place our hopes.

——– original story 8/6/14 ———-

Physicist John Baez has another, more colorful word to describe the spate of recent reports about a breakthrough space engine that produces thrust without any propellant. The word starts with “bull–.” I won’t finish it, this being a family-friendly web site and all. Baez himself has softened his tone and now calls it “baloney,” though his sentiment remains the same: The laws of physics remain intact, and the “impossible” space drive is, as far as anyone can tell, actually impossible.

Yes, that would be cool, but we still have no idea how to do it. (Credit: Paramount Pictures)

Yes, that would be awesome, but we still have no idea how to do it. (Credit: Paramount Pictures)

The story begins several years back with a British inventor named Roger Shawyer and his EmDrive, a prototype rocket engine which he claimed generated thrust by bouncing microwaves around in an enclosed metal funnel. Since no mass or energy emerged from the engine, Shawyer’s claim was another way of saying that he’d found a way to violate the conservation of momentum. In Baez’s words, “this is about as plausible as powering a spaceship by having the crew push on it from the inside.” Shawyer argued that he was exploiting a loophole within general relativity. Baez calls his explanation “mumbo jumbo.”

Everything in science is open to questioning, of course, but nobody is going to throw out all the textbooks on the say-so of a single inventor trying to raise money for his company, SPR Ltd. Conservation of momentum is one of the most fundamental and thoroughly confirmed principles in physics. The EmDrive therefore got little notice outside of the “weird science” web sites. Last year, a Chinese group reported success with a similar device, prompting another blip of fringe coverage but little more.

Then Guido Fetta (a self-described “sales and marketing executive with more than 20 years of experience in the chemical, pharmaceutical and food ingredient industries”) built a third version of the EmDrive, renamed the Cannae Drive. Fetta convinced a sympathetic group of researchers at the Eagleworks Laboratories, part of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, to give it a test. The results were maybe, tentatively, a little bit encouraging. And that is when the nonexistent propellant really hit the fan.

A number of publications that should have known better threw caution to the wind. “Nasa validates ‘impossible’ space drive” was the headline in an online story by WiredUK. The author, David Hambling, declared that an engine like the EmDrive could “take astronauts to Mars in weeks rather than months,” and even managed to work in nationalistic hand-wringing about “another great British invention that someone else turned into a success.” Soon the madness crossed the pond; “Space Engine Breaks Laws of Physics,” declared Popular Mechanics. “EmDrive is an Engine That Breaks the Laws of Physics and Could Take Us to Mars,” summarized Mashable.

Put It to the Rocket-Science Test

Perhaps we should take a long cool drink at this point. Let’s start with the “NASA validates” part. NASA is a huge agency, with more than 18,000 employees. The testing was done by five NASA employees in a lab devoted to exploring unorthodox propulsion ideas. The team leader is a researcher named Harold “Sonny” White, himself a proponent of ideas about faster-than-light warp drives that most of his colleagues have classified as physically impossible. The lead author is one of White’s Eagleworks teammates, David A. Brady. Calling this group “NASA”—as almost every popular news story has done—is a gross oversimplification.

The EmDrive produces propulsion without propellant, according to its inventor. (Credit: SPR, Ltd)

The EmDrive produces propulsion without propellant, according to its inventor. (Credit: SPR, Ltd)

Still, science is science: What matters are data, not motivations or semantics. Did White et al actually validate Fetta’s version of the EmDrive? The abstract of their paper, which was presented at a propulsion conference in Cleveland, is freely available online. Reading it raises a number of red flags. The methodology description makes it unclear how much of the testing took place in a vacuum—essential for measuring a subtle thrust effect. The total amount of energy consumed seems to have been far more than the amount of measured thrust, meaning there was plenty of extra energy bouncing around that could have been a source of error.

Worst of all is this statement from the paper: “Thrust was observed on both test articles, even though one of the test articles was designed with the expectation that it would not produce thrust.” In other words, the Cannae Drive worked when it was set up correctly—but it worked just as well when it was intentionally disabled set up incorrectly. Somehow the NASA researchers report this as a validation, rather than invalidation, of the device.

Did I say that was worst of all? I may have  take that back. In the paper by White et al, they also write that the Cannae Drive “is producing a force that is not attributable to any classical electromagnetic phenomenon and therefore is potentially demonstrating an interaction with the quantum vacuum virtual plasma.” That last bit stopped me. What’s a quantum vacuum virtual plasma? I’d never heard the term, so I dropped a note to Sean Carroll, a Caltech physicist whose work dives deeply into speculative realms of cosmology and quantum theory.

Carroll wrote back immediately, with a pointed message: “There is no such thing as a ‘quantum vacuum virtual plasma,’ so that should be a tip-off right there. There is a quantum vacuum, but it is nothing like a plasma. In particular, it does not have a rest frame, so there is nothing to push against, so you can’t use it for propulsion. The whole thing is just nonsense. They claim to measure an incredibly tiny effect that could very easily be just noise.” There is no theory to support the result, and there is no verified result to begin with.

The Cost of Spaced-Out Dreams

It is possible that there is some way around conservation of momentum. It is possible that there is a way to tap into the quantum vacuum. Heck, it is even possible that there is a way to build a useful warp drive. Nobody claims that our current understanding of physics is complete, and the things we do not know could be vast. At the same time, the important point here is that the things we do know are also vast. Overthrowing centuries of well-established ideas about how the world works is not something to be done lightly—certainly not on the basis of a single paper that has yet to be vetted by any independent researchers (the “NASA validated” headlines notwithstanding).

That’s part of why this space-drive story bothers me so much. Abandoning known science when it feels good to do so is a dangerous proposition. As Carroll later tweeted, “The eagerness with which folks embrace sketchy claims about impossible space drives would make astrology fans blush.” I am personally a huge space enthusiast; I would love to see a new type of propulsion that would make it easier to explore the universe. But having your heart in the right place is no excuse to walk away from normal critical thinking. It is not materially different than the approach of people who reject science when they don’t like what it says about climate change, vaccines, or genetically modified organisms.

The other danger here is that glorifying dubious shortcuts like Cannae Drive takes away attention–and, potentially, political support and funding–from the real space-exploration advances. You know, the ones that result from the hard work of large teams, not the tinkering of lone inventors. [UPDATE: This is one statement I regret from my original story. I didn’t mean to denigrate the role individual creativity, which is incredibly important in developing new ideas. My intention here was to call out the secretive loners who make grand claims but then won’t collaborate or present all of their work openly, making it impossible to distinguish hype from a genuine breakthrough.]

When the results of the Cannae Drive prove impossible to validate (as will almost surely happen), it may produce an unjustified cynicism about how NASA has failed us once again. I’m not just speculating here. In a whiplash pivot, the same Popular Mechanics story that starts with the breathless headline ends with a sneer. The writer concludes, “But I’m still wondering, how much did it cost to run this test? During this era of tight budgets, is NASA wasting money on fringe science?”

Rosetta's Philae lander will touch down on comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko this fall--a real-world triumph. (Credit: ESA/ATG)

While Rosetta circles, the Philae lander will touch down on comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko this fall–a real-world triumph. (Credit: ESA/ATG)

That question is easy to answer, actually. Five researchers at Eagleworks Laboratories spent a total of 8 days testing the Cannae Drive, using mostly existing equipment. Assuming they each spent about half a day on the test, that is the salary equivalent of about $7,000, give or take. In the annals of government waste, $7,000 ranks as a footnote to a footnote to a footnote. I find it telling, then, that the issue of money is coming up at all. It is the crash that comes after inhaling the high of an up-with-people story in which sheer optimism can trump the laws of physics.

The reality is that space exploration is expensive, difficult, and time-consuming. Therein lies both its challenge and its glory. The Rosetta mission making a historic rendezvous with comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko this week was in development for two decades. The intrepid New Horizons mission, scheduled to soar past Pluto next July, is fulfilling a cancelled part of NASA’s Grand Tour, originally planed in 1972. It took tremendous determination and engineering prowess to make these missions happen. The people who did the hard work deserve our respect and our admiration, not our delusions that there is an easy way out.

Someday space travel may be simple and accessible to all. I certainly hope so. For now, though, we still live in the age of ad astra per aspera: through hardship, to the stars.

Follow me on Twitter: @coreyspowell

  • gopher652003

    Great article, thanks:). And you didn’t even mention that the effect measured by NASA was 1000 times less than that measured by the Chinese team. That kind of decrease almost always indicates that the original tests were screwy, and should be ignored.

    • Corey S. Powell

      That’s another important point, one that Baez makes as well. The designs of the three versions of the EmDrive are not identical, which leaves some wiggle room to argue that the design changes are responsible for the changes in measured thrust (which Shawyer does), but it certainly does add one more reason to be highly skeptical.

    • Andrew T. Armstrong

      The key word there is Chinese team. It’s no secret there pissed about being excluded from NASA, while Nigeria is allowed in NASA.

    • Rane

      The version tested by NASA is one “null drive”. Made just for proof of concept…

    • johnqp11

      The Chinese team used kilowatts instead of watts. When the input power is 1000 times less and other parameters were different too you should expect different results. That’s not screwy at all. Ignoring major differences is counter productive and feeds cranks and quacks. Sloppy skeptics do as much harm as the people they try to debunk.

    • king

      you just dont get it, chinese use device of 1kw of power, but NASA use device of 17w of power, and that’s why nasa has 1000 ttimes lower thrust.

  • David Hambling

    Glad you liked the Wired piece. I’m afraid you missed the point about the Null Drive, which was simply a modified version of the drive. When they used a simple resistive load, there was no thrust. I strongly suggest you read the full paper and check the background. Oh, and it’s Roger Shawyer, not Sawyer.

    • Corey S. Powell

      Thanks for the correction (I’ve changed in the text), and for your polite tone (a rarity these days, and very much appreciated).

      I understand that the “null” version is not a deactivated model of the Cannae Drive, but rather a modified model designed not to produce thrust. “Disabled” is the wrong word–I’ll change that, too–but my argument still stands. If the device was generating thrust in the way the inventor claimed, the modified version should not have produced a measurable effect; the fact that it did anyway should have been taken as another reason to doubt the measurement, the theory behind it, or both.

      And I’m deeply disturbed that the NASA team invoked completely new physics to explain what is, at best, a marginal measurement. It has unfortunate echoes of the new physics invoked to explain cold fusion and N-rays.

      • David Hambling

        Agreed the Null Drive wasn’t generating thrust the way the inventor (Guido Fetta) claimed – but as we appear to have three other different theories and it still produced thrust, it suggests that one of the others may be right.Equally they may all be wrong, but we still have anomalous thrust.
        Note that the tapered drive similar to Shawyer’s also produced thrust, which it shouldn’t according to Fetta, so Shawyer is 2-0 up in the Eagleworks stakes..
        And all three drives produced thrust in the other direction when rotated 180 degrees, which suggests genuine thrust rather than simple experimental error. Point taken about N-Rays (Dean Drive, etc etc), but I’d say this one has produced enough results in different places to look interesting, even if it really does look ‘impossible’.

        • http://www.lenrnews.eu/lenr-summary-for-policy-makers/ AlainCo

          funny to have educated people always mismatch between refutation of a theory and refutation of an experiment.

          this may finally be an artifact, but an artifact that remind accross 4 experiments.

          the null artifact argument is indeed a fallacy.

          the paper is out


          missing detail, but more test is planned.

          emergency is not to conclude

          • Corey S. Powell

            What I would like to see is a detailed, transparent accounting of possible sources of experimental error. That’s what the CERN team did with faster-than-light neutrinos, and that’s what the BICEP2 team did with the detection of B-mode oscillations in the cosmic microwave background. Such an accounting is essential for judging the credibility of the studies done so far. I would also want to see multiple confirmations by independent research teams. Then I would know exactly how seriously to take the EmDrive claims.

            So far I see measurements made mostly by interested parties, giving wildly different and inconsistent results, interpreted via a wide range of vaguely formulated theories–none of which fit within known physics. I maintain an open mind about the possibility of incredible new discoveries, but right now there is a painful mismatch between the scope of the claims and the quality of the evidence.

          • jwvanderbeck

            While I agree with this article 100%, I too think the issue of the “null” device is being misinterpreted. Now it may be ME doing the misinterpretation, but my understanding is that there were THREE devices. The actual device, one modified to not produce thrust *based on their understanding of how it worked*, and a third device which was just a dummy load. The first two devices supposedly generated thrust while the third did not.

            Now playing devil’s advocate here, there are two questions I submit. 1) Why did the dummy load NOT generate any force? and 2) How do we know that the “null device” was properly modified to not generate force? It could be that those modifications were not correct, or that the understanding of how this device works is incorrect.

            “A number of publications that should have known better threw caution to the wind.”

            Welcome to the era of Internet News – where getting the information out is more important than getting it right.

      • C Phillips

        You didn’t read carefully enough about the null drive. The “regular” one was a full version with a resonator chamber which had radially aligned slots machined into the surface, which the inventor believed were needed. The Null configuration was the exact same thing, except it did not have slots drilled into it and was not expected to work by the designer. Both configurations worked and so was taken as evidence that slots are not an integral part of the thrust producing mechanism.

  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

    Is “imposable” a very clever pun or a typo? John Baez is a mathematician of vast depth, power, and reach. His family has been quite productive, STEM and a singer.

    NASA is the Veterans Administration of space agencies.

    There have been published valid papers on “swimmers” translating through the vacuum. Nothing is violated. If getting a few microns from here to there over the age of the universe without exhaust is your idea of a good time, go for it.

    • Corey S. Powell

      It was a typo, but I thank you for giving me the benefit of the doubt!

    • TLongmire

      Imp owes able lol hey but proof we can fly!

  • Chandrakant Kulkarni

    I remember a ‘game’ I used to ‘play’ in my childhood.
    On the occasion of any solar eclipse, we children gathered a big flat plate-like utensil ( we called it ‘Paraat’ :परात) and a wooden rice-pounding rod ( we called it ‘Musal’ :मुसळ. This rod is covered with a slightly convex metal shoe on its bottom.)
    Just before the onset of the eclipse, we filled Paraat with water and tried to hold Musal erect into it.
    The Musal obeyed the law of gravity and fell sideways TILL THE ONSET of eclipse.
    Strangely, it stood perfectly erect : without anybody’s hand-support at the moment of onset of eclipse. And we children danced round this whole thing excitedly!
    Still more strangely, the Musal used to collapse down naturally (again obeying law of gravity) at the moment of the end of eclipse!
    Well, I asked about this mysterious phenomenon to my Physics school teacher (that time) – but he could not explain.

    • http://lateral.netmanagers.com.ar Roberto Alsina

      Just how many solar eclipses did you witness “in your childhood”?

      I have seen perhaps 5 in 42 years. A quick google search, for example, shows that there will be 4 visible around here in the next 10 years (none of them total)

      I don’t doubt your physics teacher could not explain this. OTOH I don’t see why he should believe you, either. ¿Why did you decide to attempt this? ¿Why did you expect this to work during an eclipse and not at other moments? ¿Have you tried it at other oments at all? ¿Why is there no mention in the whole internet about anyone trying this except for this one? ¿Was it your own idea?

      • Chandrakant Kulkarni

        Thank you very much for your Comment, Sir.
        Well, I was certainly less than 10 years old when I played that Musal thing with many other children. ( I am running 69 now.)
        We were staying in a huge Wada (= a cheap housing complex for lower middle class people). There were many other Wadas too, in our neighborhood – and the same ‘game’ was played in many Wadas by children there. I distinctly remember 2 such ‘game’ occasions in my childhood.
        There was absolutely no reason, why we played it. Since many other children were participating in that game, I joined them : that’s all. Moreover, there was always a sort of ‘fearful’ & ‘tense’ atmosphere in our orthodox homes during an eclipse. ( So, the best way to escape that peculiar home environment was to play out with other children!)
        I certainly remember 2-3 partial solar eclipses – when I ‘saw’ the eclipse affected Sun through a glass on which soot from a candle flame was faintly deposited.

        • http://lateral.netmanagers.com.ar Roberto Alsina

          So you have a vague, 60 year old memory of something that is certainly influenced by your local superstitions (that “tense atmosphere in your orthodox home” during an eclipse).

          And of these thousands of kids who did or saw this, not one has left written testimony except you, here, 60 years later, in a comment in a blog.

          Sorry if I am not impressed and ready to consider it proof of violation of laws of nature, dude.

          • Chandrakant Kulkarni

            I remember, there was one ‘Photo Studio’ run by Mr. Date Photographer – in our lane. Once, Mr. Date had photographed this phenomenon with his ordinary Camera (Agfa Click or some camera like that). As his son was in my school, I could see that ‘black & white’ photograph of a Musal standing erect without any support in a Paraat filled with water.
            Mr. Date died many years back. His son ( of my age ) may be alive, still.
            I will do find the whereabouts of my school-mate Date. If I find him, I will request him to show all collection of photographs belonging to his father. If I am lucky enough to get that photograph, I will certainly mail it to you, Sir.

          • http://lateral.netmanagers.com.ar Roberto Alsina

            So you will mail me a picture of a stick standing up. Yeah, that disproves physics, all right.

          • Chandrakant Kulkarni

            Thanks for your Reply, Sir.
            Today, I met my Massage Client Mr. Dattatraya Prabhune at his home in Pune. He is running 71 now. Well, he had spent his childhood at Wai – a township about 120 Km away from my place (=Pune city ).
            I asked him: whether he had seen that ‘Musal standing erect in a water-filled Parat without any support [in Solar Eclipse Period] phenomenon’. Yes, he had also witnessed that ‘magic’ scene at Wai – at least 2-3 times, in his Wada there.
            His son ( Suyog Prabhune)’s mail ID is –
            colorcoatsAT THE RATE OFgmailDOTcom.
            Mr. Dattatraya Prabhune’s mobile phone number:
            (Well, Mr. Dattatraya Prabhune is a person more senior to me – who retired from a responsible post in Government Service. He is not a ‘dude’ like me, Sir!)
            Chandrakant Kulkarni.
            ( In the mean while, my “Search” for the photograph is ON!)

          • http://lateral.netmanagers.com.ar Roberto Alsina

            You really seem to be impervious to the comments you reply to. A picture of a stick standing on a plate means nothing. I can produce one right now. All I need is a plate and a stick, which I am sure I can find.

          • Chandrakant Kulkarni

            Thank you very much for your Reply, Sir.
            Well, a Musal (= a device for pounding Rice) is not just a stick, Sir. It is a sort of solid wooden shaft made from very hard & durable Teak Wood. It is roughly 3 inch diameter and 5 feet length, and weighs around 4-5 Kg. Moreover, it is fitted with a slightly convex brass / steel shoe at its bottom for facilitating pounding action. Due to this semi-rounded shoe, it is not possible to keep Musal erect (in water-filled Parat) WITHOUT any support- at any time except a Solar Eclipse.
            We children used to support Musal with our hands -(some time before Eclipse time), but it couldn’t stand anyhow. But at the moment of ‘onset’ of Eclipse [ we call this as ‘Vedh’ (वेध) of an Eclipse], it magically stood erect without any support! It stood there till the Eclipse was ‘on’ -and fell down, hitting ground at the moment the Eclipse was over![ =’Moksha’ (मोक्ष) of an Eclipse]
            Sir, you may please type ‘rice pounding wooden rod’ on Google and get many images of Musal. The Mizoram (an Indian State) version of Musal is ‘Suk’ and is bulkier than our Musal in Maharashtra..

          • http://lateral.netmanagers.com.ar Roberto Alsina

            So, a large stick.

          • Chandrakant Kulkarni

            Thank you, and yes, Sir.
            It’s more or less like a pole or a shaft made from solid Teak Wood.
            It may be weighing even more than 5 Kg.,depending on its girth and length.
            You may please find many Indian versions of Musal on Google Images for ‘rice pounding / husking wooden rod’.

          • http://lateral.netmanagers.com.ar Roberto Alsina

            So, you still don’t see why a picture of a (large) stick standing on a plate doesn’t mean anything, do you?

          • Chandrakant Kulkarni

            Thank you Sir, for your Reply.
            To me, that ‘Musal standing erect in a plate’ is a totally mysterious phenomenon.
            Well, if it were connected with the gravitational force among the Sun, Moon & Earth, it could have been ‘felt’ elsewhere : like slow / fast running of pendulum clocks – or birds disabled to fly properly etc….and the latest geophysical instruments could have ‘measured’ it with amazing accuracy.
            The above phenomenon was witnessed NOT ONLY BY ME IN MY ‘IGNORANT’ CHILDHOOD, but it had been seen / experienced by many other individuals (like Mr. Dattatraya Prabhune) at places different from my City.

    • http://www.rufusgwarren.com/ Rufus Warren

      It’s amazing the amount of nonsense we propagate due to Jungian synchronicity, superstition, and lack of investigation, even to the point of war.

      Let us all believe in the impossible without any understanding. The way I see it, the electron and the proton are actually elementary particles of this magical universe. The fact that some people are even able to speak astounds me.

      • Chandrakant Kulkarni

        Thanks a lot for your Reply, Sir!
        Once, a school boy caught 2 insects, cut them, and joined their dead body parts together: to ‘create’ a strange insect.
        The boy showed that strange insect to Sir Issac Newton, and asked to identify it.
        Newton carefully observed it – knew the ‘craft-work’ of the boy – and asked smilingly to him: “Did this insect hum when you caught it?”
        “Yes” ..the boy said.
        “Then it’s humbug!” -Newton.
        Yes,we should be ready to believe in the impossible (-which itself seems to be impossible!).
        Well, everybody among us has his own & independent MIND with him / her from birth to death. Yet, we can never never understand our mind!
        I ask my friends just to try a ‘game’:
        “Put some push-button like device below your hand, at your bedtime. You have just to push the button AT THE MOMENT you go to sleep.”
        ‘It’s impossible!’ – all my friends exclaim even without trying it.
        My ‘next’ story:
        Once, I was much tired, so retired to bed early.
        In my sleep I had a dream….’I am in a Palace with a huge bedroom…and I happily sleep there…have a dream. But I see a snake in that dream, and wake up! To my wonder, I find myself fast asleep on bed at my home! -though I am fully awake!’
        Thank you once again, Sir!

  • http://explainingindia.blogspot.in/ Sachi Mohanty

    Reminds me of how Sagan used to say how he would ‘love’ for extraterrestrials to exist and which is precisely why one had to be extra-skeptical about people’s claims about those UFO sightings.

    • http://www.rufusgwarren.com/ Rufus Warren

      “We are afraid of earthlings, also you are looking for the wrong things. You should have imprisoned Higgs; joking. However, you will find your physics defined at CERN, once the public environment exceeds their knowledge, CERN.will have to concede they were wrong. Grab your pop-corn, it will happen soon.

      By the way, if light speed is unlimited and multi-directional, then you may see the universe is not expanding, maybe you can figure when the fire will start. We told you fire next time. Anyway, who rewrote my book?”

      That’s my take upon what an alien would say, if they were not so afraid of us. i.e. fear is universal for survival.

  • Jacob Smith

    I enjoy maverick science as much as the next guy (I’m a huge fan of the soliton model of signal propagation in nerves, for example) but even I am tempering my interest in this story until many more experiments have been done.

    Still I have a question about the “quantum vacuum virtual plasma”. The concept reminds me of the results mentioned in this recent Wired.com article: http://www.wired.com/2014/06/the-new-quantum-reality/

    It isn’t mentioned in the article, but reading it I couldn’t help but chuckle about this being experimental evidence for the existence of the “ether”, hehehe.

    • Corey S. Powell

      Agreed, that is a fascinating idea (and fascinating article) about the “pilot wave” interpretation of quantum mechanics. But note that the argument is about interpretation, not about new phenomena that contradict known physics. Even in the alternate interpretation, there is no fundamental rest frame of empty space–one of the defining attributes of the abandoned conception of the aether.

      • Jacob Smith

        I went back and re-read the Wired article about the pilot wave theory of quantum mechanics and it sure doesn’t seem like anybody involved sees this as simply a question of interpretation. It sort of appears that by saying that space and time behave “like a superfluid” they are implying that the universe is it’s own fundamental rest frame?

        Then again, as ignorant as I am, even I can sense how crazy and problematic that sounds.

        • alysdexia

          Learn how to spell its.

  • Diego Sagrera

    Great article! keep it up!

  • Chrochne

    I do not agree wit the way this article is written. With all due respect I feel arogance behind their words. I agree that there is a considerable hype around it, but I also do not agree with the arogance you hear and listen from the critics. There are few facts author of this text did not mention.

    First Mr. Shayer said that EmDrive do not violates the Newton law. I did not saw that in the text and that is quite important.

    Second. NASA people that tested it did not believe it as well and ordered additional independet test to prove or destroy the results of their paper. You did not mention that as well.

    Third. Author asked only the critics of the EmDrive and did not look on the other side (connected with the first point).

    Last – Do not be arogant. Question the reasearch – yes. Shatter their findings – great. But do not be arrogant, its pathetic.

    • Cliff

      Chrochne: The claim doesn’t make it so. The would-be theory behind this concept is completely at odds with established physics. To claim the opposite is to demonstrate a lack of understanding of the physics involved even at the most basic level. The negative assessment adopted by this article is the only scientifically appropriate one.

    • coreyspowell

      Raising questions about an exciting new claim is never a popular sport, but it is an essential part of scientific advance. Anyone who steps forward and says he has disproved all of physics has set a high bar for the supporting evidence.

      • Chrochne

        I do not question that it is difficult and I agree that we need to see the both side of it. I only wish for (and I stress wish) less insults among the people that should be the pinacle of the humanity.

        Thank you also fot the article. It definitely started a debate. I think we all are looking forward where it will go.

      • Scot-Kiwi

        Just point me to the place which says that they disprove all of physics? If anything this is proving Quantum theory, the rest is Newtonian.

    • doomedby2020

      Why don’t you explain to us all what a quantum vacuum virtual plasma is then?
      Anyone can write a paper, many can get it published, but this doesn’t make the science true, next you need to debate it.

      • Iikka Keränen

        The theory is that in vacuum, quantum fluctuations cause “virtual particles” to randomly pop in and out of existence. Their nature is that they “average out” to be empty space as far as anyone can tell. If (and this is a big if) you could interact with virtual particles before they vanish, you might be able to ionize them to form a plasma and use it as propellant mass.

        It’s a straightforward concept in the sense that such a device would push against the “virtual gas” the same way an ionocraft pushes against ambient air without violating conservation of momentum etc. But nobody has demonstrated this is possible. The Cannae drive test was not even performed in a vacuum, so they may have measured thrust created by airflow ionized by the electric fields. The “null test” producing the same thrust certainly makes it seem that the apparatus doesn’t do what it’s supposed to.

        • IgnoranceBeater

          Quantum virtual plasma does not exist. “Interaction” with virtual particles does not exist, except in extremely rare cases like the event horizon of a black hole. No magnetron wave can interact with it. Even if one hypothetically would postulate it did, the virtual particles would become bosons, not mesons. Hence, there would be nothing to ‘ionise’, just like you can’t ionise photons. Ergo, there would be no ‘plasma’.

          The whole concept is just ludicrous. Furthermore, even if microwaves would interact with virtual particles and turn them ‘real’ – which flies in the face of everything we know and observed thusfar – these ‘real’ particles would impart their momentum at random, and thus, no net thrust could be derived from it in a closed system.

          The whole thing is hogwash. Even it it would turn out to be some new way of propulsion (which is *extremely* unlikely), the theories thusfar are complete nonsense. Saying ‘quantum virtual plasma’ has as much meaning as saying ‘invisible unicorn magic’.

  • John Yaraee

    Thanks for the article, I think a healthy dose of skepticisms is essential and should be applied to any study or experiment including this one. It is interesting that sometime wishful thinking leads to overlooking simple facts. One test or example which doesn’t fit the model can negate the theory, but opposite is not true. By having two experiments showing positive results, it doesn’t mean that the system works. However, by showing that the so called “False or Disabled” version producing the same result or thrust, that clearly point the fact that the measurement is coming from a different source or it is just a noise or any other explanation rather than a thrust generated by the system. By comparison a mathematical equation cannot be proven by showing 10 correct examples. It can be proven wrong if there is an example which doesn’t fit the equation. Same principle applies in physics. I haven’t seen any explanation as why both the false
    version and the correct version produce thrust.

    • envy

      The “null” test was physically altered so that by their understanding of the device it should not produce thrust… but that’s not a control or placebo since they don’t know for a fact whether it theoretically should or shouldn’t produce thrust. Right now there are only (rather questionable) experimental results, and no sound theories for the basis of operation.

    • http://www.rufusgwarren.com/ Rufus Warren

      However, your logic is only based upon provable statements. if one allows the excluded middle, partly true, then experiments may test each statement as being a member of a set of possibilities and within what domain are they true. ex. Newton true for earthly measures, Maxwell always true, Standard Model: if q is an element of e[0.1.-1 -1/3 2/3 ?]., i.e faulty axiomatic structure or true axiomatic structure, etc. Logic? Who needs logic?. Test? Please explain, no, don’t, I don’t want to know. So go ahead, see if anything will fly by trial an error. Just don’t fall too hard. Well, at least don’t fall upon me.

  • NCSteve

    There are obvious, profound problems with the science. Cool-headed articles calmly pointing out the obvious problems would in the long run, be a lot more useful and a lot more effective politically and educationally, than the overwrought emoting this flash-in-the-pan story seems to have provoked.

    Scientists are people and, to put it charitably, many of them are people whose social skills are somewhere to the left side of the bell curve. Derision and eye-rolling are very normal responses to claims one’s training and experience says are ridiculous. But the history of science is rife with anecdotal tales of profound advances being met with scorn, derision and insults–often by scientists whose positions or, more understandably, life’s work–were threatened by the advance. Those episodes may not be the norm. Indeed, I can think of many breakthroughs, even the ones that were paradigm-changing, that were met with applause and excitement (though those seem most often to occur when the science had hit a seeming dead-end).

    And when scientists come off as responding to extraordinary claims by scrappy outsiders working alone, against great odds, against a stultifying conventional wisdom with scorn and derision because they want to nip nonsense in the bud before it takes hold, it is counterproductive. That kind of thing triggers both the tendency to root for the underdog in the lay observer and the recollection of all those mythologized tales of revolutionary advances being met with thunderous denunciation and ridicule by those at the head of the discipline.

    And the other thing that doesn’t help is the doubts about a preliminary report of an extraordinary result by a “reputable” scientist, like the superluminal neutrino report, are expressed much more respectfully when the report comes from a perceived outsider. Natural, but unhelpful, guys.

    • jay_C

      Wish I could up-vote more than once!

      Not that I am drinking the Kool-Aid on these results, but it sure presented positive, repeated, (granted differing) results. Time will hopefully be *allowed to* tell. I for one will be keeping a thoroughly intrigued, yet skeptical eye on this.

    • Christopher Burgess

      Man, it violates conservation of momentum. If that does cause your soul to shreek in horror, you are no scientist. In fact, I would go so far as to say that you are no engineer either. If you scooped up 50 engineering students from a community college and told them that someone had broke the law of conservation of momentum they would every one laugh at you. It is that obviously flawed. I figured I would explain how important it is that you address existing research in any new discovery but I disrepair that anyone who doesn’t already understand that principal would listen. Science has certain tenets. There is a proper way to do things, a “method” if you will. If you violate that, your research is meaningless.

      • TikiTDO

        That has to be the saddest thing I have read. If something violates the conservation of momentum the first emotion it should evoke is “intrigued.” There’s the potential that one of the longest surviving physical concepts may not be as absolute as we thought. If you are a real scientist that is absolutely amazing. Obviously colored by skepticism, but still amazing.

        Also, if you’re a real scientist you’re going going to using statements like “obviously flawed” until there is actual evidence. At best you’d be working on an experiment to analyze the findings that seem to be happening, otherwise you’ll be waiting for someone more qualified to do it while reserving your own judgement.

        What you wouldn’t be doing is going on a forum and yelling about how people that are fascinated aren’t “real scientists” and how your understanding of the world is so much more accurate.

        • Christopher Burgess

          You read things into that post that were not there. There was no yelling, only incredulity. It sounds like you haven’t met a lot of scientists. Most I have known, if not all of them, would have reacted much more negatively, if less vocally, than I did. While any assertion is worth checking out, if I came to any of my instructors with a claim that I had circumvented ANY conservation law they would probably laugh and wonder where they went wrong :) In addition, I want to clear up that I am not a scientist yet, just a student.

          • jay_C

            Put the claim of “circumventing conservation laws” aside…

            The Law of Conservation of energy says this cant be happening, yet there it is….

            The experimental results show movement, where there should be none, and movement when the machine was “disabled”.

            Both should be HUGELY intruiging, and furthermore, worthy of study to any scientist.

            Nothing wrong with skepticism.

            Perhaps we just don’t have a theory yet to explain the mechanisms that were stumbled upon that are allowing the test machines to move.

            Both scientific law and theory can be shown to be wrong at some time if there are data to suggest so.

          • Pooua

            This experiment is not about the conservation of energy; it is about the conservation of momentum.

          • jay_C

            sorry. my bad. changed.

          • jay_C

            thoughts on the rest?

          • Pooua

            You should start your investigation with the most mundane and least extravagant possibilities and rule those out before getting into such esoteric possibilities as dark matter or quantum vacuum plasma.

          • jay_C

            I personally will not be doing any investigations. My suggestions are tongue and cheek, I even suggest perhaps it is all a hoax. Maybe it is, but so far nobody has shown that.

            The inventors are saying , Look, it works. We don’t know how exactly but it does. Simply look, kick the tires, look under the hood. Don’t mothball it because we all don’t understand it…yet. Agree? Disagree?

          • alysdexia

            in cheek

          • Christopher Burgess

            Unless I am mistaken…there is no such thing as quantum vacuum plasma. A plasma is a highly ionized gas with specific properties. What could quantum vacuum plasma even mean? Its like saying something as weird as airplane engine apples….. huh?

          • Goresh

            The vacuum is actually filled with fundamental particles (plasma) popping in and out of existence as proven by the Casmir effect.

            Whilst not convinced by the results presented, in theory it may be possible to set up a standing wave pattern that simulated the two closely placed plates used to demonstrate the Casmir effect, which really would appear to violate conservation of momentum.

            Even if true however, I don’t think you could make a space drive from it, the discrepency between the power required to create the effect and the push generated would be too great.

          • Grant Whittle

            A lack of experimental controls is more likely than a violation of CoM. But I am curious enough to await the eventual explanation.

            From the little I read, were the experiments all conducted in a vacuum? If not, just the temperature differences from the microwaves could have caused the tiny amounts of thrust they measured.

          • http://www.lenrnews.eu/lenr-summary-for-policy-makers/ AlainCo

            I would add that conservation of momentum is not challenged by EmDrive reality…
            They SEEMS to be challenged.

            as strongly as some challenge the experimenters, one should challenge those who interpret conservation of momentum.

            conservation of momentum is linked to a symmetry that is very hard to challenge, like relativity, like conservation of energy (linked to time translation invariance)…
            I really think CoM, CoE are not challenged, but that the lazy application we do can be challenged.

            see Schetman the quasi-scientists… quasicrystal were predicted since long, but those quasi-periodic solution were removed as uninteresting since long…

            anyway there can be surprises.
            I was really surprised when CP was broken…

            who on a forum would have bet that CP symmetry was broken ? not me.

            we should stay modest, and trust experiments, temporarily, especially after 4 replications.

          • Christopher Burgess

            I trust experimenters to a certain degree. As Feynman said, “[if have a theory and it] disagrees with experiment it is wrong”. I just think it is far more likely that there have been some mistakes made or that what people think they are observing is not what is actually transpiring. I think the author was criticizing the media more than the research. However, I am still not convinced that the research definitively showed anything compelling. On a side not, I am pretty sure CP-symmetry is not broken. P-symmetry (parity) was broken because it was incomplete. Conjugation symmetry was the missing piece of the puzzle. Conjugation symmetry + Parity symmetry = CP-symmetry. Then again, this is still a bit outside the scope of my experiences. I have never performed any experiments involving mirror inversion of chemical reactions or decay mechanisms. However, I look forward to learning about it in the future.

          • http://www.lenrnews.eu/lenr-summary-for-policy-makers/ AlainCo

            CP symmetry is broken by kaons.

            left and rightwing version don’t behave the same because of a mixing effect…


            not intuitive indeed, unless you see the explanation and it looks evident…

            the rabbit-duck of Kuhn.

            anyway rabbit or duck, you can cook it.

          • Christopher Burgess

            Show me something in quantum mechanics that is intuitive :) I haven’t delved that far into the standard model. Most particle and high energy physics is still above my paygrade. However, it is refreshing to read a post by someone who knows what they are talking about.

          • alysdexia

            Interactions are two-body; therefore one-body set-ups are indeterminate.

          • alysdexia

            learn verbs

            for long

            learn plurals

            ? is not a word.

          • JazzZyx

            Pedantry is the refuge of a weak mind.

          • alysdexia

            Weak minds can’t be pedantic.

          • alysdexia

            Wrong, theories are already proven. New effects posit new theories.

          • Enzo Canuzzi

            The first thing you would do, is to check your test (also through independent researchers) and to find another group which does an independet test. In no way you go into the big public in the way they had done.

          • NCSteve

            Yeah, that would be that “left hand side of the social skills bell curve” thing I was talking about.

          • Christopher Burgess

            I never said I could communicate with human beings in an intelligent or concise manner without being an a*hole :) Nobody is perfect 😀 I wasn’t trying to be a troll, though I clearly turned out to be one.

        • Emkay

          totally accurate understanding is the first premise of all pricks…educated or not..

      • NCSteve

        Okay, since you apparently failed to actually read (or possibly just comprehend) what I wrote, let me try again, in shorter form.

        I’m actually trying to explain that it’s one thing for scientists to get nasty and personal about a seemingly ridiculous result in their communications with other scientists, or, hell, for that matter to be that way in faculty meetings. However, when they undertake to explain to the lay public why a result is 99.999% certain to be wrong, being nasty and personal is counterproductive because it makes lay people more, rather than less, likely to believe the junk science may be real.

      • J.K. Wolf

        Did anyone read the full paper or just infer from the abstract? Serious question.

        • Christopher Burgess

          Ok, so I just read the full paper in depth. It is NOT a violation of Conservation of Momentum. I acknowledge I shouldn’t have taken the word of the blog’s author. He clearly didn’t fully understand what was happening in the experiment. This is a type of ion drive called a Q-thruster and it is well within the realm of plausibility. The tapered RF cavitation experiments were inconclusive but that just means they need to do more research. The only real problem I see with the experiments were that they were rushed. There was no enough trials and the controls were not fully evaluated. Bottom line is, the blog post to which we are all replying is horribly misleading. Having just ate crow, I have to say that I have learned a lesson here. ie Don’t assume trust someone else’s evaluation. Read the paper and make up your own mind.

      • alysdexia
      • Wall

        If something seems to violate conservation of momentum, the first thing i would think is that something interesting is going on. There is probably a simple explanation. It is a very simple design to recreate in a shop class. Make one, test it, then try to figure out what is really going on. It would make an interesting science project for an engineering or physics class. Laughing stuff off without even looking at it is not science.

      • rjxflat

        I would agree with you. But then those same students take the obligatory course work on relativity and quantum physics and , at least in my case. are forced to consider the possibility that sometimes ones first reactions are not correct.

        anyhow hows this, if you don’t know what dynamite is, and you throw a 1 kg stick of it traveling at 1 m/s per second it will impart a heck of a lot more than good old mv would have led you to expect.

        all that said i am glad it has been disproven. but all that talk of different frameworks and relativity had me intimidated into silence.

      • CharlesJQ

        there are alternative explanations that wouldn’t imply a violation of momentum conservation. A remote possibility is that, if the effect is real, it might be caused by some drag force effect of the microwave cavity on the axion galactic dark matter background. Axion rest mass is of the same order as the energy of a microwave photon, and axion dark matter detectors are basically microwave cavities, just like this device

      • OldBald06

        Christopher: You act like it’s “utter insanity”. Yet, I bet you and a million *other* people violate speed limit laws and don’t think twice about it. No need to freak out.

      • disqus_EyUgEAeziQ

        I agree that the emdrive violates the well-documented and measured law of conservation of momentum. However, we don’t have a completely coherent unified theory yet. Pre-Faraday, scientists were able to generate electricity using electrostatic generators that were very inefficient. It wasn’t until Faraday developed Faraday’s law, that we were able to create efficient generators. In much the same way, it is not impossible that there is a way to convert energy directly to momentum, but we don’t know the theory. I would fully agree with you that the theories that have been proposed to explain the emdrive are hogwash. They would be better off just working to eliminate external variables and leave the theory-making to later (if ever.)

      • Saikat Karmakar

        a progressive scientist don’t care about the modern science principle. From 1000 bc to 2015 lots of scientific principle has been changed. Even newton 3rd law also need minor change. don’t be conservative, welcome the change…..

      • Pat McCann

        And they all laughed at Frank Whittle.-

      • KellyManning

        For it to violate conservation of momentum it would have to produce more thrust than the microwave photons it emits have.

        There is no need to invoke virtual particles to explain why a photon drive would produce thrust.

        Einstein told us about photon mass equivalence and momentum a century ago. E over c squared. E over c.

        The 60W thermal photon emission of the Pioneer 10 and 11 Radioactive Thermal Generators has a decades old track record of producing thrust that NASA did not take into consideration at first. It is roughly the same magnitude as the (backwards) thrust generated by high beam headlight on an automobile.



      • ThomasXxs

        If your soul shreeks in horror over a pet theory being undermined, then you are no scientist. Really I don’t think Scientists (or their souls) should ever shreek for any reason.

      • Colosso

        Tell me where momentum, and gravity, goes when mass is converted to energy, and then we’ll get somewhere. Otherwise, you’re working with stone tools in a modern world.

    • Girish

      Could’nt have said it better. Brilliant !

    • Scot-Kiwi

      Yes, even amongst Mathematicians eg Fourier, Heaviside were both laughed at for their work.

      • Christopher Burgess

        Heaviside was a very strange individual, to put it lightly. They laughed at Heaviside because of who he was, not because of his research. Don’t know much about the man Fourier. However, you have to admit that the idea of a Fourier transform sounds crazy :) It just happens to be amazingly useful.

    • ka9q

      Derision and eye-rolling are prefectly normal and reasonable responses to wild claims that violate well-established physical principles, are supported by no actual, valid, repeatable physical evidence, and further confuse a gullible, scientifically-illiterate public.

      “A good belly-laugh is worth 1,000 syllogisms.” — HL Mencken.

    • Vacant_Mountain

      I totally agree with you! Actually, now that we’re on that topic, I have this box in my house, no energy goes into it, and *yet* it makes a humming noise! For $50,000 you can have it and see what enormous progress you can do with it. Me, I’m no good at science you see.

      • Colin Mcsperritt

        Nice analogy but it’s flawed. I missed the part where they asked for $50,000 to have someone else make something of their discovery. In fact, they did the opposite and tried to actually prove it via peer review and subjected it to criticism… you know… the SCIENTIFIC METHOD!

      • Knowles2

        Completely flawed.

        Sawyer and others have publish how to make his box, they have given feed back to fellow researchers trying to repeat his experiments. An no one charging $50,000.

        Sawyer and co are saying look his my box it moves by itself and here how you build one, build it yourself, test it, play around with, improve it, put in to a vacuum, expose it to as many scientific instruments as you want to expose it to.

    • donald scott

      Or as Kuhns puts it, in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, new science takes hold when all the old scientists are dead.

    • k9gardner

      “If an elderly but distinguished scientist says that something is possible he is almost certainly right, but if he says that it is impossible he is very probably wrong.” (Arthur C. Clarke)

  • Andrew T. Armstrong

    The thrust provided by these “impossible engines” is thrust on a much smaller scale than your typical rocket engine. NASA plainly stated in it’s article there engine was about a quarter of the weight of a iPhone sitting in the palm of your hand.

    I really do not know why there is all the confusion about this. Not that long ago a ION engine was considered a “impossible engine” yet ION engines are powering deep space probes as well as high and low earth orbit satellites.

    These engines, EmDrive and NASA’s Canne Drive still provide thrust, it is just not visible thrust, so if someone can’t see it, it must be a lie. For those who are truly lost in all the tech explanations, this microwave engine works on about the same principle as two magnets with there polar ends flipped so that they repel each other, just not with that much force, yet.

    Even once these engines are sorted out and made larger, the fact is they still will not have enough power to push a usable rocket from a launch pad. However, they would come into there own in the vacuum of space, just like the ION engines have.

    It is always funny to me, when someone comes up with a engine so advanced it immediately falls a foul of Einstein’s relativity or other published works. I would be interested in Stephen Hawkins take on this, as leaving the Earth was a dream in Einstein’s time.

    And of course you have all those scientist who told Christopher Columbus the world was flat…

    • coreyspowell

      The ion engine is a good example. Nobody ever said it was impossible according to the known laws of physics. Many people doubted that it was practically feasible, but nobody doubted it was possible. This is an entirely different kind of claim, and so requires an entirely different kind of proof. So far there is only one independent test of the EmDrive/Cannae Drive, and it gave a puzzling and marginal result. Maybe there is a real effect at work, but for now there is not nearly enough evidence to say that.

      There is no working engine in existence that falls afoul of relativity. If there were, we’d need a new theory to replace relativity, which would be an exciting thing indeed.

      And it is important to remember that no scientist told Columbus the world was flat, because no scientist (or anyone whom we’d call a “scientist” in modern terminology) of the past 2,000 years believed that. Scientists of the time *did* tell Columbus that they thought his estimate of the diameter of the Earth was incorrect. They were right and he was wrong–he was just lucky that he reached the New World before he ran out of supplies.

      • alysdexia

        But Snell’s and Maxwell’s laws (with Chèrèncov and Scharnhorst effects) override relativity in that celerity may vary by medium.

    • alysdexia

      I do not know why you cannot spell its or their or afoul or Hawking’s or scientists and think ion is three words.

  • mtnfreebird

    Corey S. Powell, how do you think I got here?
    After confiscating my ship, their reverse engineering didn’t go so well; it radiated Area 51 so badly, they had to move it to Utah.
    Not knowing what you’re doing when messing with microwaves will grow digits in the most unconfortable places.
    When your government does figure it out, they will not know how to avoid all the space debris or rocks in space. At light speed plus, a pebble can be disastrous, much less a mile wide hunk of titanium floating around.

    Yup, Bruno, Leonardo and Tesla were all crazy; or were they?

    • John Yaraee

      May I suggest that there is the other side of the coin!
      Cold Fusion, Creating Stem cell by Acid and so forth…

  • Guest

    One way to test the result is to scale up the engine. As it
    stand it has been claimed that they’ve produced about 30-50 micro-Newton, enough
    to hold a feather. At this level there may be many different sources of noise or
    forces, I don’t know if they’ve accounted for all of them or have created an environment
    to control them. If they scale up the experiment to the size of very small 5-inch
    rocket, it is easier to measure the thrust as noise and other variables won’t
    scale up. I read that Chinese researcher has produced a result 1000 times
    stronger, by that I infer they’ve got 30- 50 milliNewton of thrust, which is
    enough to lift a very small object. I haven’t seen any demonstration of that or
    even a published paper demonstrating this level of thrust.

  • John Yaraee

    One way to test the result is to scale up the engine. As it stand it has been claimed that they’ve produced about 30-50 micro-Newton, enough to hold a feather. At this level there may be many different sources of noise or forces, I don’t know if they’ve accounted for all of them or have created an environment to control them. If they scale up the experiment to the size of very small 5-inch rocket, it is easier to measure the thrust as noise and other varies effect won’t scale up. I read that Chinese researcher has produced a result 1000 times stronger, by that I infer they’ve got 30- 50 milliNewton of thrust, which is enough to lift a very small object. I haven’t seen any demonstration of that or even a published paper demonstrating this level of thrust.

  • Scot-Kiwi

    Great how people can be experts from the comfort of their home without doing the experiments themselves! They just ‘know’ it’s wrong! I can do that!

    • John Yaraee

      and you know it is right from the comfort of home because you like it to be true?
      it is likely wrong because it violates one of the fundamental law’s of physics. it is possible (because one should keep an open mind) but very improbable.

    • coreyspowell

      The Cannae Drive claim contradicts literally millions of experiments done by thousands of researchers over centuries of work. If you spend a lifetime studying those experiments, and performing many of them yourself, then yes, I think you have the authority to cast doubt on someone making a contradictory claim with meager evidence.

      • Scot-Kiwi

        That’s nonsense. I am willing to bet that nobody has ever done experiments down at this micro-level of force ever before. We all know F=ma, this is not what it’s about, completely misses the point. Plus it’s not disproving F=ma, it’s only saying that particles come into existence and then vanish – quantum style. Something we know already.

        • coreyspowell

          A big problem here is that the proponents of the EmDrive/Cannae Drive (including the team at JSC) are using vague, hand-waving language to explain their extravagant claims.

          It’s easy to say that the device is exploiting some kind of loophole in quantum physics or relativity, or that it’s based on the established idea that virtual particles come into existence and then vanish. The point made by Baez and Carroll (and every other physicist I’ve heard from who does not have something at stake in this device) is that all of these ideas are poorly defined, and to the extent that they *are* defined they contradict all of the established studies of quantum physics and relativity.

          You see how slippery this gets. The experiment doesn’t violate conservation of momentum because it relies on a new interpretation of relativity. Or if that doesn’t work, maybe it relies on a new interpretation of quantum physics. Or if that doesn’t work, maybe the conservation of momentum isn’t right after all.

          Same thing with the measurements. Two versions of the drive give totally different thrust values because of some vague explanation of the differences in design. The null version worked because the JSC researchers measured a different effect than the one they thought they were measuring. And so on: There is a lot of vague ways to explanation away the inconsistencies.

          For a claim this radical, the right way to proceed is with complete transparency: An open accounting of all possible sources of error, followed by multiple independent verifications. Show me that, and then I (and researchers like Carroll and Baez) will take the EmDrive seriously.

          • Scot-Kiwi

            Well this is the second attempt I am led to believe. I am sure others will follow.

  • Ali Khbr

    Well.. That was a good
    indication and reduces my confusion about what we are doing in
    community of science around the world. Thanks.

  • Stanley Bonds

    Baez, is absolutely correct. This is publicity seeking by the foolish. Micro-waves do not produce propulsion. They do produce heat related phenomanon. The laws of physics are still correct, except in the world of nano-science.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Robert-Johnson/100001570464018 BobJohns

    Multiple resonant waves can be also promising. http://youtu.be/6zh9abFF3ZE

  • Keith Campbell

    What we don’t know is so much more vast than what we do know. How do we know this? From experience … looking back over human history we can see that at ANY point in the past, the current generation was, in fact, hopelessly ignorant. As science, this evidence strongly suggests that at the present, we will discover at a future date that we are now hopelessly ignorant. The only constant over time is the arrogance of the current generation.

    • Stephen Dedalus

      I’ve read this post three times, and I still don’t see the relevance to the article.

      Previous generations can’t have been hopelessly ignorant since we are here now with their accumulated knowledge. So what if they didn’t know about stars? Not knowing that the sun was the center of the solar system certainly didn’t affect Homer or Dante, neither of whom was ‘hopelessly ignorant’. Past generations built vibrant cultures and lasting works of art, pulling their way to an understanding of how Nature works.

      • http://www.rufusgwarren.com/ Rufus Warren

        You make a valid point, it is not the previous generations, it is the modern generation, i.e, theory without a logical proof is simply fantasy. Everything has been logically shown up to modern physics. Where we make statements without proof and seek to prove the statements with the same idea. Gee, you can always find a mode! So who are ignorant?

  • Pooua

    My guess is the thrust is due to heating effects, either heating the atmosphere inside the vacuum chamber (which operated at ambient pressure, not in a vacuum) or due to boiling off particles from the surface.

    • Chrochne

      Just a note – EmDrive is sealed unit. There is vacuum inside of it if I understand it correctly. Of course the test in vacuum chamber is essential. I believe that NASA guys bit underestimated this test and tought that it would not work. That is, why I believe they did not have a proper equipment for it. You can also observe it on how they wrote the papper. They are clearly supprised.

    • http://www.rufusgwarren.com/ Rufus Warren

      If no propulsion, why would you think that? Any energy source, why not cosmic rays turning and EM field, i.e. a motor, that allows the ship to pivot about any point on its boundary, using an impulse that saturates how fast the counter punch can respond before the ship has completed its pivot about a point upon its surface. So it rolls through space, increasing speed with each pulse and increasing the energy of relative cosmic rays. The wheel, re-invented not using mass is the key.

      Now you have an idea for a ship in the shape of a sphere. a cylinder or a saucer for the teenagers with no propellants..If we are smart we will contain portions of the ship at 1 G. pretty cool, huh?

      • Pooua

        I’m trying to understand what you are talking about, but it is difficult for me. No, there is no propellant in the experiment. There is a measured force or thrust, due to some unknown cause, most likely an error in the experimental setup. I suggested one possible error that could account for the results observed.

        Using cosmic rays to move any kind of ship would take many centuries to get it out of orbit.

  • Tobi Houfek

    I would like to add…


    In his own words:
    “What the EmDrive does is produce a force, which we call the thrust in one direction … and as with all machines that follow newtons principles, it will therefore accelerate in the other direction”

    “This is not a reaction less thruster …, but its propellant less thruster”

    Conservation of Momentum is therefore not violated, and everyone who writes that, and I haven’t read anything else, has not even done the admittingly weird personality of Roger J. Shawyer, the simple courtesy of watching the first 40 seconds of his latest presentation from August 2014.


    • Chrochne

      Thank you for sharing this.

  • Robert Thompson

    why did it take this long for a voice of reason to arise. this is a scifi entitlement madhouse.

    • http://www.rufusgwarren.com/ Rufus Warren

      Well, actually, we are making progress, some are using real empirical evidence and some only imagination. Just that we should keep our eyes upon the interpretation of empirical evidence of the imagined.

  • http://www.kacweb.com/writing.html Kenny Chaffin


  • Barzia Tehrani

    Nasa scientists do all kind of study, write up what they think it is happening and pass it around. That just mean nothing because many of such ideas and so called findings turns out to not pass the validation when other eyes looking at the results.

    There is a reason for the work “Peer Review” is the Peer Reviewed scientific journals. New media loved the result and jump on it before it passed the Peer Review that is the essential part of any scientific paper to even be considered. That is a huge mistake and dangerous. We want scientists to freely express opinion, but if it get viral in the news as this story gor before validated, they may choose not to do so and play conservative, which is not good for community.

  • Andreas Velten

    I agree that extreme caution is good in this case. But ridicule of the idea may be more damaging than over-enthusiasm. Some of this article looks strikingly similar to this piece of history:


  • Nixter

    What a strange reaction to such a discovery even if not fully proven the results are far from ambiguous and should be investigated further, not ignored. If it seems too good to be true it probably is and I agree, but the key word is probable, not definite, there’s plenty of space to be curious to explore and perhaps discover something new, close mindedness is not good for science or the populace of the earth. We are living in modern times and we should be expecting these types of breakthroughs and facilitating them not mocking them.

  • http://www.rufusgwarren.com/ Rufus Warren

    possible if control over rotary momentum into linear momentum, so why not? Impulse drive?

  • http://www.rufusgwarren.com/ Rufus Warren

    re-invent the wheel!

  • KLRajpal

    Quantum Physics
    Electron Spin http://vixra.org/pdf/1306.0141v3.pdf
    Linear Polarization http://vixra.org/pdf/1303.0174v5.pdf

  • Carlos Bravo

    Proponents of the standard model are starting to sound like religious freaks, any contradictory idea or experiment is met with violent denial and mocking accusations.

    • coreyspowell

      The intense responses from Drs. Baez and Carroll are in part a reaction to the media hype. They find it understandably upsetting to see numerous mainstream publications presenting a marginal measurement as proof that the laws of physics have been overthrown. What they are saying is that an extraordinary claim like this (the EmDrive) needs to produce extraordinary evidence. Calling Drs. Baez and Carroll “religious freaks” for insisting on traditional standards of logic and proof is both misleading and disrespectful.

      • jay_C

        “They find it understandably upsetting to see numerous mainstream publications presenting a marginal measurement as proof that the laws of physics have been overthrown.”

        Agreed, And the inventor of the emdrive never made those claims. I hope Baez and Carroll can equally blame the media for putting words in Shawyer’s mouth and review his work on the merits. To me, this merits more research.

  • Chrochne

    Guys. Mr Shawyer Theory paper link – http://www.emdrive.com/theorypaper9-4.pdf

    I do not see any evidence that it brakes the Newton laws. He only says that it probably (I say this because we need additional tests done by independet laboratories) work with the radiation pressure at microwave frequencies.

    If I understand it correctly and give me hand if I do not. He says basicaly that it works on the atom based level. The atoms are a “mass” in my book even if tiny one.

    Still I must say I like this debate, even if it really is sometimes reaches insulting levels on both sides.

    • coreyspowell

      Thank you for providing this link; I should have included it in the original article. As I briefly noted, Shawyer explains his result on a novel interpretation of relativity, but the net effect is that he is still claiming a way to generate forward momentum without generating any momentum in the opposite direction. That contradicts the conservation of momentum and, in essence, goes against Newton’s third law. The third law & conservation of momentum are not exactly the same thing, though, which is why I didn’t include Newton in my article.

      • Chrochne

        Understood. I think even NASA guys that tested it said that he was wrong in his theory. I really can not wait till we see additional results from more laboratories.
        Of course this also make it more confusing, because that drive seems to work and I do not think that NASA guys would just release it to make a sensation (if yes, thats terrible) I am looking forward for the explenation of this phenomena and I hope NASA invites additional people that will help them to explain it.

        • http://www.rufusgwarren.com/ Rufus Warren

          Einstein was senile, he used only lambda-nu and forgot all about the wave vector. His obsession would be better without the universal constant referring to the wave-front , and applying it to a description of charge. However, he also misinterpreted “mass.”

        • alysdexia


    • http://www.rufusgwarren.com/ Rufus Warren

      newton stands, but the universal applicability is questionable, i.e. the property mass.

  • Chris Prophet

    So, in a nutshell, this article argues that science should only investigate the known and studiously ignore anything which falls outside the standard model…shame!

    • cre8iveman@aol.com

      False, the article argued the opposite, but found the claims unjustified based on lack of evidence and the falsification doctrine.

      • jay_C

        You don’t believe your lying eyes? The inventors never claimed this falsified any theory or law, their only claims is that it works. They fully admit they don’t know how exactly. They have some ideas, but no official theories.

        • coreyspowell

          The inventors presented results that seem to defy known physics, and offered a variety of explanations for the results, all of which also defy known physics. That’s the whole reason for the excitement and for the controversy.

          • http://www.rufusgwarren.com/ Rufus Warren

            Don’t worry the theories defy known physics. We have just begn to define what we know. So there is no known physics, YET!

          • coreyspowell

            I’m all in favor of intellectual humility, but professing utter ignorance is going overboard. You are reading this article on a computer (or other electronic device) that is based on a profound understanding of the basic laws of physics!

          • http://www.rufusgwarren.com/ Rufus Warren

            Oh, the universe is expanding and Newton is wrong? Or charge is an element of [1,2/3,0,-1/3, ??] and we cannot travel faster than light? yea, we got that right! Not!

      • Chris Prophet

        Did you know the guy who thought of the laser explained his idea to two top quantum physicists who both told him quantum doesn’t work like that. Luckily he decided to stuff the so called experts and built the laser anyway. Think we would live in a technologically impoverished world if we didn’t test the limits of what is known.

        • cre8iveman@aol.com

          Perhaps you need to read this article again. The concept couldn’t be verified. It doesn’t matter what previous scientists say, it only matters what the results of an experiment says. And in this case, the concept is shown to be bogus. That’s how science works.

        • cre8iveman@aol.com

          But he demonstrated the practicality of the laser, proving its validity. This concept of a space drive using vacuum energy has been debunked.

  • doomedby2020

    You could just as easily write this article to express the validity of the science linking man to global warming.
    This is the legacy for science left behind by the AGW fraudsters…as predicted by skeptics 20 years ago.

    • coreyspowell

      If everything we knew about global warming were based on a single test of one climate-measuring device created by a private inventor, backed by a variety of self-contradictory theories that defied known physics…then yes, you would be justified in being equally skeptical.

      • doomedby2020

        Exactly, the enormous complexities of the science involved, makes it possible to pull off such a scandal by a very openly biased group.
        I wish the peer review process worked as well in climate change as it is doing with this specific subject….

        • coreyspowell

          I do believe you have missed my point.

          • doomedby2020

            Actually, you missed mine, which wasn’t directed specifically at you fyi.

  • David

    The side effects of free news are over sensationalized head lines.


    Nothing Is Impossible Until It Has Been Proven So, Or You Give Up Trying.
    If you know your History you will know that Once Upon A Time it was Believed The World Was FLAT: It was eventually Proven that it Isn’t. They also said that Man Would Never Fly: He DID.
    When John F. Kennedy said Man Would Walk On The Moon, many people Laughed at him. Although he never lived to see the day, Neil Armstrong Did It in 1969; and others followed.
    They said that Man Would Not Achieve The Goal of Landing On Mars. We Did … Just Ask NASA.

    Although I personally find hard to comprehend, I truly believe that Some Day, although it may be 100’s or even 1,000’s of years away, it is quite possible, that the Dream of Producing a Method of Propelling a Spacecraft Without The Use Of Fuel, WILL Quite Possibly Happen.
    You just have to consider the Microwave Oven. It Cooks Food WITHOUT The Use Of Physical FUEL. The Food Is Cooked By The Force Friction: The Molecules of The Food are Rubbed Together to Cause Heat and that in turn Heats The Food (just like when you Rub Your Hands Together and the Get Warm, and if you Rub Too Fast and Too Hard for Too Long, Your Skin Will Blister and Break).
    Another example of the Possibility of Why It Could Be Achieve is when you Shake a Bottle of Fizzy Drink or Sparkling Wine Vigorously, and Remove The Cap, The Drink Pressure Will Force The Drink to be Expelled at High Speed. And in the situation of a Bottle of Sparkling Wine, or a Bottle of Champagne, as soon as you release wire retainer that is holding the Cork/Stopper in the Bottle, the Force created by the Internal Pressure that has been created, will Force The Cork/Stopper to Shoot Out Rapidly.
    Now consider this ….. Taking the example/s in the above paragraph, but instead of holding the Bottle in your hand, and allowing the Internally Created Pressure to Force The Cork/Stopper to be Expelled, you Shake The Bottle Vigorously and place it on a Flat Surface, or hold it gently in your hand, with the Top Facing On a Downward Angle, and Release The Cork/Stopper, the Pressure would Create A Kind of Jet Like Stream which would Force The Bottle Along The Flat Surface, or Out Of Your Hand (albeit possibly only a short distance). Now if you do the same in a Swimming Pool or a Large Body of Water, the Pressure would Force The Bottle to move through the Water At Speed: But this time it should move Faster because of The Difference In Pressure, because the bottle would (in theory) Be Lighter In Weight, (and it would keep moving towards the Surface, until it Slowed Enough to Begin Taking In Water, just like when you Hold a Bottle Down in The Water and Release It So That It Floats To The Surface).
    Have you ever considered what would happen if you used a Fire Extinguisher in a Vacuum Chamber? ….. Just Watch The Movie ‘GALAXY’ !!! ….. Yes! Maybe Dramatic Licence was Utilised in some parts of that Movie, but just ask an Astronaut what would happen in Reality.
    So, when you take into account what I have explained above, it’s not really that much different to The Theory in This Article. Just take My Bottle Examples and instead of Doing The Experiment In The Open Air On Earth, Do It In a Vacuum Chamber (a VERY LARGE Vacuum Chamber), or In Space: The Bottle Would Keep Moving until, in the Vacuum Chamber It Hit The Wall … or in the case of Space, It Would Keep Moving Forever.
    Now, if you have a Vessel that has a means of Creating This Internal Pressure on an Ongoing Basis, and if it was able to Increase The Pressure as it travelled, The Vessel Would Move Indefinitely and Continue to Increase Velocity, until a Reverse Thrust was Created to Slow and Stop It.
    So Yes! ……. Believe It Or Not … It IS (although maybe only theoretically) Possible to Create It.

  • Evan Hocking

    The Chinese have some proof of concept, the UK has some proof of concept, and now a small team with NASA claims some proof of concept. I’m still skeptical, as we all should be, but to discount it at this point with such strong vocabulary is quite silly in my opinion.

    I personally will eagerly await further tests, and you can count me as a tax payer that supports this research even if it fails. As the attention this experiment has brought is priceless to our space program.

    • coreyspowell

      Some helpful historical perspective on how easily such radical “discoveries” can fall apart. It is extremely easy for people to get swept away with enthusiasm and unwittingly produce evidence–even convincing evidence–for wild results that they want to be true.


      • Evan Hocking

        I’m quite aware that this could (and probably will) fall flat on its’ face, and have no predisposition that this backed by foolproof experiments. It only brings up more questions. Where is this “trust” coming from? Why did both the actual device and the null device produce trust?

        You’re letting the media dry hump on this experiment cloud what’s more important. The questions it left us. Call it bad science or whatever you’d like, but something is happening, why not find out what, even if it’s a bust?

        I refuse to just jump on the bad science bandwagon just because it’s an incomplete answer, and begs more questions. That just makes it more exciting.

        On a side note, comparing this experiment to the N-Ray failure of yesteryear is a fallacy. Thus not a logical argument for evidence of bad science.

        • http://www.rufusgwarren.com/ Rufus Warren

          each person has a perspective of reality, such is the case in science. This case may be the grown work upon the measurements of “space” itself, why not?

          • Evan Hocking

            I really don’t know, all I know is there’s questions this experiment raised for both camps. That’s exciting. I do however see the failures of both in claiming it’s proof of concept, and the other claiming it’s bad science.

            I for one think the route of – let’s study it further, is the more rational position. Otherwise we’re left with assumptions of what is or isn’t going on, and that’s unsatisfying.

  • Asteroid Initiatives

    Here is the full paper, which is a much more careful job.



    – the “null thruster” is something of a red herring – they have a true “null load,” which shows no thrust, the “null thruster” was a mod of a Cannae drive and, at any rate, they tested several types of drives.

    – they did pretty much all of the things you would like to see (such as reversing the direction and making sure the thrust reverses).

    – they seem to have done a thoughtful and careful job, including testing in vacuum.

    So, I still think they are likely wrong, but this ups the ante. In my opinion, you can’t just say “this is obviously wrong.” I bet there will be a bunch of attempts to replicate it in labs all over the place – let’s see what comes of that.

  • Kelvin Green

    “You know, the ones that result from the hard work of large teams, not the tinkering of lone inventors.”

    I know what you’re trying to say here, but the wording is a little harsh, isn’t it? Plenty of breakthroughs and discoveries have been made by lone inventors.

    • http://www.rufusgwarren.com/ Rufus Warren

      Scientist should ignore emotion and instead concentrate upon the truth value of any response. Emotion can distort thinking, objectivity is best. it does not really should not matter upon the receiver of truth as to its source.

  • Erana

    In this age we’re all used to click-bait headlines, and there’s no room to genuinely get so upset about them, as no one takes them seriously anyhow. The study does not seem like ‘junk science’, sure the conclusion they draw are a bit silly, but the device they built seems to be enough of a mystery to warrant further study. Whetting people’s interest in resolving the mystery by suggesting “breaking of fundamental physical laws” is ok by me, even if I don’t buy it for a second. Regardless of whether the device can actually function in space, it may help us find some interesting new physics.

    • A Default

      So regardless of whether or not it is entirely smoke and mirrors it might help us find new physics? Perhaps next you’ll announce that regardless of whether or not some snake oil actually works it might help us discover new medicines?

      Bad science is bad science. It is only helpful in the sense that if we learn to recognize what bad science is we can avoid being suckered by the next charlatan that shows up.

      • alysdexia

        whether or not ~ if I don’t say so myself.

  • Relativityboy

    Such a strong minded piece against results that have been carefully verified and where there are several independent experiments that have already shown devices based on this principle producing a measurable force suggests a rather reactionary viewpoint.

    You’re ripping some experimenters a new exhaust port why? Why does space have to cost a lot again? Is that one of the things we have in our ‘vast’ human knowledge.

    I get the impression you’re nothing more than a paid troll.

    • A Default

      What “principle” would that be and what experiments demonstrated a measurable force that was above the noise floor AND wasn’t similar to the measurable force seen in a dummy device?

      Science requires replication, none is apparent here, a sound theory and none is present here.

      What you have here is really nothing more than yet another perpetual motion machine, of which history has produced thousands and exactly zero have been shown to be anything but either outright fraud or erroneous testing at work.

      • jay_C

        Did the devices move? If so, how? If not please call Webster’s to redefine the definition of move.

        • A Default

          Did the same device without the features that are supposed to make it work also move, just as much?

          Did they provide 28W of input power to the device and generate movement? If so, congratulations on making something move if you provide input power.

          Now if they can just figure out why it worked just as well if not better without the feature that is supposed to provide the thrust.

          • http://www.lenrnews.eu/lenr-summary-for-policy-makers/ AlainCo

            in fact the null device is just refuting fetta’s theory, not EmDrive&variant reality.

            in the paper a variation of the reactor, removing the dielectric, don’t work.
            the blank test does not work either (an artifact is identified mesured and corrected, bellow the signal anyway)

            the dynamic response to microwave power and resonance is amazing.

            so to challenge that result, some work, some evidence is required.

            about theory, ther are 4 theory, and theory have never been more than a hint or an impediment in experimental matters.

            I perceive also a tea kettle argument, the desperate fallacy, when one cannot challenge a scientific result, claiming that it cannot be real because it is not yet usable and industrial and commercial and one my kitchen table.

            Nothing personal, those fallacy like call to theory, mix between refutation of theory and experiments, mix between breaking a fundamental law and breaking the usual interpretation, tea kettle fallacy, like, like also the call to consequence, the biased comparison with scientific error forgetting more frequent theoretical tragedy (Semmelweiss, quasiscientists, HTSC, semiconductors), call for total reproducibility at early stage instead of simple replications, are mainstream and even supported in public without shame…

            most don’t even understand that applying those fallacies to pas discovery would have (and often have) delayed discovery of half a century or more.

            as if making a mistake was more dangerous than preventing a discovery… funny.

          • jay_C

            “Did the same device without the features that are supposed to make it work also move, just as much?”

            The degrees to which they moved varied, which is interesting, and worth studying… But more importantly, why do any of them move?

            “Did they provide 28W of input power to the device and generate movement? If so, congratulations on making something move if you provide input power.”

            Nobody said this was a zero point energy machine. Of course it needs power to create microwaves.. The point is that it moved by only generating microwaves in the particular ways they set up the machines.

            “Now if they can just figure out why it worked just as well if not better without the feature that is supposed to provide the thrust.”

            Agreed, that is one thing. The other is why any of them, regardless of setup works at all.

      • http://www.lenrnews.eu/lenr-summary-for-policy-makers/ AlainCo

        this is teh 4th replication,

        and NO theory is not required. that is even hindering science when don too early.

        there are 4 theory it seems if you read latest wired article based on the full paper


        this result is intriguing, quite replicated with setup enough different, and enough cross checked to ruleout all proposed artifacts , so some respect for experimental science is required.

        some love to treat the experimenters as incomptent, I also often see people like Linus Pauling on quasiscientists, who get challenged by their oversimplification of the theory.

        both error are possible, not even considering an improbable violation of an evident symmetry of physics laws… as evident as the CP symmetry (which is indeed broken).

      • alysdexia

        Wrong: Howard Johnson, Markus Büttiker, Reidar Finsrud, Roderich W. Graeff.

  • Jennifer Fiche

    “Animals, which move, have limbs and muscles. The earth does
    not have limbs and muscles; therefore it does not move.”

    “The abolishment of pain in surgery is a chimera. It is absurd
    to go on seeking it…
    Knife and pain are two words in surgery that must forever
    be associated in the consciousness of the patient.”

    “This `telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously
    considered as a practical form of communication. The device is
    inherently of no value to us.”

    “What can be more palpably absurd than the prospect held out of
    locomotives traveling twice as fast as stagecoaches?”

    “Glorifying dubious shortcuts like Cannae Drive takes away attention
    (and, potentially, political support and funding) from the real
    space-exploration advances.”

    • davidbyrden

      You post a list of wrong quotes, and you include the author’s quote among them. Are we supposed to conclude that he is wrong, just because other people have been wrong?

      I could post a list of CORRECT quotes, and include the author’s quote among them. Heck, I could post a list of murderous dictators’ names, and include your name among them!

      Your argument, “this thing looks vaguely like those things”, seems to be illogical and open to abuse. Can you explain it please?

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5OWRRJh-PI&list=FLYJP3MjZQ-BJugrvyegfQ7Q&index=1&feature=plpp_video Alberto Knox

        It seems more that her argument is “Be sure you have all the data before making blanket statements.”

        I a confident in stating today that “Solar F***ing Roadways” is bunk. This microwave gizmos, however, dexerves a closer look if for no other reason that to understand how they got it wrong.

    • David_Evans

      “They laughed at Galileo. They laughed at Newton. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.”

      Carl Sagan

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5OWRRJh-PI&list=FLYJP3MjZQ-BJugrvyegfQ7Q&index=1&feature=plpp_video Alberto Knox

    This device is a long shot at best, but who can claim to know all there is to know and seriously call themselves a scientist or engineer? Yes, this sounds a little quirky (er, impossible), but the full paper is out now and I will reserve judgment until I’ve read and studied it. I won’t call it fake or mistaken until that’s proven in a lab, just like cold fusion was.

    On the other hand, I was taught about geosynclines forming mountain ranges long after “the kids” were all abuzz about tectonics. Truth doesn’t care what we think. It doesn’t care about our model. Truth lives in the data. To date those with data say there is an anomalous force. Others will see it if it exists.

    And I’ll resist buying this stock until then.

    • http://www.rufusgwarren.com/ Rufus Warren

      First, you must understand, until one see’s exactly what is there and make the correct inference from the data. One must first explore the carpet before one understands the pattern.

      • Guest

        I agree with the last bit but you can’t “understand” until you have verifiable repeatable data.We have to describe WHAT we are seeing before we can say WHY we are seeing it.

  • raresaturn

    All this hand-wringing is getting tiresome. When will we just admit that we don’t know everything about physics yet? This drive has been validated by five separate teams, all with positive results

  • David Cornett

    What space exploration and NASA need are big ideas. There is a reason that public support and funding for NASA are at a low: lack of ambition. I find it heartening that they do allocate some of their budget to what the author describes as “fringe science.” Every major scientific advancement started out as “fringe science.” Powered flight, relativistic physics, etc.

    This Cannae drive may turn out to be valid, or it may not. Time will tell. But this author seems to want it to fail, as it didn’t come from “big teams” that are well-funded. The author disparages the work of the lone inventor. It’s sad that the author can’t separate out valuable skepticism from his anti-disruption bias.

    • coreyspowell

      I have a long, long record of supporting boundary-pushing science, specifically including the fringe-science research programs at NASA. The amount of money devoted to these programs is small (as I note in my article), and the fringe is exactly where new discoveries are likely to be made.

      What I am opposed to is bad science, and bad science reporting; this story has a strong whiff of both, especially the latter. Excessive claims, insufficient openness, and wild hype are not helpful in exploring new ideas. Disruptive ideas need to be approached honestly and transparently, because it is very easy to fool yourself when you are seeking novel results on the scientific fringe. Most experiments that produce non-physical results are due to experimental error. Most inventions that claim to defy known physics prove to be the result of error or (in a few cases) intentional deception.

      I would love the EmDrive to be real–and that is exactly the danger. There are many people who would love it to be real, and they are letting emotion cloud their thinking. I made the point about the lone inventor because that is part of the emotional response here; just look at the tone of the media coverage, and of the responses here. We all love to root for the underdog. That is itself a bias.

      As i say, emotion should not matter. The EmDrive needs to be put to the exact same standard of proof as any other claim of breakthrough physics. The results that have been presented thus far do not come anywhere close to that standard.

    • davidbyrden

      David, are you discussing the drives, or the motives of Corey Powell?
      Because I, for one, came here to read about the drives.

  • HenryC

    The research is worthwhile if only to disprove certain Zero Point energy theories.

    • alysdexia

      Theories are proven and can’t be disproven.

      • davidbyrden

        Nope, it’s the other way around.

        • alysdexia

          A theory is a proven hýpothesis (proven by probability). After that it can be supplemented or complemented by other theories, but not overturned. Unless you can undo time.

          • http://www.rufusgwarren.com/ Rufus Warren

            stats only show correlation, correlation is not proof, could just be coincidence.

          • alysdexia

            All laws are founded on correlation.

            I suggest you go into some dictionaries and look up proof, prove, and probe.

          • http://www.rufusgwarren.com/ Rufus Warren

            If u say so; I must have missed that class on Jungian synchroncity.

  • Christopher Burgess

    OK. I finally read the entire paper in depth and there is a few things that I think should be said. First and foremost, this does not violate any conservation laws. It is not at odds with the known laws of physics, and quantum vacuum plasma, though I think it is poorly named, is a real phenomena. The design is, over simply put, a unique type of ion drive. It just creates the ions through quantum cavitations. The premise is that it is possible to induce the spontaneous creation of short lived temporary ionized particles that can then be accelerated via magnetic fields to produce thrust. Though they are not analogous, it might help to think of them as being similar to Hawking Radiation. On the other hand, the experiment was anything but exhaustive and some the results are ambiguous. Still, this research is not a waste of time. If anything, the paper presents strong evidence that more research is required. While I am certainly no expert, I still think this blog post was a knee jerk reaction prompted by I don’t know what. I am quite sure Corey is qualified to read and understand the paper. I was able to and he has a great deal more education and experience than I. I can only assume that he didn’t personally read it or there is something going on here that I am unaware of.

    • coreyspowell

      The key problem here is that the EmDrive (in its various incarnations) has yet to be tested by an objective third party, in a systematic way, with the results submitted to rigorous peer review. The full paper by White et al is available here:


      I looked for the discussion of instrumental calibration, attempts to measure sources of experimental error, evaluation of systematics. None of them are in the paper. There are no error bars. In the part of the paper where I would normally expect to find such a discussion there is instead a wildly premature flight plan to Mars and TItan using a scaled-up Cannae Drive. This is clearly not the work of dispassionate researchers trying to evaluate a technology objectively.

      What I find most exciting and encouraging is the part at the very end, where the JSC team describes plans to have teams at the Glenn Research Center and JPL do repeat tests. That is exactly what we need to find out if there is a real effect at work here.

      • Christopher Burgess

        I agree 100%.

  • BIGPoJo

    The Earth is flat, says the authorities. Light comes from our eyes, says the authorities. This drive can’t work, says authorities.

    • davidbyrden

      You posted a list of wrong statements and added “this drive can’t work”.
      I could post a list of CORRECT statements and add “this drive can’t work”.

      • BIGPoJo


        • davidbyrden

          For those readers over the age of 17; BIGPoJo is enquiring into my emotional state.
          If you must know; slightly sad.
          I am sad that you posted an illogical argument, attempted an invalid criticism, and don’t spell correctly.

  • ka9q

    A microwave transmitter *can* generate thrust. So can any other generator of directional photons — even a flashlight. That’s because photons carry momentum.

    It’ll just cost you about 300 megawatts of power for every newton of thrust, that’s all. If someone claims to do it with less, then it’s up to them to provide the repeatable, verifiable experimental evidence. These guys haven’t.

  • scott

    This is rubbish. They have know idea what they are 100% using to get this working. Microwaves hitting what now? To get the reaction. This is still on the table of working 100%. This post is written by wankers trashing Sonny & Paul’s work. Hype jealousy.

  • http://www.rufusgwarren.com/ Rufus Warren

    I thought we were looking for any manner to travel with the minimum loss of matter.

    • alysdexia

      One travels (< travail < trepale) on foot or by oar; otherwise one goes, fares, or wends.

  • http://www.rufusgwarren.com/ Rufus Warren

    Here’s a new idea, instead of the GR, why not use the same idea without speed limits on wave fronts for the EM fields that already exist in space. So can those fields be modified to give us a push or a pull?

    • davidbyrden

      A question like that could only be answered by using the theory of the Emdrive or the theory of the Cannae drive.
      As far as I know, peer-reviewed theories for the drives do not exist.

      The question therefore has no answer at present.

      • http://www.rufusgwarren.com/ Rufus Warren

        Oh, that’s what this is about, sort of lost track.

  • CRT

    Excellent article, my compliments. As always, a good measure of critical thinking helps to ease the soul in the search for truth. Thanks.

  • Myles Lyster

    Since no one has actually worked out the science behind the apparent thrust how can anyone say it violates any principle.

    • davidbyrden

      Because it’s possible to say that an object is acquiring momentum even if you have no idea how it does so.
      Similarly, it’s possible to say that a box is impossibly heavy without knowing its contents; by looking at its size from outside, you may work out that it’s denser than osmium.
      Now, when you investigate, you’ll probably find an explanation. Perhaps the box is being pulled down by a magnetic field. And, in the case of the Emdrive, the NASA team suggested that it’s obtaining momentum from the “quantum vacuum plasma”.
      Unfortunately, they don’t have a theory to show that you can do that.

  • weirdnoise

    There are all sorts of ways that a force as small as 30 micronewtons could be generated via experimental error. Interaction with the Earth’s magnetic field, for one. (Even a loop in the power cables driving the device could easily create the measured force.) Microwave leakage affecting the force measurement sensors for another. Yes, I’d assume they’d be aware of these possibilities and would attempt to eliminate such effects. Perhaps they were successful. But it’s going to take a lot more experiments and a lot more of measurements than what we’ve already seen to confirm these results.

    • http://www.lenrnews.eu/lenr-summary-for-policy-makers/ AlainCo

      you are right and this was measured as 10uN and corrected.

      they tested with a blank, a simple HF resistor to shunt the cavity.

      static electricity was considered and there was countermeasures…

      more strange is that it happen at cavity resonance which rules out many

      if there is an artifact it is not yet identified and seems linked to cavity resonance.

      more stange, in the full paper


      you see a (too discrete) paragraph about an early test when removing dielectric, that caused some effect to disappear.

      some people (citation needed) report since 1950s report of similar effect linked with microwave cavities and dielectric…

      as the null-drive (which all but a blank, it is a theory test, not a reality test) shows there is no strong evidence for Fetta’s theory.

      Shawyer computation seems to have predicted results more reliably, but basically no theory is convincing.

      Th dielectric effect is maybe the key

      • http://www.rufusgwarren.com/ Rufus Warren

        The transfer of particles and energy is no different than Faraday’s experiment, electrolysis. replace mass with a particle count, use the mass of a neutron or the mass of an electron and a proton as a unit of mass. Then replace every location within our units such that mass is removed. Figure out the circular reference in the definition of a Mole. The Media does not have to do anything or be anything to transfer energy from one point to another. It’s only based upon potential and the state of matter.

  • Hugo Galvão Ribeiro Arraes

    Its a shame.. its like the book “Hundert Autoren Gegen Einstein” (A Hundred Authors Against Einstein).

    I think he works accelerating Axions (Dark Matter) because microwaves can resonate whit it in some frequencies. (See ADMX, also written as Axion Dark Matter eXperiment).

    Theres no violation of conservation of momentum. Axions are (i think) the propeller…

    • davidbyrden

      In that book, every objection raised against the Relativity theory was wrong. (The book didn’t discuss any experiments.)

      So, you’re implying that objections to the Emdrive theory, are wrong.

      The main objection is explained here. Please tell us why it’s wrong? http://byrden.com/emdrive

      • Hugo Galvão Ribeiro Arraes

        Hi, in this link, it says:

        “Why are you so happy that I noticed the sides?

        Because the inventor of the Emdrive ignores them!”

        It took for granted that the force originate from microwaves pressing all the sides of the container.

        From the point of view that it has already been tested by multiple teams (China, NASA, etc), what it ignores is that, if neither the creator of emdrive knows how it works?

        We must expand the search for answers and not ignore the issue based on preconceptions, don’t be like the Hundred Authors.

        Lets talk about science… Like, what kind of phenomenon can correlate to microwave resonance in closed environment?

        Why not verify the Axions study? Or something else? This is science…

        And… at last:

        ‘There has been opposition to every innovation in the history of man, with the possible exception of the sword.’ — Benjamin Dana

        ‘Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.’ — Albert Einstein

        • davidbyrden

          >> “It took for granted that the force originate from microwaves pressing all the sides of the container.”

          Is that assumption wrong?

          >> “it has already been tested by multiple teams… if neither the creator of emdrive knows how it works?”

          Perhaps they were too credulous. Remember, they were spending tax money, not their own money.

          >> “don’t be like the Hundred Authors.”

          They were all wrong, and their errors are known. You did not show an error in the page that I linked.

          • Hugo Galvão Ribeiro Arraes

            The error in the page, i think, is to assume that its that the way that the emdrive works, while its just supposition. Nobody already know how it works.

          • davidbyrden

            But we’re not talking about how the Emdrive really works. We’re talking about the theory.

            The page finds an error in the Emdrive theory.
            The “hundred authors” do NOT find errors in the Relativity Theory.

            Therefore, the page is NOT like the “hundred authors” book.

        • http://www.rufusgwarren.com/ Rufus Warren

          mediocre minds are also opposed? At any rate correlation is statistics and luck not science.

        • LukesFather

          This guy raises questions that have already been addressed elsewhere and then drops the conversation when someone shows him proof that his concerns are unfounded.

          Here: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-08/07/10-qs-about-nasa-impossible-drive

          • Hugo Galvão Ribeiro Arraes

            The old always struggle before the new.

          • Corey S. Powell

            I wish that new Wired article really provided a good case for the EmDrive. In reality, it answers none of the scientific concerns. I’ll talk about that in a future post.

          • LukesFather

            Mr. Powell, I have a few things to say to this.
            One, there is a big difference between “provid[ing] a good case” and addressing concerns. You mention both like they are the same thing, but I hope we can agree they are not. The article is not trying to make a case, it is addressing concerns.
            Two, the article addresses those concerns very well. One concern is that the behavior observed does not conform to any known theory. The article makes the very important point that many discoveries are made before there is a theory to explain them. That concern was well addressed. Another concern is that the “null drive” produced thrust. The Wired article explains what the null drive is, and explained that the true control experiment did not produce thrust. That is also a good point.
            If you have concerns not addressed by the Wired article, I understand. However the Wired article directly and completely addresses the concerns raised by the commenter I was talking about. His concerns are ill-founded as I explained myself here and the Wired article explained in more detail. That doesn’t mean there aren’t valid concerns. It only means no one here has raised one.

    • subh

      I appreciate your analogy with the opposition that special relativity faced in its rising days. But I think that’s an intrinsic and important part of healthy science practice. Any radically new theory should pass every test, criticisms and scrutiny. It’s good that questions are being raised, and it was good that questions were raised on special relativity as well, and that it had to go through rigorous validations. That’s what keeps science free from corruption, intentional or unintentional. right?

  • Ron Prichard

    Oh, Mr. Wright. That craft is heavier than air. It can never get off the ground. It’s basic science.

    • davidbyrden

      Birds are heavier than air, Mr. Pritchard, so I’d really like to know the name and qualifications of the person who said THAT to Mr. Wright.

      • Ron Prichard

        perhaps a bad example, but there are numerous examples to be had of scientists told something would never work. for example:

        This `telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a practical form of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us. – Western Union internal memo, 1878Rail travel at high speed is not possible because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia. – Dr. Dionysus Lardner (1793-1859), Professor of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy at University College, London.


        • Ron Prichard

          and one more too good to resist:There is not the slightest indication that [nuclear energy] will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will. – Albert Einstein, 1932.

          • ericlipps

            And at the end of his life, an embittered Einstein, knowing what had been done with his work, doubtless wished that assessment had been correct–which, as of the time it was uttered, it was.

      • Ron Prichard

        Oh, and apologies for multiple posts, but Lord Kelvin said it would never fly:Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible. – Lord Kelvin (1824-1907), ca. 1895, British mathematician and physicist

        • davidbyrden

          Well, thank you for the name, though he obviously did not address himself to Mr. Wright.

          I don’t see that he – or any of your other examples – had anything more than incredulity to back them up.
          The objectors to the Emdrive, on the other hand, are backed by physical laws that have not been seen broken.

        • ericlipps

          That doesn’t prove anything in this case. NASA can’t afford to chase after every wild-eyed inventor’s miracle scheme; see my post above.

          • Ron Prichard

            of course not. but the people who advance science (and any other aspect of human life) are those willing to test the bounds of possibility rather than say ‘why try? it’s impossible.’

          • ericlipps

            True enough, but “the people who advance science (and any other aspect of human life)” also tend to be those who can admit when a cherished idea just isn’t going to work. That’s what separates them from crackpots and fanatics.

    • Corey S. Powell

      “People were wrong before, therefore people must be wrong this time, too.” That is not a logical argument, since it could be used to justify *any* statement that contradicts known science.

      And I should point out that many groups were attempting heavier-than-air flight at the time of the Wright Brothers, and multiple groups succeeded in rapid succession. The demonstrations were public and unequivocal. Many scientists had doubted whether heavier-than-air flight was practically feasible but–given the existence of birds–nobody doubted it was possible.

  • Greg Gallacci

    Science is exploration, yes, but it is also about what can be proven.
    If someone has violated any of the conservation laws, and it can be proven to be real, then scientists should examine the experiment and its results.
    There have been unexpected results (the only kind that teach anything!) that have lead science toward great discoveries.
    Science also has the ability to adopt new theories as our understanding of the universe grows.
    The history of science is littered with discarded theories. Theories are discarded solely for the reason that they did not ‘work’.
    So, rather than grumble about ‘unsound reasoning’ let’s roll up our sleeves and build something….if it doesn’t work, try again.
    But please, let’s put an end to the practice of using bad science in non-reviewed publications to foster support.
    This is the worst kind of side-show mentality, and not useful for anything but finding investors.
    Anyone who says “I have this Amazing Plan, all I need is the money” is not ‘doing science’.

    • ericlipps

      NASA, however, has to beg for money from a Congress stuffed with members who are scientifically illiterate, if not actually hostile to science. It has to prioritize, and spending money on schemes most of its own scientists doubt will ever work is a sure path to budget cuts.

  • j2saret

    Sounds like cold fusion or the dean device all over again

  • ZenGeekDad

    I thoroughly enjoyed the article. As usual, I am amazed at the range of posted comments. Some are grounded and articulate. And some are amazingly confident in their knowledge of science, despite its being based on the tropes of Hollywood and novels. There no shame in graciously admitting one’s limits of personal experience. Some here too can’t get past the seduction of “Yeah, but WHAT IF?!”

    Don’t misunderstand me. Scientists are, at our core, driven by breathless excitement for the possible more than you might ever imagine. But you don’t get to the stars (or atoms, or DNA, or photonic computing) by hopeful wonder alone. The reason no one has built a car that runs on water is NOT resistance to new ideas; it is because all the “Yeah but WHAT IF”s in the world cannot break the second law of thermodynamics.

    Breakthroughs do happen. But, in the last many decades, all the major fundamental science discoveries have been amendments to, not reversals of, prior theory. No one will ever invent the untoaster – which makes bread from toast – … it’s that second law of thermo again.

    Scientists are, for the vast most-part, not a bunch of egomaniacs protecting the Given Wisdom against the upstarts outside our towers. We see ourselves instead as devoted servants of the advancement of public knowledge for common good. And in that pursuit, we have learned from the countless lifetimes spent actually doing the work, that there are ways that best serve that advance. They are called The Scientific Method.

    That title may seem to imply a religious faith in its body of precepts, but it is actually its antithesis. Faith is about believing because you feel it is so. The scientific method is about discovering what may be true, given the data – and that data must be repeatable anywhere, anytime, by skeptic, adherent, and neutral observer alike.

    The hallmark of actual science – not the pop culture myth of science – is a dynamic interplay between wonder and skepticism, which in the end resolves the best currently-accessible understanding of the state of nature, regardless of any predisposed expectations by its practitioners.

    The heavy lifting of getting there involves a lot of careful, thoughtful, informed experimentation, measurement, interpretation, reporting, debate, and replication. There are basic concepts that the public is unburdened with, but would benefit to understand when engaging in this debate.

    For example, every experiment is run against a baseline, or blank, or reference, or placebo, etc. That way, if the measured effect occurs similarly in both the test case and the baseline, then the effect cannot have been caused by the studied variable. Say I add a “mileage enhancer” to my gas tank, then drive that tank empty, then
    spend another tank without the enhancer. If both tanks show a similar effect (say, a 3 mpg gain), then whatever was causing that, it cannot have been the “mileage enhancer.” Instead, some error in the experimental method caused the observed effect.

    The challenge of experimental method errors, or outside interferences, is so universal that it is pretty much where all the real work of discovery/invention gets done. So when the “blank” in the EmDrive study appeared to produce thrust, just like the test engine, that observation indicates not some revelation of science (which happen terribly infrequently), but some error in experiemental method (which happens insanely frequently). Seeing it the other way around is like saying “Maybe this magician really is doing actual magic.”

    • Bob Winterstein

      For the number of scientists who supposedly are involved in this blog, it’s disappointing how few adequately investigated White’s study. The ‘blank’ drive that did produce thrust merely had slits that Fetta said were necessary for thrust removed. Other than that, it was still powered. The test demonstrated that the slits were not necessary, not that the drive did not produce thrust.

      So much for the lecture about how scientists work. Seems to me most scientists are a bunch of lazy curmudgeon nay sayers who publicly make ill informed snap judgments about other scientist’s work. Perhaps this explains why there can be so many scientists and so few breakthroughs. When somebody like White sticks his neck out to investigate something, he gets unwarranted ridicule rather than curiosity, cooperative investigation and constructive feedback.

  • Sweaty Palms

    A black hole dissapates because when a virtual particle (proven to exist) appears at the event horizon, one half gets sucked into the hole and one moves away.

    It is completely feasible to add energy to half of a virtual particle that appears in the Cannae Drive or EmDrive while the other half remains on the outside of the engine. This would prevent the particles from annhiliating each other. It would also generate a push like the Casimir effect (also verified) . If the virtual particals were heated to high enough temperature it would be refered to as a plasma.

    There are several theoretical physicists who suggested this was feasible before these drives were made. This particular engine could be bogus but the attempt is based on sound ideas.

    It’s embarrassing to read this article. Clearly, the author doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about.

    • Corey S. Powell

      By extension, you are saying that Sean Carroll and John Baez, two of the world’s leading physicists, don’t know what they are talking about, nor do the overwhelming majority of their colleagues. It is possible that they are all wrong, true, but I will need to see some very convincing evidence before I believe it.

      • Bob Winterstein

        OBW There were 2 null test articles. Where were your physicist buddies on that point? The null test article with slits wasn’t suppose to work according to Fetta, but otherwise it was identical and still provided thrust when it was powered. It demonstrated that Fetta was wrong about the necessity of slits. That’s it.

        The other null test didn’t use a horn ‘resonator’ but still emitted EM. It did not provide thrust. They also used a heat producing test article to see if it was heating that was generating the force. That also did not produce thrust. They also reversed the test article and it did provide thrust in the correct direction.

        Good point about the ambiguity of a vacuum test. That’s the biggest problem with these drives and everyone should have waited until several different labs had results from pure vacuum tests before making any announcements.

        The mocking about the the term ‘quantum vacuum virtual plasma’ is a douche bag’s comment. There are many virtual particles. White was referring to quantum vacuum virtual charged positive/negative particles/antiparticles. I realize that’s a stretch because those particles don’t act like a plasma. But I get it. Your physicist goons seem to be suggesting that because they’ve never heard of it, that it doesn’t exist, and they are using the opportunity to bully White on their theoretical physicist’s playground. So, give it a more appropriate name but saying it’s made up misses the point and comes across as ignorant bullying.

        Sawyer is confused about the conservation of momentum but not White. White is not suggesting there is a greater push on the rear large face of the resonating horn than the smaller front face and that the waves don’t apply a force to the oblique angles of the horn. White is suggesting that there is energy in the horn that could be taking advantage of quantum vacuum particles. That’s not a good explanation but he is not proposing the drives are violating the laws of nature. There isn’t a good explanation for high temperature super conductors either, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work.

        Bottom line, the idea of adding energy to virtual particles to separate them and then use the particles for power isn’t new, but you, Carroll and Baez seem to think it is.

        Why doesn’t your little posse of skeptics break out a fresh box of chalk and figure out mathematically, within the range of possible values for the energy in the quantum vacuum, if there is enough there to split particle/antiparticles and provide thrust. That’s using science, not bully tactics.

  • Simon Derricutt

    That you can create thrust with photons is well-enough established to have entries in the Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photon_rocket and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_photonic_rocket . The Cannae drive and EMDrive ideas are around 6-10 orders of magnitude greater thrust than this, though. NASA factor in light-pressure in calculating the orbits of asteroids etc. but these are small corrections and we’re looking at the effects of years of accumulated acceleration to see a difference.

    Since the thrust measured is so small and could be a systematic error from the vacuum enclosure or some other source, a true test of this motor would need to be done in space. This would of course also cost more and would also delay a possibly more-deserving experiment from going up to the ISS. By giving a definitive result, though, it would tell us whether the idea is worth continuing with or canning it as a bad idea. The question is not whether photonic propulsion will work, it’s whether this method is so much more effective than the brute-force method of producing a very high photon-flux.

    If it in fact works by ionising and accelerating the remanent atoms that will exist in space (or the vacuum chamber), and therefore works in practice even though its stated theory of operation is wrong, it may still be useful. For satellites in Earth orbit, where there will be a higher density of such atoms anyway, it could extend the lifetime of satellites that at the moment are killed when they run out of fuel for orbit corrections.

  • JamesSeddon

    I’ve got to say, this, as an article, seems very unbalanced. The statement “there was plenty of extra energy bouncing around that could have been a source of error” notionally invalidates his original criticism. If this energy could create “erroneous” thrust, it would be able to create the desired form of thrust too. “has yet to be vetted by any independent researchers” just shows that Powell hasn’t done his research. The EmDrive has been tested by other groups, namely Zhu et al. in 2008, which also measured a thrust from the setup (and well above the noise floor, too).
    I’m also surprised at the statement about “lone inventors” which comes with a rather sneer-ish tone. Vast quantities of our scientific knowledge come from individuals working more or less alone (for example Newton with the Principa Mathematica, laws of motion and theory of gravitation; Einstein with relativity, Galileo with a non-geocentric universe etc…). The fact that an individual may have come up with something that hadn’t been considered before shouldn’t be a surprise.
    With regards to the derision for the whole idea due to EWL’s reference to ‘quantum vacuum virtual plasma’, this isn’t something that Shawyer has put forward himself, as he claims it operates using photonic momentum (a proven concept), meaning that it is in fact not a reactionless drive (thus keeping it within the bounds of conservation of momentum laws).
    The suggestion that the ability to measure force to single-unit uN scale also suggests (to me at least) that the author has no personal scientific experience. It is very possible to measure these kinds of forces and has been done to smaller scales before using less sophisticated equipment.
    The idea that space exploration is supposed to be “expensive, difficult and time-consuming” is frankly indicative of a mindset that puts results second to ‘the challenge’ which is possibly even more dangerous for science than people having a rush of blood over a new idea.
    Having actually read Shawyer’s paper, the idea seems at the very least plausible – and the barrage of people shaking both heads and fists about it seems bizarre in that the whole principle of scientific thought is to entertain and test rather than reject as a knee-jerk reaction regardless of evidence or personal bias (or in some cases, what seems like more than a hint of professional jealousy).

  • Maciej Marosz

    I solved secret EMdrive ( simple test in home !!! )

    Joul/meter^3 = Newton*meter/meter^3 = Newton/meter^2

    part 1

    part 2

    MAROSZ – open chamber !!! EMdrive
    ( without relativistic idiotic paradx )

    I’m engineer I respect Si units
    below engine is ready for NOBEL prize


    Thank you for support my ART many bad people killing me and other people who not repeat unlogic methods and not naturals ideas

  • Steven Brykman

    Can I interest anyone in a nice can of cold fusion?

  • Gabe

    Man presents new, possibly revolutionary, technology and principle to the way we react with the physical world and this guy comes in with, “mumbo jumbo.” Essentially saying hey I just read this thing here and idk what just happened or what you did so must be wrong.

    Thanks for the useless input, we are going to move on and see what comes of this.

    • Corey S. Powell

      The only scientific way to approach a claim that defies known physics is with skepticism. Otherwise you start from the position of believing every incredible claim. That way lies UFOs, bigfoot, ESP, miracle cures, etc. I completely agree, let’s see what comes comes of this. But the only way to find out for real is to set meaningful standards for the evidence.

      • Gabe

        I don’t disagree with the need for questions and skepticism. However, using diatribe to negate results is neither professional or progressive. I believe we agree on what really matters, and that is good.

      • Bob Winterstein

        Reading your blog article was a waste of time because you didn’t bother doing adequate research before slinging dirt. The problem with uninformed skepticism is it wastes everyone’s time. Researchers waste time countering ignorant criticisms, and discussion goes nowhere when the skeptics don’t have an adequate understanding of the concepts.

        Your null drive comment was a waste. You could have used the opportunity to validate that White did test variations in the different drives to determine parameters for thrust and aside from not conducting them in a vacuum, it was a good test and a notable step in the journey to determine if these drives are for real.

        The quantum vacuum virtual plasma comment was a waste. You could have pointed out that quantum field theory suggests that positive and negative charged particles are constantly popping into existence and annihilating, but that they don’t act like a plasma. You could have posed the question, “is White suggesting that there is a plasma of particles (that started out as virtual particles) inside the drive?”

        You could have talked about Hawking Radiation, the Casimir Effect, the range of possible values for energy in the vacuum of space and how much energy it would take to create/separate virtual particles and make them real, as well as the limitations of using such particles for thrust. You could have also pointed out that if virtual particles where being used that this could be measured. One likely side effect of using energy to create particles is the drive would gain weight as it generated thrust, and particles would be detected outside the drive. There would be a measurable charge. You could setup a cloud chamber and watch the charged particles if this were really occurring. etc.

        Your comment about conservation of momentum is well understood, but you don’t repudiate Shawyer on his own ground. You could have addressed the main tenant of the EmDrive, that EM waves reflecting off the large rear face of the drive are producing more force than waves reflected off the smaller front face and that the waves don’t transfer a force to the oblique angles of the horn. Do you understand how White is using relativity to explain the effect? Where is the error in his claim? Have your Physicist buddies weigh in with plain English and you’ll make us all smarter.

        Bottom line, you didn’t add to the understanding of the issues but made weak and erroneous accusations based on attempts to discredit organizations and people.

        Hopefully, as the ill informed skeptic, you won’t waste more time, upon realizing the errors of your original stance, with strategic back pedaling and twisting the original points to save face. This will only further confuse the issues and continue arguments that shouldn’t have existed in the first place.

        • coreyspowell

          You clearly have a lot of background knowledge and interest in the subject. Now I hope you will do the hard work. Stop “slinging dirt” as you put it (you call me & the entire world scientific community lazy and ignorant–I mean, really) and explore the details of scientific method. There really are good reasons why science works the way it does!

          The objections by Carroll and Baez (who are, I might point out, two of the smartest and most thoughtful physicists I know) center on the premature and poorly framed claims around these various permutations of the EmDrive. Both Shawyer and the NASA team report measurements without properly documenting sources of error, and both teams try to explain the results by invoking new physics and new, undefined terms.

          Has the EmDrive been shown to work? We don’t know yet because it has not been tested by neutral parties with a clear accounting of possible sources of error. Does the theory behind the EmDrive make sense? We don’t know because the various ideas have not been presented in a clear and systematic way, but rather in vague conversational language; that’s why Baez, in frustration, calls it “mumbo jumbo.”

          In short, there is a staggering mismatch between the claims and the evidence. As Carl Sagan often said, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. That is the point of my post–to add some balance and give an
          appropriate perspective on these intriguing but, so far, extremely
          preliminary and incomplete tests.

          • Bob Winterstein

            I am familiar with the resounding guffaw scientists use in the name of the scientific method. That’s not science. It’s laziness and counterproductive.

            You keep harping on the lack of data about the sources of error. There is plenty of information available about sources of error in White’s tests. If you care to look at their results, the thrust was well above the noise. (Carroll obviously didn’t look at the test results before commenting for your blog… lazy). The evidence from four documented tests suggests, given the circumstances and configurations, there is thrust. It’s worth further investigation and not a dismissive scoff.

            There could be any number of errors in the Em/Cannae drive test rigs that haven’t been identified yet, such as atmospheric heating or magnetic fields interacting with the test environment to name a couple possible candidates. In my opinion it’s not unlike cold fusion and faster than light neutrinos and worth getting people worked up so that other labs will quickly try to replicate the results and sort out if it is for real.

            How many times in the history of science have test results defied explanation? ALL THE TIME!!!! Experimental error identification and/or theory eventually catch up. Pointing the finger at Shawyer, Fetta, White, and the Chinese and saying, “your mumbo jumbo explanations don’t make sense so these drives are bogus,” is following the protocol a lot of scientists have used throughout history, but that is not part of a constructive scientific process. Although, it is nice to have guys like that around who make quotes that can be thrown back in their faces when they are shown to be wrong. But, if the drives work, they don’t need a good explanation why. Theory will eventually catch up.

          • coreyspowell

            I have no idea where this anger is coming from. I get the impression there is a personal story here. But you bring up an important point that I want to address. As you say, test results defy explanation all the time. If every error, mismeasurement, and cherry-picked result were reported as a revolutionary discovery, accompanied by a variety of novel theoretical explanations, the result would be chaos and confusion, not enlightenment.

            Skepticism in the face of improbable results is the most appropriate and constructive way to move forward and identify the real breakthroughs.

  • Corey S. Powell

    Just a few quick thoughts:

    * Noting that scientific authorities were wrong before does not provide any kind of evidence in favor of the EmDrive. All it says is that scientists are fallible–which is exactly why one should approach audacious claims with a healthy dose of skepticism.

    * No educated person in the history of Western civilization has claimed that the Earth is flat, and certainly that claim never came from anyone whom we would, in modern terminology, call a scientist. The idea that scholars once thought the Earth is flat is a myth popularized by Washington Irving, among others. And again, see point #1.

    * When the Wright Brothers built there plane, nobody doubted that heavier-than-air flight is possible (since, um, birds exist). What people doubted is whether it was technologically achievable. Multiple groups demonstrated it, publicly, in rapid succession. The theory behind powered flight was clear and well established. If the EmDrive similarly was supported by well-established science and then demonstrated openly, repeatedly, and convincingly by competing groups–yes, that *would* be convincing evidence.

    • Skunkworks_FTW

      So, therefore, only time will tell… it’s too new to even suggest that the critics, or the supporters are right. But, it has the backing of a multi billion dollar corporation, that has done nothing but expand since the early 2000’s… maybe you really should look into all the companies involved in the construction behind the manhattan project… then tell me Lockheed Martin isn’t up to the same game.

  • Cliff Stamp

    The Cannae Drive is indeed B.S. of the first order. However, where does Newton fall on the spectrum of “…large teams, not the tinkering of lone inventors”–or how about Edison? Did Einstein has a huge team helping him develop his theories? Certainly the Manhattan Project was staggeringly big in terms of humanpower and resources. But…the groundwork? Was he a tinkerer too? Thomas Edison or Tesla? Tinkerers, too? As we must be cautious of foolish optimism, perhaps derision isn’t useful either. “Tinkerers” was an appellation that otherwise marred a good article. Pity.

    • coreyspowell

      Point well taken. I was too derisive in my use of that word. As you say, many important scientific advances have resulted primarily from a single person’s insight.

      What raises a red flag for me is that Shawyer is creating his own theory, building his own device, and then testing it himself–all without presenting these ideas openly for the usual, healthy peer critique. That is asking too much of any one person, no matter how good his motivations. It is too easy to fool yourself, to come up with ideas that sound reasonable but don’t hold together, and so on. Even Edison and Einstein never attempted anything like this.

      This kind of story has great personal appeal–which is why it also figures in so many movies–but it’s not a realistic way to make progress. On the contrary, it is an effective way to sew confusion and spread erroneous data and ideas. That’s what I was trying to say, but I should have been more clear and less emotional in the way I said it.

    • Skunkworks_FTW

      cannae drive is not “indeed” bs… it’s just a less efficient version of the real thing, that skunkworks is developing.

  • Andrew Brown

    I’m in the camp of reserving conclusions, with intrigue and a hefty dose of skepticism. I have also read the full report, where as most seem to have only read the abstract. In it, bashing the null device test becomes a bit less convenient. Because it only shows that the inventor was incorrect in believing slots within the chamber are responsible for the thrust.
    Thrust was measured on 3 devices, The Cannae drive, one with, one without slots, and a tapered chamber like the EmDrive. And electrical interference was measured with a 50ohm load as another control. The thrust devices measured forces about 6x the electrical interference on the 50ohm test.

    The tests were not done under vacuum because of limitations of the test drive’s capacitors. Future tests will fix that. Either way force was measued the instant power was applied, so it is unlikely for air currents to build up forces that quickly.

    All we can say for sure right now is there is something anomalous, and more tests are required to validate/invalidate the results. That will also be carried out at other facilities with their equipment. Thats why NASA hasn’t announced a discovery. The report of little more that an announcement of current activity and a call for a few more eyes on the problem.

    • http://www.lenrnews.eu/lenr-summary-for-policy-makers/ AlainCo

      more data that confirm you catious position



      the experiments seems solid until proven else.

      at least better designed than the armchair critics.

      I don’t say it works. There is some challenge about scaling it up.
      there is intriguing evidence the key factor is microwave resonance, and dielectric.

      any critics that don’t account for that and explain why the artifact happens only at resonance frequency and when there is a dielectric, can be safely ignored.

      • Andrew Brown

        Thanks. There’s still a long way to go, but it’s nice to see some of the people behind it addressing the critiques posed by the public and the progress they are making towards improving the test rig. Hopefully by this time next year, for better or worse, the matter will be settled.

      • Corey S. Powell

        No question, the claim is intriguing and deserves a thorough, careful investigation. If there really is a new effect at work here, that would be a fantastic and important discovery.

        But you’ve got the scientific process wrong. New discoveries can only falsify existing theory, and they can do so only if demonstrated with extreme credibility (with “extreme” being a somewhat culturally defined term, admittedly). It is incorrect to say that new results should be accepted as true until proven otherwise. If that were the case, there would be a nearly limitless number of competing “truths” floating around, waiting for someone to shoot them down.

  • Chandana Nimal Sepala Yoga

    Help Me

  • Chandana Nimal Sepala Yoga

    Help Me Space Meditation

  • Rich

    As an observer of the scientific advancement that have occurred over the last 150 years I think some reflection would be useful. The “laws” of physics are referenced by people that defend the statusquo of science

    • Corey S. Powell

      You say, “Skepticism is an absolute requirement for any scientist as is imagination.” I agree 100%. Skepticism is the only sensible reaction in the face of an incredible claim. I would love to see the EmDrive/Cannae Drive validated. Believe it or not, so would Drs. Carroll and Baez. There is nothing more thrilling than a new discovery, a new mystery, a path toward greater understanding.

      BUT extraordinary claims must be supported with extraordinary evidence. If you let go of that principle, then you end up chasing every spurious result and every speculation, no matter how marginal. You get so much noise that you will never be able to single out the important breakthrough. The heated (perhaps overheated) responses from Carroll and Baez are not because they fear new ideas; if you read up on them, you will see that they both spend their lives chasing new ideas. What got them upset was the stark mismatch between the scope of the claim here and the quality of the evidence.

      The NASA team unfortunately contributed to the problem by failing to include a formal accounting of potential errors in their paper; instead they included a wildly premature analysis of how to use a Cannae Drive to go to Mars. They also were not content to focus on their measurement, but also invented a nonsensical new theory (invoking words that have no accepted scientific definition) to explain their reported result. That approach calls into question the objectivity of their whole effort.

      Finally, no scientist, ever, stated that heavier-than-air flight was impossible (at least, no scientist who had ever seen a bird or a housefly). There were many people who doubted it was practically feasible. Some of them made ridiculously overconfident statements to that effect. But since we are talking about theory here, it’s important to be precise about the ideas and the history behind them.

      • Skunkworks_FTW

        The quality of the evidence was not even submitted to the public, for obvious reasons. It’s all been redacted. The full scope of experimentation on this device obviously has been redacted as well… don’t be stupid. These large bodies are not going to just release every nuance of their findings to the public. What they do want to create is wonder and amazement, and interest in new ideas, that have the potential to “ACTUALLY WORK”. You think these companies are going to invest in inventions that are completely hot air?? I just don’t see why NASA and Lockheed Martin would be willing to risk sinking themselves and their reputations all for this little tiny project.

  • Skunkworks_FTW

    The EmDrive has been built and tested by multiple organizations, including skunkworks. There’s pictures, and all kinds of evidence for its existence.

    Just because they don’t actually understand how it works, doesn’t mean it’s not something that warrants further investigation and refinement.

    The first light bulb powered by electricity was so dim, it was impractical for use with… anything… It was invented by a guy in his garage. “laboratory”.

    The first personal computer, practical for use by the masses, was invented by a guy in his garage…

    What do you have against guys in their garages?

    Sean Carroll, while being an amazing Astronomer, and Astrophysicist, and a brilliant man, has not produced one single invention of his own volition. So, I am not at all calling him inept… but I do not think he’s the best resource to be taking advice on an invention like this. This is real world, practical, and applicable stuff we’re talking about. Not dark matter theory.

    Harold White, of SKUNKWORKS… yes that’s right Skunkworks… the team that developed the goddamn SR-71 if you call that “abstract propulsion” because it nearly melted the plane every time it flew then yeah… ok their work isn’t that credible. You derp.

    Maybe the testing of the drive went something like this:

    1) Researcher turns on aparatus

    2) Sees that drive works as described by inventor

    3) Proclaims “yep, it works”

    4) Goes home and enjoys the evening doing whatever it is engineers do after a hard days work.

    I don’t think they were testing an interstellar drive at this point, which would have cost billions to develop… they were testing a simple mockup for the principle of the EmDrive… which they deduced works. And since they’re working for Skunkworks, I’m inclined to believe them.

    I don’t think the drive breaks the laws of physics, I just think they don’t understand how it works.

    The ABSTRACT of the paper on the Cannae did NOT state that the apparatus worked without the cavity. It stated that THREE tests were done. One with the with the grooves, which was expected to work. One without the grooves which was expected to work, and one WITHOUT THE FRIGGING THRUST CAVITY… THAT is the one that did not work… which was expected. You dolt.

    The methodology was unclear for the tests because… they’ve already stated that they don’t know exactly how it’s working, but that it does. It doesn’t matter what the methodology in it’s exact nature is, and study of that methodology is probably going to go on for a long time to come. Rest assured that that study is going to be good old fashioned, rigorous, valid, scientific study too… not some “mumbo jumbo”… as you call it.

    That’s why they call it an abstract, and not the real guts of what actually went on in the lab.

    I absolutely hate it when writers misquote official documents readily available online, expecting that nobody is going to read the actual references.

    I’m sorry but EagleWorks, a division of Skunkworks, a division of friggin Lockheed Martin, is just not something you can scoff at as if they’re a bunch of lone inventors in their mad scientist labs. That part of the article needs to be redacted immediately. It is a great insult to the impressive work they do.

    Here’s what NASA, yes that’s right NASA itself calls the QVPT:


    Here is an actual article, ON the NASA website, describing EAGLEWORKS’ QVPT theoretical drive, thus can be derived the reason that Fetta et al are calling it that. Even though it might not be exactly that.


    Sounds like you’re on the party line with big governments that want to spend big budgets, on wasteful projects, that could have been done in half the time, with twice the efficiency by corporations or smaller entities such as subsidiaries of Skunkworks with smaller teams that are working hard every day for the betterment of all mankind… or so we can deliver guided bombs to our enemies faster and more efficiently… whichever… but you get my meaning.

  • NukeDoc

    The only true ignorance comes from people who have already made up their mind about the emergence of a given scientific claim (i.e. “This idea is bull-“).

    “You can’t violate the conservation of momentum” is a valid objection. I said objection. Not discreditation. Consider ALL these:
    -This idea does not violate conservation laws due to some unknown physical process.
    -Our understanding about the mechanics behind momentum are flawed.
    -This idea does violate conservation laws and is not valid.

    If we think this idea is bunk, prove it. More testing.
    If we think this idea is valid, prove it. More testing.
    In summary: What you think is irrelevant. The answer is experimental data…which real scientists are in the process of obtaining.

    Sometimes theories precede their application. Sometimes phenomena precede their theory.

    6 years in physics academia tought me at least one thing: physicists can be viciously bigoted towards any outside/creative/competing ideas. Einstein knew all about such bigotry as it was aimed at him until he shut the naysayers up.

    • Corey S. Powell

      I think you and I are in total agreement, actually. From my article above:

      “Nobody claims that our current understanding of physics is complete, and the things we do not know could be vast. At the same time, the important point here is that the things we do know are also vast. Overthrowing centuries of well-established ideas about how the world works is not something to be done lightly—certainly not on the basis of a single paper that has yet to be vetted by any independent researchers.”

      The objections from Baez and Carroll had nothing to do with new and untested ideas–they deal in such things every day. Pretty much Carroll’s entire career is based on new and untested ideas! What they objected to–and what I do, too–is giving the Cannae Drive a free pass from the normal standards of “prove it” because the idea sounds cool and it would be fun if it works. Believing in something without adequate evidence because you like it is no better than disbelieving in something because you don’t like it. Either way, it’s not a path to intellectual progress.

      The onus is on Shawyer, Fetta, and those testing the devices to perform open, meticulous tests that others can then repeat and validate. The tests and results reported by the NASA team are a start, but only a very small and incomplete one.

  • PacificMaelstrom

    I can fly from Europe to the Caribbean in hours, but does that mean I am disrespecting Columbus? Conventional methods are safe and proven, but expensive and inefficient. But imagine if this really does work… how much money will we waste on “safe” before we spend the money to get it off the ground? Simply put, good engineering is all about finding and taking that “easy way out” which the author scoffs at.

    • IgnoranceBeater

      The issue here is not engineering. If that were the only thing, it would already be far more palatable. We’re talking about a fundamental law of nature, however.

      Your example of Columbus has nothing to do with it, thus. No natural law was broken by you going over the big dipper, whether in boat or by plane.

      The reasoning you use is impossible to uphold. “Imagine” for the some token, every claim that has been made by people claiming they invented perpetuum mobile machines. How much money will we waste before we get eternal free energy?

      Problem with that: it’s imaginary. How much money would we waste in researching all these machines, knowing full well there is no chance it will work, or our universe wouldn’t be able to exist as it is today?

      You must realise, that saying ‘I have a machine that can violate natural laws’ or saying ‘I have an invisible unicorn in my garage that can do magic’ is about the same. Would you then suggest we research any claims of invisible unicorns and other imaginary creatures and concepts too?

      “Extra-ordinary claims require extra-ordinary evidence”. The evidence in this case has been plainly unsatisfying, let alone extra-ordinary.

      • PacificMaelstrom

        A natural law is a model that describes nature. Newtons “laws” are technically wrong. As I understand it, this device is speculated to apply energy to the quantnum vacuum, causing virtual particles which are constantly poping in and out of existance, to become real long enough for the device to push against them. “Extrordinary claims require extrordinary evidence” is just a way of saying “I dont believe it so shut up.” No. Nasa tested it and Worked. Those who keep beating the dead unicorn and saying “it violated conservation of momentum” arent paying attention, because NO ONE is saying that. I took college physics too, and basically we dont know sqat about the universe. Upper level physics is full of string theory rot and rigid conformism. How much money goes into string theory? ALOT. How many experiments have supported string theory? NONE AT ALL. (In fact several have disproved major versions of it.) How many experiments have supported the EMdrive? AT LEAST 3. Who is talking about unicorns now?

        • IgnoranceBeater

          Actually, Newtons law is not wrong, it resurfaced as a special case in Einsteins’ relativity. One can argue it was not finetuned; aka, it was not completely correct in the details (when circumstances are so extreme, Einsteins’ relativity provides more correct answers), but as a whole it isn’t wrong in the sense that the law suddenly turns out to be invalid and useless. It still works. Einsteins theory works better.

          This, in contrast to the issue at hand. First of all, you are wrong in your assessment. While the NASA team suddenly comes up with ‘virtual vacuum plasma’ (which does not exist: one could as well say ‘invisible unicorn magic’), the real point here is, that the original creator himself is adamant that it follows normal physics, not quantum mechanics. Another problem is, that even in quantum mechanics, momentum is still not lost or created, thus even within that frameset, it’s impossible to explain. Virtual particles do no become real through microwave-radiation, and even if they did, the moment they would become real, they would impart their momentum randomly on all sides, and thus no directional thrust would be created.

          It’s simply non-explicable, unless you invent completely new physics. However, new physics would still have to adhere to what we can observe in the universe, and anything that would allow a perpetuum mobile (and generating momentum from nothing would allow that), would also make it impossible for our universe to exist.

          So, no, “extra-ordinary claims require extra-ordinary evidence” is not ‘just a way to say shut up’, it is saying exactly what it means: if you make an extra-ordinary claim, you must provide extra-ordinary proof for that claim. And I think we both agree that the claim, which would break a natural law, is pretty extra-ordinary. What it is saying, thus, is unless more rigorous proof is delivered, there is no use going on a wild goose-chase. First they need to eliminate far more likely causes that would explain the anomaly. For starters, testing it in a high vacuum, would be a good start.

          This seems only logical to me, since otherwise, with the same reasoning, every wacko who claimed he has found a perpetuum mobile or other highly implausible claim should still be researched. Budgets and manhours are limited, however, so it makes sense to spend it on things that are more likely, then on things that are extremely unlikely, like this – or, the proof must be of sufficient level to warrant it. Does string theory get too much money? Mayhaps. But even so, they do not claim to be breaking the fundamental laws of nature. If anything, if they ever manage to find a ToE, things like general relativity will be incorporated into it (just like Newtons’ law was with Einsteins’ relativity), as a correct, but incomplete form of the same. It will not *invalidate* and completely reverse what we have observed thusfar. This, in contrast with a machine who preserves momentum. This can not be incorporated into anything; it would need us to throw everything into the bin, and rewrite the complete physics.

          Three experiments, you say. But all three have been done pretty lousy. Even the NASA one. That’s what the authors and others well versed in the subject matter have been telling all along. It’s not that they are ‘against’ it; they would love it to be true. It’s just that the experiments thusfar, are done too shoddy to give any credence to it. It is FAR more likely that the anomaly has other causes, then a complete misunderstanding of the fundamental forces that have turned out to be true for the last century. For starters, and I’ve said so numerous times by now, they should test it in a vacuum, and with all other possible causes being eliminated (which has been pointed out by the critics).

          Three, five or even a dozen experiments prove nothing if they are not done well. They have to come up with something far more convincing than what they have provided up until now; that’s what the expression of the ‘extra-ordinary claims’ actually means.

          Edit: just read your link to the update, thanks for the info. They seem to claim they had success in a vacuum as well. If true, then this rules out airflow. One other plausible cause could still be thermal recoil force. It wouldn’t be the first time that introduced an anomaly: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pioneer_anomaly

          Rest assured, though, that if the replication effort of the Glenn Research Center they talk about confirms all findings, and no other more viable explanation for the anomaly pops up, the scientific community will have enough incentive to replicate the experiment en masse. That said, don’t hold your hope up. It’s still more likely to turn out to be some error in either the experiment/measurement or the calculations, then we’ve suddenly discovered new physics.

          But still, by then it would be warranted to delve into it a bit more, yes. We’ll see.

          PS2. Now that I have a better look at it, it’s not the start of a paper, merely a forum post. (I was already wondering why I didn’t hear of this new paper coming out). Now, all good and well, but first I’ll have to see the paper detailing how and with what parameters they have tested it again, before re-evaluating it.

          • PacificMaelstrom

            It just got tested again. This time in a vacuum:

            And it worked again.

            Much of the criticism seems to be about the lack on an explanation within established physics, as if we already know everything.

            On what basis do you say these experiments were all poorly conducted? NASA is just a bunch of chumps, is that it?Have you investigated what they actually did? Could you do better?

            This isnt your usual free energy crap with only anecdotal evidence about a device that is shrouded in secrecy… this is out in the open, with more than three independent tests. Shawer is not involved with the nasa tests at all… NASA and the chinese both built their own devices.

            I looked very hard, and I havent seen any evidence that suggests it DOESNT work. Every new test comes out positive. Only misinformed people like you thinking they know better because they studied basic physics.

          • IgnoranceBeater

            That has nothing to do with it. (and please remain civil in your responses, I could as well say you are a misinformed person who lacks even the understanding of basic physics, but what do insults, veiled or not, contribute, but making the discussion more clouded and more of a personal tit-for-tat?) I don’t quite understand why you have such trouble understanding this: it’s perfectly logical to demand more proof, before committing money, labour and time to something which is extremely implausible.

            NASA doesn’t have to be a bunch of chumps, nor fraudsters, to be able to make errors – most probably even unwittingly. The guys of CERN aren’t a bunch of chumps neither, yet, some claimed their experiment showed faster than light travel. Turned out to be wrong, and it was due to a fault of their measuring instrument they overlooked. So what does that tell us? That even guys who are not a bunch of chumps can make blunders and err. This is why they need to replicate it, while removing the more plausible explanations the critics already pointed out. They seem to be starting to do that, finally using a vacuum. They need to provide a far more detailed report, however, for others to make any further conclusion about the new testing and claims.

          • PacificMaelstrom

            On the contrary I do demand more tests, but in order to have that we cant have everyone dismissing the idea as impossible? Spending a (comparatively very small) amount of money to conclusively test an idea that has been sucessful in multiple tests by independent organizations (Cern was just one. Do they all have the same loose wire?) does not seem unreasonable to me at all. It seems more unreasonable to hide behind “free energy” and “cold fusion” strawmen which have nowhere near the track record of this device, but then coming into this cold I can see why you might naturally assume that kind of thing. I see you are backing off of your certianty from earlier posts… I encourage you to actually look into it. This forum has conversations with the actual scientists doing the nasa experiment, and they explain how they accounted for things like air currents and magnetic forces.
            Its not that im not skeptical, because I am, but I am also hopefull, and so far so good. The vacuum test is pretty big. This is an old article we are commenting on.

          • http://www.lenrnews.eu/lenr-summary-for-policy-makers/ AlainCo

            you have a bgood position, but you are clearly misinformed on cold fusion (alias LENR).

            it is not only massively validated, the claimed debunking never hapened, and it is getting industrial.

            here is the birth of the myth that LENR was debunked


            some synthesis on evidences


            and industrial tests


            trigger industrialists moves


            your wishes were granted since long, and in 1992 there was massive evidences on LENR and no surviving artifact theory…
            hope of practical application only apeared around 2012, with some exaggeration…
            EmDrive is much less validated tha cold fusion.

            it is interesting to consider how reality can be so different from consensus ?

          • PacificMaelstrom

            E-cat is made by rossi, and he hasnt let it out of his sight and kept its specifications secret. I didnt see any tests where a device was independently constructed and rossi was not involved. The emdrive, on the other hand, has been independently constructed and tested by 4 different groups including shawer. Thats a huge difference. LENR e-cat is not nearlt as well varified.

          • http://www.lenrnews.eu/lenr-summary-for-policy-makers/ AlainCo

            just a point the recents reactors were build by Tom Darden company, Industrial Heat, it is official.

            The Lugano test and his 2013 patent release much more informations.

            anyway it is true that scientifically the hundreds of peer reviewed articles and the thousands of reported experiments have more value than an industrial test made to convince investor and clients.

            NiH reaction have been reproduced by Pianteli, Miley, Focardi, Celani, replicated by Mastromatteo, and there is work in progress by Parkhomov and some followup replicators.

            Just for NiH the situation is nealy the same as EmDrive.

            for LENR, there are many official science which is much less replicated, let us start with Higgs boson which is only the work of two big overly complex instruments (Opera know what it is to depend on one big complex instrument).

            the reason why LENR have so bad reputation despite mass of evidence, and total absence of factual critics (all 4 are refuted and no more defended), is really a valuable experience in group psychiatry. This really show that you can fool even the most educated just by authority, theory, sophism, conspiracy theories and ad hominem arguments. It could be funny, and it is a warning for all of us.

          • IgnoranceBeater

            “just a point the recents reactors were build by Tom Darden company, Industrial Heat, it is official.”

            You mean based on the E-cat?

            Go buy one, then. See how long your light-bulbs will work with it… Be sure to let me know afterwards. 😉

          • IgnoranceBeater

            In this matter, I agree with you completely. This is exactly the sort of problem the scientific community is dealing with: all sorts of crack-pottery are ‘sold’ as being breakthroughs and breaking established natural laws…but they can prove it, if they just get a little more money. Or they’ll prove it themselves: it’s right around the corner to be sold and tested…year after year after year.

            It’s all baloney.

            For instance, if there were really fusion going on, you would get radiation as well. No such radiation has ever been measured. In fact, most ‘inventors’ would have died on the spot if their machine , where they hung around unprotected, had actually worked.

            I’m sure you see now how necessary it is to have a filter? Guys like Rossi, and Alainco here who defends it like a zealot, are just muddying things even further. And there are myriads like them, all convinced their cold fusion, perpetuum mobile, reactionless drive, etc. works. If only the scientific community would believe them…

            The emdrive has a little bit more credence, but frankly, not much (imho). We both sem to agree to be critical and sceptical about it, only you set your standard a bit lower than me. Of the 3 tests, the first one wasn’t made independently, and with all the room for errors has been great, nor was the testing done in optimal circumstances, while filtering out more likely causes (for instance, only now do they seem to test it in vacuum).

            I’m sorry, but that just ain’t enough, certainly not if the claim is they violated a natural law. At least to me, and, I would claim, to the majority of the scientific community. I think the crux of our difference is the level at which both us think proof should be delivered.

            For you it seems enough, for me, it needs at least the further independent research they (NASA) talk about themselves about doing. If those measure a positive result too, then it becomes worthwhile to put extra resources into it, and scrutinise it by other labs en masse.

          • PacificMaelstrom

            You think im not skeptical enough. Ok. Well we will see I guess. To me, the results are inconclusive but promising… to you there seem to be no meaningful results?.

          • IgnoranceBeater

            Well, not at this point and in regard to the claims made, no. If they had said they had proven how difficult it is to measure micronewtons with a certain construction, I would think they would have made a better case, but that’s not what they’re claiming.

            They know this as well, why it is they’re trying to get more power in and thrust out of it. I’ll quote another critic:

            “Let’s see if the effect can be scaled to a large enough amount that without
            exquisitely finicky suspended fiber torsion balances and the like, that
            the effect can just push on some nice digital mass scales. You know, the
            under $1,000 ones that can measure milligrams, in any orientation. No
            special equipment needed. The nano-newton to micro-newton ranges they’re
            working with now are far too close to spurious electromagnetic effects
            to clearly separate themselves from “The Effect” (if truly at work).”

            The margin for error now is much too large to be considered a strong and valid measurement. Also…didn’t I read in the latest post (of the vacuum) that they measured a certain force (50 micronewton) in one direction, but a lot less (16 micronewtons) when they turned it around? Which is indicative of an error somewhere, because the thrust should have been equal for both directions, if the tapered down cone of the device has anything to do with the thrust, as claimed. If it pushes with 50 micronewton, it should also pull with 50 mirconewton. The fact that 34 micronewton is unaccounted for really is telling about the difficulty to measure it properly.

            I understand where you come from, and might think “it’s proven enough to warrant further research”, but the evidence as yet is, speaking in a scientific context, really paltry. I’ll get to your level of ‘inconclusive but promising’ when the NASA will have it tested by the two other independent labs they talked about, and still get a positive result.

            As you said; we’ll see.

          • IgnoranceBeater

            What the..? Cold fusion? You believe in that pipedream?

            Oh wait, I just noticed: you’re that one guy who was going on and on about that without any solid proof in that other discussion as well.

            To all those who care, and want to see our previous discussion on coldfusion, please go to https://disqus.com/home/discussion/extremetech/nasa8217s_cold_fusion_tech_could_put_a_nuclear_reactor_in_every_home_car_and_plane/#comment-1517092107 .

            I’ve already dealt with these dubious claims, and I don’t feel like repeating everything.

            No, the parent poster was right to dismiss it. At least he shows *some* healthy scepticism. It’s necessary to have a scientific oriented mind, for that matter. If you’re so convinced, please donate your money and support Rossi. A fraud always appreciates people buying their story.

            For some forms of gullibility, there is no cure.

            Edit: cleaned it a bit, since I noticed I already got into the ‘irk’-mode by re-reading the former discussion. I just have no infinite amount of patience with people who refuse to think rationally and scientifically about things, yet debate science.

          • IgnoranceBeater

            I’m not ‘backing away’: I said it’s extremely unlikely they discovered something that would break a natural law. I also said it’s reasonable for the scientific community at large not to spend resources, money and time in it until it has a better track-record.

            They are now working on that track-record. If it gets good enough, others will follow. The other way around would be foolhardy. The main difference between both our ‘scepticism’, is that you consider it already ‘proven enough’, while I think they’re still far from it. One could say I’m more sceptical than you, thus, and that I understand why others (aka, the scientific community at large) would be too.

            To be honest, it still would have been better that NASA would have said that the
            inventor had to pay for it himself if he wanted it to be tested, just as
            they did to Rossi with his E-cat (yet another highly unlikely claim. As said: you have myriads of those). Even the public funds they put in it now I think are wasted (at least in regard to the claim they made). I understand their budget is specifically meant to test such wacko ideas, so I guess wasting money is incorporated in their official stated goal…so I guess I can live with it, just as I can live with other wasted money that happen all day around, with all sorts of projects, political ego-tripping, the military and what not.

            But I still think it prudent that those NASA guys who make the claim, also provide further proof, *before* we put any more resources in it.

          • PacificMaelstrom

            The amount spent on this was negligable. The inventor has already tested it himself several times. How do we do further tests without putting more resources into it? Thats what I dont understand…

          • IgnoranceBeater

            Yes, he tested it himself. He is, obviously, not an independent party to his own device. Which is why I said he should have let it test it by others, like this NASA lab, but then at his own cost.

            I guess this particular NASA lab got into it because of the Chinese confirmation, and they have a stated goal of spending money on these sort of things, so I guess they’re just doing what they supposed to do. After all, it could be that one day they’ll spend money on something (which doesn’t break a law of physics) that actually turns out to be novel and worthwhile. The things that aren’t, are just collateral damage in the spending, I guess.

            In that context – well, it’s still wasting money most of the time… but there are other domains that waste more, true. I’m not really condoning wasting limited resources and money, but granted, that is ubiquitous and happening all the time in a lot of area’s which have even far less potential. Thus, I guess, in an overall mindset, trying out novel wacky propulsion-systems could still have some worth, even if they may have a lot of ‘noise’ (aka, things that are baloney). It’s just that this particular research is far closer to the baloney part, then, say, a novel way of creating more thrust by a classical ion-engine. They’ll move further away from that baloney-part the more they test it rigorously. As said, however, I think it’s up to them to test it further to get to the point it becomes ‘extra-ordinary’. In a way, I guess their ‘filter’ or scepticism, is even lower then yours. But then again, they spend others’ people money, so that’s always easier to do, then.

            I don’t know…I’m really ambiguous about this. For me personally, I would like to see my taxpaying being used in a less frivolous way, but not all taxpayers (like you, I presume) think alike, so…what is a ‘warranted’ expenditure (or waste of money)? All in all, I think taxpayers’ money – which we are *obliged* to pay – should be used as efficiently as possible.

            You know what? Maybe they should start a kickstarter to fund their research. That way, all people that are willing to spend money on it, and are now complaining it doesn’t get enough, can deliver and support them themselves, and those that find it a waste of money, don’t loose anything. I think that would be the most fair, no? And it would solve your question. After all people have the right to waste (or spend, depending on how you look at it) their own money on whatever they wish, without even any need of a filter or being sceptical.

      • PacificMaelstrom

        Was just validated yet again, this time in a vacuum. http://nextbigfuture.com/2015/02/update-on-emdrive-work-at-nasa.html?m=1

  • Leon Ball

    IMO this kind of outrage is only caused because of money, if money was no object when results like this came out scientists wouldn’t laugh at it, they would want to try and replicate the results themselves.
    However I feel the monetary system dictates scientists and engineers responded in that manner as funding is hard to come by and you don’t want to lose it or your research job.

    • IgnoranceBeater

      Everyone and everything has a limited budget. All resources are limited. One can’t waste that budget on researching each and any crack-pottery out there. In fact, there would be no end to it, then, and thus require infinite amounts of money, work and time to be devoted to these wild claims.

      It’s a matter of priorities, thus. I think one has better things to do than waste time and resources to anything and anyone that comes along making extremely unlikely claims, thus. It’s for those making such claims to provide enough proof that their results are not due to any mistakes or oversight, and that their conclusion is the only possible explanation. This is not what happened here. The most obvious fault in the experiment is that it wasn’t conducted in a vacuum, meaning they introduced a lot of extra variables and make things more prone to faulty measurements and thus faulty conclusions. (airflow, thermal pressure, etc.) It is FAR more likely that the measured anomaly is due to that, than that they discovered our totality of physics and cosmology has been wrong.

      What they need to do, thus, to get any credence, is repeating the experiment in a more powerful version, lock out all other variables and possible causes (leakage), and measure it in a vacuum.

    • coreyspowell

      One of the most outspoken critics of the EmDrive is Marc Millis, who spent three decades at NASA supporting research on breakthrough propulsion. He now runs a foundation supporting interstellar spaceflight. If the EmDrive worked, it would be a HUGE boost to his work.

      So why is he critical of the EmDrive? Because he has spent decades studying this field and does not see any evidence that this approach works. Note that the people who are most outraged by the EmDrive are those who really have no money at stake, or who would even benefit if the EmDrive really worked.

      You’ve got the story upside down: The people who are upset are those who are most eager to get to the real answers.

  • donald scott

    “… You know, the ones that result from the hard work of large teams, not the tinkering of lone inventors….” You mean like those lone inventors Tsiolksovski and Goddard, who produced nothing of value because they weren’t working with a huge corporatized team?

    Of course, DISCOVERY, as a Hearst publication, is never going to support anything that threatens the current corporate state, is it? So begone, lone inventors. Fade away, Tsiolkovski and Goddard.

    • IgnoranceBeater

      The author is basically right. While there have been, and always will be ‘lone inventors’ it is apparent that, statistically, they discover less and less groundbreaking discoveries. The highdays of the ‘lone inventor’ doing such things, were the 18th and 19th century. since the 20th century, it has been in decline. The main reason being, that even in specific areas of science, things get more and more specialised by the day, and the apparatus you need (things like electro-microscopes, for instance) are unavailable to the ‘lone inventor in his garage’. Also, it’s easy to see that a team of scientists will get more progress than a single individual.

      Point in case: in the 19th, up to the beginning of the 20th century, you had individuals who created or bought ‘grand’ telescopes. Very big ones (for that time), even. They made a lot of discoveries because of that. Today, however, you can’t discover much anymore with 1-2 meter telescopes that hasn’t long since been discovered before. Our new telescopes, however, are so huge and so expensive, they can only be made or bought (and certainly handled and managed) by organisations and groups of astronomers. No ‘lone inventor in his garage’ could manage such a thing nowadays.

      This doesn’t mean it’s impossible that some lone inventor, indeed, invents something, still. But as time goes by, the quantity (how many) as well the quality (breakthrough discoveries) will continue to fall, while the contribution to the total amount of new discoveries will more and more be a thing of groups, organisations and corporations, whether you like it or not.

      In any case, one must look at it realistically: here it deals with a universal law of nature, not something technical. Myriads of scientific groups have in the past already demonstrated this law holds true, and is necessary for the universe to exist in the first place. That a ‘lone inventor’ would now have demonstrated that our whole knowledge and understanding of natural laws, physics and cosmology which have been proven right for the past century is wrong after all, is extremely – and I use an euphemism, here – unlikely. At least FAR more unlikely than the far more likely possibility he just screwed up and measured it wrong, or made errors or omissions in his experimental setup (the lack of it not being tested in a vacuum is the most glaring one).

    • coreyspowell

      I regret my original wording and have clarified my comment about “lone inventors” in the updated text above.

      That said: Discovery (not Discovery) magazine is published by a small independent magazine group (not Hearst), and I am not even a staff employee of Discover. If you are searching for some big corporate motivation behind my honest analysis of the EmDrive, you are barking up the wrong tree.

      And if you read my whole article, you know that my point was that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Goddard never claimed to be contradicting known physics, and he was very open about what he was doing and how it worked. That is why he very quickly silenced those who were skeptical about his work.

    • donald scott

      My error – Discover is published by the distinguished Kalmbach Publishing Co – I was thinking of TIME anyway. Still, although teams are critical in the advancement of science, lone inventors or thinkers are the great game-changers. Einstein failed math because he had the mind of a game-changer. And he certainly changed the game, working alone, when he was a patent clerk.

  • IgnoranceBeater

    “originally planed in 1972.” should be “originally planned in 1972.”

    That said, for the rest it’s a well done, well thought-through article. Just as with the E-cat of Rossi, when things sound too good to be true, one should see it as a warning flag and sceptically scrutinise the claims. “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof”; a lot of people seem to forget that, the moment the story becomes compelling enough. Ah, yes, who doesn’t want to go in space with a propulsion that needs no fuel? And who doesn’t want abundant, near endless, cheap energy? Etc.

    The appeal is psychological in nature. It makes an impossible dream seem true, and it comes from ‘the lone, hard-working altruistic inventor who proves the whole scientific community wrong against all odds and adversery.’ It’s appealing because 1) it gives hope that a dream may come true after all, and 2) also because of the ‘underdog gives the middlefinger to the establishment’ – theme. We can all relate to the lonesome inventor who invents something wonderful but isn’t recognised or believed. Heck, we could be that inventor, ploughing away in our garage…

    Both these things give it an alluring appeal, to which the less-scientific minds succumb. Yes, it *is* possible that the lone inventor invents something wonderful and ground-breaking where none other have ever thought of – though truth be told, this happens less and less; the highdays for that were from the 17th to the 19th century – but still, every claim has to be rigorously checked by scientific methodology before it can be accepted, that’s how science works. Believing it because it sounds so appealing, is a recipe for disaster. It’s the stuff that ignorance is made of.

  • Thebuttonfreak

    The greater the claim the greater the proof needs to be. The reaction of the physics community isn’t just appropriate it’s necessary. If there truly is a way to tap into zero point energy fluctuations nobody would be more excited than physicists, but given how successful physics has been by assuming that momentum is conserved, it would be foolish to do anything other than reject it until more evidence is found. Since everyone loves quotes, here’s another one “Keeping an open mind is a virtue—but, as the space engineer James Oberg once said, not so open that your brains fall out.”

    • http://www.lenrnews.eu/lenr-summary-for-policy-makers/ AlainCo

      it seems you revert logic.

      first history says the opposite of what you say. it have been very common since a century that what was looking like laws, is finally broken in appearance, even if you are right the conservation laws are respected finally. (radioactivity, semiconductors, superconductors, HTSC, superfluidity, QM,GR, big-bang, quasicrystals, LENR, plate tectonic).

      Second you conclusion is even more absurd (yet very common), seeing a disagreement and the improbability of the observation, you propose not to investigate… That is absurd , criminal, and very common.

      to be clear with you logic, nearly all technology today should not have been investigated, as it was impossible in theory, or without any explanation.

      Any scientist who is sure that it does not work, should work hard to prove why the experiments are broke, or shut-up.

      All who says that theory say it is impossible and go back to the bed, should became priest. This would however empty the universities, and flood churches, as I estimate that 95% of scientists think that way.

      Thomas Kuhn describe well why.

      • IgnoranceBeater

        Nonsense. “Extra-ordinary claims require extra-ordinary evidence” is a well known adagium in the scientific community. It is – for those making the claims – to prove their outlandish claims are right, thus, not for the scientific community to jump on the bandwagon just because someone says they have broken a fundamental physical law which has proven to be right and inviolable for the last century. Note the ‘fundamental’: those deal not with some sort of shortage of technical prowess, but are universal laws of nature that govern our complete universe.

        What would truly be absurd is the notion that the scientific community would need to investigate every crack-pottery that comes along. And this would be what you suggest boils down to. You have myriads of people who claim to have done completely impossible things, like creating perpetuum mobile machines. Do you suggest we research dozens upon dozens of these extremely unlikely claims? I think we have better things to do then waste money like that.

        In regard to this specific case: no, there is not enough evidence being delivered. Let alone extra-ordinary evidence. As almost ALL critiques have pointed out, one of the major failures of all ‘positive’ tests have been, that they weren’t performed in a vacuum. This is a glaring error, or at least omission, in the experiment done. The chances that this is the cause for the measured thrust is FAR greater, than the extremely unlikely and minute possibility they discovered the totality of our knowledge about fundamental laws, physics and cosmology (because they would all fall in that case) would be wrong.

        Which makes what you say untrue: none of the natural laws have been ‘broken’ since they have been formulated, not even in appearance. There have been claims that were said to be impossible, that have turned out to be possible, yes, but those were of a technical nature, not about natural laws.

        The MOST OBVIOUS thing to do, thus, is ignoring this outcome, unless all the far more likely causes for the anomaly are dealt with. It is not for the scientific community at large to do that, however, otherwise, as said, we would be wasting vast amounts of money, work and time on myriads of impossible claims that claim to be possible. It is for those that make the claim to prove it in a way that makes the experiment worthy enough of pursuit. We’re far from that point, however.

        What needs to happen, if those *making the claim* want to gain enough credit, is to repeat the experiment, with higher power input and thus thrust-output (so less chances of wrong measurement of the (now) very tiny thrust), scrutinise the machine for any possible leaks, including thermal radiation, and most importantly: measure the whole thing while being in a high quality vacuum.

        You will see that the so called ‘positive result’ will vanish as snow for the sun. But in the very off-like chance it doesn’t, THEN you’ll get the attention of the scientific community. Going the other way around would truly be absurd and reverting logic.

        • http://www.lenrnews.eu/lenr-summary-for-policy-makers/ AlainCo

          firs of all do you consider that something that is replicated a handful or an thousands of time should not be investigated ?

          it is happening using the “extraordinary” argument.

          you are beating strawman. the idea is not to investigate any stupid claim, but to investigate what is cheap, what is an anomaly.

          this is the research of serendipity, and even if it find artifacts, it can find artifacts with an application. many big discoveries were serendipity.

          the second is that the cost of investigating is not so high.

          facing that we burn billions in big science which produced much less per million that a fring research that is a breakthrough one in a thousands time.

          there is a similar tragedy of peer review that prove that if accepted papers are better on average than rejected papers, the best finally published papers, were massively rejected, often without any peer review

          (see AAS article)


          the mediocrity filter you propose is simply too risky.

          The price of false negative if way higher than false positive in real life.
          problem is that for academic it is the opposite. people save their career at the expense of the society.

          • IgnoranceBeater

            It’s not because we’re wasting even more money on something else we have to contribute in ‘wasting less’ on other things. I adds up, after all, and it’s not like the money to test implausible claims (and there are a lot of those, so I’m not so sure it would turn out to be so minor) would come from sources or for goals that are even more wasteful (like subsidising wars). Many of the billions being wasted on science comes from private companies, so they can waste all they want, since it’s their money. As for billions going to government-subsidised projects like ITER and CERN, well, one can debate whether they are worth it, but at least they have potential which can be reached within the framework of known science, so their result is far more plausible.

            But even if not; I refute the notion that wasting ‘a bit more’ is no problem because we’re already wasting more. One should strive for more efficiency and transparency and budgetcontrol, not less.

            As for the ‘handful’ of tests been done: one of them is of the person himself, who sells the device, and was not peer-reviewed, nor independent. That’s basically worthless. Another one is done by the Chinese, which have provided very meagre details on their testing. Even that of NASA was in many ways lacking, since they tried to measure an extremely tiny force, without (at first) it being in a vacuum, and, as the author and other critiques have pointed out, without them demonstrating they have compensated for any other variables that may effect it. This, because it’s an extremely light force on the fringe of what is detectable without getting errors.

            All this does not provide enough evidence for even a normal (technical) claim for some device, let alone one that purports to break a natural law.

            What they should do now – and seen your link, they finally started to do it, is test it in a vacuum. And try to augment the power-output (and thus thrust), so it’s easier to measure it. That’s exactly what they’re doing, and if you ask “when is the larger scientific community going to show interest”, it’s going to be after this:

            “NASA plans to upgrade their equipment to higher power levels, use
            vacuum-capable RF amplifiers with power ranges of up to 125 W, and
            design a new tapered cavity analytically expected to produce thrust in
            the 0.1 N/kW range. Then, the test article will be shipped to other
            laboratories for independent verification and continued evaluations of
            the technology, at Glenn Research Center, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory
            and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.”

            Once all that happens and the two research-centres confirm it, you’ll get a frenzy of others replicating it and trying to figure out what’s going on. So, to answer your question, three independent and peer-reviewed tests, which go into details into the testing methods and deal with the criticisms of the earlier test-setup, which all confirm a positive result, would be enough in my book to warrant further research. If that were 3/3, the current situation would only get a 0.5/3. Falling far short as of yet. Of course, it is your prerogative to give it a higher number, or think it’s already been ‘enough’ tested, but then again, you’re not the one having to test it. I’m just saying it’s rational and logical the scientific community at large doesn’t jump on to it, with the low ‘score’ it has now. Seen the limited resources and the extremely unlikely claim, it’s the most appropriated reaction.

            So maybe it’ll get confirmed in the future, by those researchers. I repeat, however, not to get ones’ hopes up very much. It’s really *extremely* unlikely a universal law would be broken and we get to scrap all physics and have to invent a new one. It’s far more likely that something else is happening, but if those two research-centres confirm it, it’s interesting enough to further research by other parties how the thrust is created.

            And while I agree some researchers have the tendency to walk proven paths because their livelihood is at stake, all in all the scientific method is pretty sturdy. As to the ‘false negative’; I humbly disagree. It is far more wasteful in terms of resources, money and time trying to replicate a false positive, than a false negative would engender. One could argue one ‘misses’ some invention, then, but if it really works, sooner or later someone else will stumble on to it. Without any mediocrity-filter, things would be far worse than they are today.

            But, things are progressing as they should. They are already a bit further than the ‘Dean engine’. 😉 We’ll see how it goes.

          • http://www.lenrnews.eu/lenr-summary-for-policy-makers/ AlainCo

            people who seriously have studied tokamak and hotfusion (except maybe some really new setup) know that hot fusion is unrealisty until very long a go, because even if it works which is todays impossible for reason of turbulence, the sucess will destroy the radiation, the superconductors, the peoples.

            it is just a big scam to clamim it is something els a billion sized useless experiment.

            there is much cheaper impossible experiments that like EmDrive have a chance to work in the next decade.

            it would be more logical to base you decision on experimental results than on theory.

            ok, it is a joke, today theory is more important than reality.

            ITER have a theory, EmDrive no…
            ITER cannot work say the engineers.
            Emdrive seems t work says engineers.

            decision is simple, put hundred billions in what shoul but don’t work, instead of of a million in what works but should not.

            that is modern rationality.

          • IgnoranceBeater

            Actually, most people who have studied tokamak and hotfusion know that hot fusion is possible, but difficult. Once again, there is confusion between a *technical* difficulty, and something that’s impossible without overturning natural laws. The two are not comparable at all. The one can, at least in principle, be solved by engineering and progress in technology, the other not.

          • http://www.lenrnews.eu/lenr-summary-for-policy-makers/ AlainCo

            I make the difference between reality and theory.

          • IgnoranceBeater

            Unlikely. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be promoting cold-fusion.

  • Guest
  • Marco Elvio Corvaglia
  • Marco Elvio Corvaglia


    Being able to unify General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, this unification must at least strictly do three things: the formula Bekenstein-Hawking entropy, strictly as semiclassical approximation, at least its first two corrections, that is, the logarithmic and the inverse of ‘area, as well as from the theory eliminate the central singularity and derive the emission spectrum of the quantum black hole. (sorry for the English, I’m Italian)…

  • Marco Elvio Corvaglia
  • Marco Elvio Corvaglia
  • JPGard

    Not pretending to know the first thing about quantum mechanics, but I’ve read several articles on this and there really does seem to be something there. I’m not one to believe in things like “free energy” without a lot of skepticism, however I do believe it’s possible to be too skeptical. Just because something can’t be proved in theory doesn’t mean it won’t work. Case in point, scientists still can’t explain how high-temp superconductors work, but they’ve been observed to work consistently and have been accepted. I believe the scientific community is a little jaded, that’s all.

    • http://www.lenrnews.eu/lenr-summary-for-policy-makers/ AlainCo

      only requirement is to look at the experimental results, by Shawyer, yang Juan, by NASA team…

      they all seems solid, but with good reason to go further to eliminate questions…

      it is not position, buoyency, wind, magnetic field.

      it is linked to resonance of the cavity, to dielectric presence…

      Neither rejecting from theory, or accepting without question is rational.

      only rational position is to experiment more.

      Being curious, ready for success does not mean one don’t accept it can fail.

      too frequently today scientist, when theory and experiment disagree, are so afraid to discover that they failed on the experiment or on the theory, that they ask to stop any research and believe in the theory.

      anyway today failing in science is very expensive.

  • http://www.game-fun.net JonnyHilly

    is the interior of the resonator a vacuum ? if not. the air could be being pushed to one side (or moisture in it) altering balance, and providing a force on the pendulum

    • http://www.lenrnews.eu/lenr-summary-for-policy-makers/ AlainCo

      if it is from the interior, naive interpretation of CoM say that it cannot have any effect.

      Problem may arise from effects outside.

      Since effect is linked with resonance, any artifact theory must explain why is happens only at resonance.

      There have been many cross checking done by Shwayer&al, including changing directions, …

      see http://emdrive.com/faq.html

      Test procedures

      Q. Has buoyancy been allowed for?
      A. Buoyancy has been allowed for in the initial experiments and then eliminated by hermetically sealing the thruster.

      Q. Are there any convection currents which might affect the results?
      A. Convection currents did not affect the results, as measurements were taken with the thrust vector up, down and horizontal. Test runs were also carried out using a thermal simulation heater to quantify the effects of change of coolant temperature.

      Q. Has stiffness in cables and pipes been allowed for?
      A. The only connections to the balance were high flex electrical links

      Q. Has friction in any pivots been allowed for?
      A. Static thrust measurements were carried out using 3 different techniques – a counterbalance rig with a knife edge pivot, a direct weighing method using a 16kg balance (0.1 gm resolution), and with the thruster suspended from a spring balance with the weight partly offloaded on to an electronic balance.

      Q. Have electromagnetic effects been taken into account? These include interactions between current-carrying conductors and between such conductors carrying RF currents and nearby metallic structures in which currents might be induced.
      A. Stray electromagnetic effects were eliminated by using different test rigs, by testing two thrusters with very different mounting structures, and by changing the orientation by 90 degrees to eliminate the Earth’s magnetic field.

      Q. Is there any ionization within the air, which might cause electrostatic charging and resulting forces?
      A. Electrostatic charges were eliminated by the comprehensive earthing required for safety reasons, and to provide the return path for the magnetron anode current.

      Q. Could RF pick-up measurement circuits have produced erroneous results?
      A. EMC tests were carried out on the instrumentation to eliminate the effects of RF pick up.

      Q. Could acceleration be caused by spurious torques generated by the air bearing?
      A. Dynamic tests are preceded by an acceleration calibration test, using standard weights to determine the air bearing friction.

      Q. Could acceleration be caused by anomalous thermal or electromagnetic effects?
      A. Acceleration and deceleration tests have been carried out in both clockwise and anti-clockwise directions Acceleration from rest only starts when the magnetron output frequency matches the resonant frequency of the engine, following an initial warm-up period.

      It is amazing.
      and NASA test added some other tests.

      • http://www.game-fun.net JonnyHilly

        yes its pretty amazing. What I mean re:-interior is, stimm maintaining CoM you can have a rotational acceleration/torque or twist (still conserves CoM) or a shift in Center of gravity of any contents/air/particles. Depending on how its connected to a pendulum measure, this could affect results… though I would assume they should know this and have countermeasures. I was just curious to know if the interior of the resonance chamber was a vacuum, or if the effect only works with air in there (or not)

  • Jeremiah

    A recent update reports successful measurement of thrust signature while the test device was in hard vacuum.


  • Elliander Eldridge

    Correction: There was no control device set up. It was worded poorly, but it doesn’t talk about a second device that was intentionally disabled. They were testing a related function that seemed to be required in the original patent. It’s just an alternative configuration of the test.

    Personally, I don’t think it really matters how energy efficient this is. Only that it is able to produce thrust with only an input of electrical energy. That would be a valuable advance regardless of anything else.

    As far as “abandoning known science” goes, you do realize that’s pretty much all theoretical physics ever do, right? I still have not seen any physical evidence for the existence of dark matter and I personally don’t buy into it. Sure, it could explain a problem without breaking the so-called “laws”, but I would feel more comfortable changing the laws if we can observe something that requires a chance in the laws rather than cling to an idea that has no evidence simply because it fits our pre-conceived notions. So why should I blindly accept the existence of dark matter to the point that I had to study it in college, but I must immediately dismiss something that can be tested for and evaluated purely on the basis it breaking a law which itself is based on what we can observe? That’s not science.

    • IgnoranceBeater

      It’s not about what you feel comfortable about. There are, in fact, many theories about dark matter and dark energy. These hypothesises are exactly made TO account for the observations made. With instruments like CERN, we can further pinpoint which theories are valid, and which not.

      There is no logical reason why you wouldn’t ‘blindly accept’ (dixit yourself, science hardly accepts something blindly) dark mater, which explains what we observe, than a rewrite of physics that don’t need any dark matter. Such a rewrite, for instance, would ALSO and STILL need to explain all other observations we made of the universe. It’s exactly the theory that incorporates dark matter that comes closest to observed reality. All other theories NOT requiring dark matter or dark energy can explain what we observe FAR LESS.

      What you say, thus, is that you would not have any problems believing something which is far less likely, than something which is far more likely. This makes no sense.

  • Elliander Eldridge

    Here’s an idea. Let’s just build one outside of the lab and just see what it does. If it works it should do something and if it doesn’t it won’t. Wouldn’t that be a viable test? Even if it ends up not working as even the inventor thinks, if it does anything at all that can be looked into and investigated and then potentially applied into useful applications.

    • IgnoranceBeater

      I’m not following you. EVEN if it works, the force is so minute you can’t register it *without* a lab and it’s high precision instruments. If you just put it outside, you won’t see it do squat.

      If you mean ‘outside’ as in ‘into space’; you must be kidding me. I think one has better things to do then spend millions for a crackpot-idea.

      No, I already said so to another poster; what *really* would be appropriate, is for all the fans and believers out there, to start a kickstarter and raise enough money to test it further. That way, the public (aka, taxpayers) and the state won’t waste even more money, and those that feel convinced it works, or, at least, feel convinced it’s worthwhile enough to spend money on, can spend THEIR money on it. Everyone happy.

      • http://www.lenrnews.eu/lenr-summary-for-policy-makers/ AlainCo

        China is doing that.

        even if it have a chance over a million to work, given the impact it can have (trillions) it deserve a million of budget…

        the irrationality of mindguards is shocking. it seems academic prefer to be 100% right with comfort than to have a 99.99% chance to be wrong and 0.01% chance to launch a revolution.

        engineers and entrepreneurs don’t have that problem, but they sadly follow the no-bollocks that fund them.

        • IgnoranceBeater


          If they are, then China has money to waste.

          No, it doesn’t. Its not a one in a million, but one in a trillion, while, on the other hand, the chance that it is a measuring error or an effect of external cause is much, much more likely. So what makes more sense: to first test it with minimal expenses here on Earth to take the one in a hundred chance of being an error, or waste one million dollar to put it into space for a one in a trillion chance it may not be an error?

          You just do not make any sense. Your logic falters.The irrationality of fanboys is shocking. It seems the ignoranti think resources are unlimited and can be squandered at anything at all. For anyone with half a brain, it would be obvious it makes more sense to waste less to go for the more probable first, instead of spending a thousandfold more going for the least likely.

          To be that irrational is way beyond ‘having bollocks’; it’s outright foolhardy and stupid.

          I’ve said it before: they (you) should start a kickstarter. Then you, being a macho with bollocks ;-), can fund them all you want. I note, however, that while you have the mouth full of spending others’ money on nonsense, you never seem to spend your own. Did you buy an Ecat, yet? According to you, it’s been on the market commercially for the last two years (seen your earlier comments). Why don’t you spend the majority of your monthly income on the Ecat and emdrive? That way, you’ll give the good example.

          I’m sick and tired of people acting like we should spend money on quackeries like there is nothing wrong with it. Spend YOUR OWN money and be duped, please. It’s strange that, with all the fanboys out there, they apparently haven’t managed to set up a kickstarter to fund research of the emdrive with any success. Apparently, it’s easier to talk about how taxpayers’ money should be spend on it.

          The fact that sending it to space is a complete waste of huge amounts of money isn’t just because it costs a lot, it’s because the most likely cause for it is something that can be readily researched here on Earth, at a fraction of the cost. So EVEN if you are convinced it worked, it would still make more sense to do it here, in a lab. Preferably sponsored by irrational people like you, whom never seem to learn.

          Start a sponsoring campaign on Kickstarter or IGG. That way, at least you waste your own money and finally put your money where your mouth is. You’re wilfully gullible and thus credulous, so I don’t think there would a problem even if you would lose all your life savings on it. Have some bollocks yourself.

          • http://www.lenrnews.eu/lenr-summary-for-policy-makers/ AlainCo

            there are 5 replications of the phenomenon with different setups and common observation that effect is linked to cavity resonance.

            for you this is not enough to even consider it is real and that your interpretation of physics is wrong ?

            you are supremely intelligent.

            about theory, it seems there is a new candidate, and as expected it is not violating momentum conservation, but is based on a limit of mixing QM with GR… in fact Unruh radiation.
            not sure it is the good one, but as everybody can see there is hole inside standard model where bad assumption can cause bad interpretation of CoM…

            you seems furious, I am too agains mindguards who prefer to invest 100billion in a sure failure with a sure theory, while refusing to invest 500k in 5 successful experimental observation.

            it seems theory for you have more value than evidence.
            this is very common today. the good news is you are in the current consensus of bad science.

          • IgnoranceBeater

            Furious? Well, I think everyone should be furious about wasting taxpayers’ money. If more people would be furious about it, maybe it would happen less.

            As far as this is concerned, I’m also adopting the most rational stance, however. You continue to use the strawman fallacy about ‘preferring theory above experiment’, but if you had read carefully, and understood the concept, the problem here is that this is a fundamental law were talking about here, while the experiments are a far cry from actually having proved it’s not due to an error or other external cause. Reasonable scientific standards of proof are not provided, thus, let alone the adagio ‘extra-ordinary claims need extra-ordinary proof’ is adhered to.

            As I’ve pointed out many times now, there have been 3 different ‘groups’ who have claimed to have seen experimental evidence. Not 5, but 3. Your ‘different set ups’ doesn’t mean anything, if you’re still using the same measure-instruments in the same location, done by the same group, like with NASA for instance.

            Of those 3, the first one is the inventor himself, who promotes and wants to sell his own machines. He is, thus, obviously not an independent party to his own device. Of the two remaining, the Chinese have not offered detailed reports on how they went about it, and what measures they took to rule out other possible causes. Without that, in a scientific context, it has very little worth, thus. This leaves the one of NASA. There, the output they measured has been so minute, and can be caused by so many other factors, it’s very easy to make a mistake (which is one of the reasons they want to augment the output, btw, so they realise this themselves too). Furthermore, in their latest vacuum-test, they measured 50micronewton one way, but if they reverse the device, they only measure 16 micronewton. This is clearly indicative of there being an error somewhere. If you are measuring correctly, then if you measure a 50 micronewton push, obviously, when reversing, you would also measure a 50 micronewton pull. Yet, there is a discrepancy of 34 micronewton. Where did that suddenly disappear to?

            So, we have only two tests who can be considered independent, and both of them are dubious and did not exclude far more likely causes for what they measured.

            And you consider that enough to waste millions of dollars on it? And send a probe into space to test it, instead of just letting it be tested by other independent labs (like the NASA group is planning, btw)? Ridiculous. I said it before: why do you (that is, all you gullible fanboys) don’t go and make a Kickstarter or IGG for it, to sponsor and subsidise their research? That way, you are happy that you can waste your money on it, and we’ll be happy that we don’t have to waste money on it. Everyone happy. What’s the problem? Why are you hesitating? Go for it!

          • http://www.lenrnews.eu/lenr-summary-for-policy-makers/ AlainCo

            what you propose is the usual conspiracy theory, mixed with some racism…
            morrison did it before you.

          • IgnoranceBeater

            Kickstarter and IGG a conspiracy theory? Racism? What the heck are you talking about?

            You’re getting more delusional by the minute.

  • ZipWizard

    It is well known that Quantum Vacuum Energy exists. Quantum Theory points to virtual particles that can pop into existence, then self annihilate. If on an a Black Hole Event Horizon, a matter/ anti matter pair pop into existence, and theoretically, either the positive matter, or the anti matter enters our universe, while the opposite particle falls into the Black Hole.

    This same Quantum Vacuum Energy can be disturbed, according to Q Thruster Theory, to produce virtual Quantum particles…such as using very high frequency electro magnetic waves… and these particles form a virtual plasma (if you need to know why the term exists) that enters our universe’s reality. They can then be pulled by an electromagnetic field to be accelerated towards an exit… which creates thrust, before virtual pairs might annihilate each other… or some kind of field separates them, especially ‘saving’ the positive matter, to be accelerated.

    Conservation of motion is not part of this formula. What is happening is the Quantum Vacuum Energy is being converted into Kenetic Energy, but not before a very real electromagnetic field uses conventional energy to create the disturbance, that generates the particles. In actuality, no laws are violated… it’s only one system is exchanged for another.

    Your FUEL is energy, instead of onboard gases, that gets converted into matter… in the stimulated Quantum Vacuum…that gets accelerated to produce thrust.

    And recent experiments have proven the virtual Quantum Particles do exist temporarily, and can be electomagnetically influenced.

  • goldenskyhook

    Having 50 engineering students laughing at me is irrelevant to this. If “It can’t be done” were the ruling idea in science, we’d never have invented rockets, airplanes, radio, and a host of other stuff. In each case, the naysayers were quoting the “laws” of physics of their day, smug in their faith (yes, FAITH) in science. If a person refuses to look at results or possibilities based on a conviction about a “law” then that person risks becoming the fool. Of course theories and laws are convenient to engineering things, but there’s a whole lot in quantum mechanics that NOBODY gets yet, and it’s simply ignorant to say “it can’t be done” rather than “show me how it CAN be done.” I found very little in here to demonstrate that the writer had actually looked into the experiments. He simply compared it to his biases and ruled it out without testing it. There’s a word for that in research — confirmation bias. Next we’ll be trotting out the Occam’s razor tendency as a “law”.

  • goldenskyhook

    Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. To use the word “proven” to describe an experiment that has been repeated multiple times with similar or identical results is to pretend to precognition.

    The sun has risen every day I have been alive, thus I am tempted to say the statement “the sun rises every day” has been proven. In fact, neither I, nor anyone else conscious knows for a fact that the phenomenon known as “sun rising” will in fact occur tomorrow. We hope it will, and bet heavily in our plans that it will, but we still don’t have proof. We just have very promising odds. Then when the situation is reexamined from a subjective level, perhaps the sun will not rise tomorrow for SOME of us. Science, when stripped of faith and True Believers is all about the Great Mystery, and True Wonder.

  • http://tobibeer.tiddlyspace.com/ Tobias Beer

    possibly he’s right, but rather than rant like this, this guy should have better worked on actually falsifying things, rahter than spouting any “nonsense” utterings

    • coreyspowell

      I do not have access to the Eagleworks device or to the details of their experiment–in fact, nobody does, since they have not submitted their work to open, peer review. What I do have access to is the toolkit of critical thinking, which is essential for assessing any claim of this nature.

  • k9gardner

    Scientists that are not intrigued by what they do have lost their way.

    If you take the author at his word, “Still, science is science: What matters are data, not motivations or semantics,” what’s the inspiration for the future scientists of this or any other country? Data? Are you joking?

    Ted Cruz may be an idiot, or a moron. But even though everyone is decrying the direction of his questioning of NASA administrator Charles Bolden, one thing he did say that should make any thinking person acknowledge the point, was this: “Almost any American would agree that the core function of NASA is to explore space,” Cruz said. “That’s what inspires little boys and little girls across this country.”

    I believe that Senator Cruz draws the wrong conclusions from his own statement. But that little nugget of truth hidden in his bluster is no less the truth for it. The thought of exploring space is what gets us up there in the sky. From that position, it’s not only natural to look back at ourselves, it’s perhaps the only set of conditions under which we could do so.

    Discovery often comes by accident. Accident is nothing more than stumbling upon something you never would have thought of. Trying out wacky ideas is essentially the same thing.

    So much hinges on that first twinkle in a little boy’s or little girl’s eye. Turning science into data – let’s leave that for the computers. Let’s keep the intrigue and fascination in science. If that means exploring some wacky ideas from time to time, so be it!

    • coreyspowell

      If the day comes when the primary motivation of scientists is not to collect data and test theories, but to promote opinions and claim personal wishes as truth, then science will truly be in trouble.

      • k9gardner

        I’m not sure if you meant that as a response to my post or a response to the original post. I don’t think I disagree greatly with anything you say… The one bit I struggle with is maybe just semantics; I don’t think that collecting data is a “motivation” for scientists, as much as a functional requirement.

  • sam

    HONESTLY, I agreed with your article until you said teams of scientists should get funding before lone inventors. Way to squash any kids dream of getting into science or wanting to invent something. I’m sorry not everyone fits under the college science team umbrella.

    • coreyspowell

      I regret the wording of my original article, and have added a note to that effect.

  • Parsifal Druddle

    I had a whole mini-article nearly finished when I stumbled on to this much better option: https://gildthetruth.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/the-infinite-impossibility-drive/ – i think he did a great job.

  • http://www.rufusgwarren.com/ Rufus Warren

    Correct, there is energy within “empty” space, the many. many fields and particles. So, an engine may be defined to take advantage of this for thrust, either moving captured particles and redirecting the field energy to an accelerator or by absorption or reflection or both. Assuming this sector of bodies within our gradient field of flow, must we compensate for direction? It’s sort of like sailing a boat with a backup engine, either continuous or intermittent. So navigation will also depend upon local matter densities. At hyper-light speed designs would require the particle and pressure with material to reflect and adsorb, the bow of the ship may require special materials. The test will require very sensitive instrumentation within a stationary frame. Presently we see from other galaxies, unknown direction, from +/-c to about +/-0.5 c, a delta of +/- .85 C —–> 2.5 C to 3.85 C relative to us, meaning the relative wave-front within an accelerating stream due to a measure of red-shift, may need some correction. Just take an original wavelet wavelength and divide it by the time it takes to pass. This defines the speed of the wave-front. Think of it as a body either behind us within a stream or in front of us within a stream, I mean gravity, duh, must be in a stream! So take the energy from the river. +/- speeds only defined by color red or blue does not take into consideration the multiple directional flow as definable only the energy flow or power dE/dT not velocity.

  • OldBald06

    I am reminded of the sign off of Casey Kasem during his years of “America’s Top 40”. “Keep you head up, and keep reaching for the stars”, “I’m Casey Kasem”

  • tinwatchman

    Anyway… any new word on this? I understand that there were vacuum tests held at Glenn Research Center at some point?

  • http://www.rufusgwarren.com/ Rufus Warren

    It’s an ion engine, once we get the idea of a correct slit experiment we can simulate it. First just gather the information of the wave generated by the particles. Remove this information as only wavelike, that would be another attribute of the particle. But a wave is simply something produced from the motion of the particle relative to the slit. No wave-particle identity.

    However we could use the field and the particles for propulsion. This was not about Einstein. The measurement for the speed of the wave-front is rather simple. Einstein was misguided.

    This was a simple verification of the above; hence, the noise created on the web, of the “bubble”, an obvious disproof of GR, why even state it. You would have to be blind and insane.

    However, the last time somebody said they measured this … LOL!

  • http://www.rufusgwarren.com/ Rufus Warren

    So with space as nothing, replace all space as the electromagnetic field in 4 dimensions, i.e. there is no such thing as space defined by making something into nothing and nothing into something. Nothing is nothing, Case closed, so we start with 4 dimensional field equation where each dimension may be assigned as time of space. Don’t confuse mathematics with reality, its a tool, we define how a sharpen the blade. every point is definable with defined precision; however, a simulation …

  • http://www.rufusgwarren.com/ Rufus Warren

    Boom, warped space. It depends upon what is your definition of space with warp capability and space without. So know what “space” you are talking about, two different things, possibly one party more imaginative without your discipline. Give anything an honest thought process.

  • http://www.rufusgwarren.com/ Rufus Warren

    So we haven’t defined the inertial field. Warp we can do, but will we survive? Must give the bubble idea more thought, we would like to exist as if we are not within the flow and show no effects from acceleration; is it possible to translate this trait into a field response, i.e. our collective accelerating charge distribution with feedback from our acceleration measurements and a state: our initial inertia at To? Probably be easier for the whole ship. Note: at hyper-light speed, we would be bombarded and the flow would become laminar with a linear energy flow as function of our speed. We’re smart … we can figure that out!

  • http://www.rufusgwarren.com/ Rufus Warren

    The four dimensional space with correct physics allows for computational precision from a sampled space. So everything may not have to be scanned, just the allowed variability or the field about everyone relative to To. We know our state, probably simple for a high speed computer.

  • lcs1956

    I suspect Sonny White is either a scam artist, incredibly naive as a scientist or just deluded. Eagleworks is a real embarrassment for NASA and I suspect they would like their money back.

    • http://www.lenrnews.eu/lenr-summary-for-policy-makers/ AlainCo

      I suggest the 4 team who replicated the same phenomenon, which strangely depend more on resonance of the cavity than of instruments used, observe a real phenomenon.

      I suggest that in history the reaction have always been to deny the evidence first, then when the evidence cannot be ignored to accuse authors whoever they are of fraud or delusion, then when this cannot be supported because too many teams replicate the problem, to use authority arguments supported by consensus to deny reality, thus block funding, block publications, block journalist, …

      and finally after 26 years , some entrepreneurs is crazy enough to bet a million with the hope that it have one chance over a thousand to payback a trillion.

      the story is always the same and it is so strange people don’t remind it.

      those who ignore their history are doomed to repeat it.
      In science it is rather named epistemology, and nothing I reveal is new.

      • coreyspowell

        You have a very strange view of history. Let’s consider a few revolutionary discoveries in the history of science: Galileo’s views through the telescope, X-rays, radioactivity, general relativity, quantum phenomena, expansion of the universe, room-temperature superconductivity, dark energy. I’ll even throw in heavier-than-air flight (an engineering achievement rather than a discovery, but a relevant example here).

        In each case, the scientific community accepted the findings almost immediately because a) they were described openly b) they were readily replicated and c) they were exciting, so lots of other people wanted in on the discovery.

        Charges of fraud have followed discoveries like spirit communication, UFOs, and the water-powered car. I’ll leave it to you to speculate on the difference.

        • http://www.lenrnews.eu/lenr-summary-for-policy-makers/ AlainCo

          this is a myth, why do you repeat despite evidences.

          Wright made public demo many years before SciAm accepted it was real, and there was testifying witness.

          it was sold to French and SciAm was still laughing.

          It takes years with luck, decades without, or like Semmelweiss/DeAberdeen, centuries for a proven fact to be accepted when it oppose consensus.

          HTSC was accepted much later than observed by labs, when evidences could be seen by a kid of 5 as levitation.

          Quasicristals were rejected for few years despite evidence, and accepted only because private labs were interested.

          Wegener evidence were very solid, and they were accepted only when the opposite could not be defended at all.

          Germanium junction was observed but put into the drawer for decades before a good theory allowed it to exist.

          people don’t understand that things can exist before they are understood, or at least standardized… but in history it is not true.

          What happens is described by Kuhn, who was an historian, puzzled by the apparent “incompetence” of past generation…

          he simply observed that everytime the theory change only when a complete new one is ok, not when the evidence are enough.





          Note that I don’t say EmDrive IS real… it is just to be investigated, as there is interesting results.

          I am used with strong opposition of some mindguards not to investigate.
          For EmDrive the opposition is less violent than usual, I agree, but there is some…

          • coreyspowell

            Who is arguing not to investigate the EmDrive? The whole point of my piece is that the EmDrive requires MORE investigation (with more transparency and openness) so that we can find out if the claimed effect is real. Most of the time, these kinds of results turn out to be erroneous, but if the Eagleworks findings are verified that would be hugely important and exciting.

          • http://www.lenrnews.eu/lenr-summary-for-policy-makers/ AlainCo

            ok, sorry, I probably overreacted and attacked a strawman.

            Note that Eagleworks is not alone (yang Juan, Shawyer, Fetta, obtained similar results), and this is multiple but non definitive results.

            Warp is not proven, but it is to verify as it would explain the other result.

  • Janet F McCormack, M. Ed.

    Please check out MUFON FILES released on History Channel … we are in the time of GREAT DISCLOSURE … UNTANGLE THE COMPLEXITY OF DECEPTION!!!!

  • Dennis P. Allen Jr., PhD (Berk

    I have very recently published a (brief & inexpensive) book entitled “Why Does Newtonian Mechanics Forbid Inertial Propulsion Devices When They Evidently Do Exist” that is a general theoretical analysis of devices whose thrust comes “from within” and just where working devices can be found on the Internet and other places as well. Some examples of this phenomena have been computer simulated by myself, and their simulations may be found and downloaded on the research web site “ResearchGate” under my name. However, these devices discussed are mechanical in nature and do not involve electromagnetism in any essential theoretical way … as does the device developed by NASA, of course. This book may be found on Amazon.com … as may my other books, one of which is co-authored.

    In it, I note that it is precisely the (Newtonian) third law of motion that fails in general; and so, since that law is so very heavily used to show that angular and linear momentum are separately conserved, these two conservation laws also fail in general as well. This is rankest scientific heresy, of course; but, as Ernst Mach once remarked, (in German, of course), he saw, neither linear motion nor rotational motion, but only just … “motion”. How prophetic!

    This book is designed to be an easy read, and so to be accessible by beginners … as well as more advanced readers. And I would like to hear reader comments and questions, if any.

    • http://www.rufusgwarren.com/ Rufus Warren

      Dennis, maybe you might want to think about a book written by you and me, defining gravity as a potential field, of the same vector response to the center of “mass”; but, is a bit more definitive, i.e. completely removes mass as an elemental thing.

      • Dennis P. Allen Jr., PhD (Berk

        Thanks, no; I don’t think your idea will pan out.

      • Dennis Allen Jr

        No, thanks; your idea seems incorrect.

  • Hugo Galvão Ribeiro Arraes

    I would like to see the face @coreyspowell with the latest news from EMDrive, nine months after this post.
    It seems a repeat of Hundred Authors Against Einstein.

    • coreyspowell

      I wish the news were more encouraging–I really do. But the Eagleworks team is still reporting an effect very close to the stated error of their experiment; they have not even done a full accounting of potential sources of error; and they still have not submitted their work to peer review. They have made some small progress with their testing, but nowhere near what is required to validate such a sweeping claim.

      Again, I encourage you to read Ethan Siegel’s detailed analysis.

      • Hugo Galvão Ribeiro Arraes

        What about a test at 50 W of power during which an interferometer (a modified Michelson device) was used to measure the stretching and compressing of spacetime within the device, which produced initial results that were consistent with an Alcubierre drive fluctuation?
        What about the Chinese results? Test was conducted at the direction of lead researcher Juan Yang. She tested the device at several power levels and frequencies using the same equipment used to test Ion Drives.
        750 millinewtons of thrust was the largest result produced at 2500 W of power.

        • coreyspowell

          I’ll say it again: These are huge claims, with huge implications if true. The interferometer measurement is a new one on me, a finding that again stretches credibility and one that seems to be directly at odds with the alleged mechanism of the EmDrive.

          Show me the repeated tests with full, honest accounting of potential errors. Show me the peer-reviewed papers that address all of the reviewers’ questions. Show me the independent verifications. In short, show me all of the *essential* efforts to find out if these huge claims are real, and I will enthusiastically report on the results.

          • Hugo Galvão Ribeiro Arraes

            To clarify some things:

            “Every so often an article gets posted here about the state of these devices. These often end up being quite heated arguments between groups of people (on all sides) that are working with partial information, are conflating speculation with what we know, and that misunderstand what scientists are actually looking at.

            So, because this will continue to be a hot topic, and because Eagleworks will be conducting more experiments in full vacuums soon, I wanted to collect what information has actually been revealed, not what has been speculated in sensationalist articles, echo chambers, and comment sections.
            Let me be clear, although I described the news articles as sensationalist, the facts as we currently know them are ALSO quite sensational.

            EmDrive vs. Cannae Drive

            The EmDrive and the Cannae Drive are two different things. They were independently invented by two people. The EmDrive was invented by Roger J. Shawyer, a British aerospace engineer who has a background in defense work as well as experience as a consultant on the Galileo project (a European version of the GPS system).
            The Cannae Drive was invented by Guido P. Fetta and was formerly known as the Q-Drive.
            They both are claimed to use a specially shaped cavity, with constricted openings, cone shaped cavity in metal, closed at both ends, and operate by using some form of electromagnetic radiation in the microwave spectrum to generate a directional force. The EmDrive is claimed to receive its force from the shape of the cavity, while the Cannae drive was claimed to receive its force from the shape of the cavity, and from specially shaped “slots” on the inside of the cavity.
            The EmDrive has been tested in a laboratory twice independently (once by a team at the China Northwestern Polytechnical University (NWPU) in Xi’an, and once by Eagleworks at the Johnson Space Center), under different conditions and setups, while the Cannae Drive has only been independently tested once by Eagleworks.
            Although they are independently invented, and different in shape, and the inventors claim different effects are the cause of the resulting force, because of their similarities in concept and mode of operation, as well as the particular method of interacting with the microwaves, it is likely that if they work they operate on the same principle regardless of what the inventors claim.

            The Inventors Claims

            Both inventors claim that their devices do not actually violate any physics, and instead take advantage of very particular but speculative aspects of existing physics. It is important to note that while both theories are being tested, Eagleworks is testing whether or not the devices work as a SEPARATE thing from why they work.
            Shawyer claims that the EmDrive works only on radiation pressure. Light is both wave-like and particle-like. Though it has no mass, it does have momentum, and the fact that light exerts a very small force on the objects it interacts with is well documented.
            Shawyer claims that the pressure exerted by light is a result of the group velocity of the wave, not the singular velocity of the the photon that interacts. He then uses this to contend that radiation pressure is actually a Lorentz force. As scientists understand it now, the momentum of a photon is related to phase velocity, while group velocity measures the propagation of information.
            Fetta contends that the Cannae Drive creates a bias in the quantum vacuum and pushes against it. Basically, physicists think that at very, very small scales, much smaller than atoms or even protons, space bubbles with quantum fluctuations. This bubbling is represented in the math as sort of imaginary particles that are spawned in pairs, and then very, very quickly the pairs come back together and destroy each other. Fetta contends that the Cannae Drive creates a bias where some of these particles never come back together, and then “pushes” against them.

            Cannae Tests So Far

            The only independent (not conducted by the inventor, the inventor’s company, or by labs hired by the inventor) tests of the Cannae Drive that I can verify have been done by Eagleworks at the Johnson Space Center.

            They performed three tests:
            1. The device as the inventor designed it.
            2. The device as the inventor designed it without the slotting that the inventor claimed was critical. (Called the “null test”.)

            3. A control test that used the same energy, but without the cavity present in the design.

            The results of these tests were as follows:
            1. Approximately 25 micronewtons of thrust at 50 Watts.
            2. The same results as test #1, showing that at the very least, the slotting provided no benefit or detriment to the effect happening.
            3. No measurable thrust.

            For each of these tests they use a torsion pendulum which could measure thrust down to about 10 micronewtons or so. They also ran the test multiple times. In addition, they ran the test in two directions, making sure that the directional thrust changed with the direction of the device (to attempt to eliminate the possibility of noise or instrumentation error). The Cannae Drive passed these test, and the control test showed it was unlikely (although not impossible) to be a heating or air current effect.

            The confusion over the naming of the “null test” however led many people to think that NASA reported the same thrust in the control test. This was not the case. The fact that the null test showed only that the inventor’s ideas for why thrust was being measured were incomplete or wrong, but it is certain that thrust was measured. That still does not eliminate other factors in measurement or the test setup that might have accounted for the measured thrust, although the control test does make the list smaller.

            The “null test” also was only performed on the Cannae Drive, and has no bearing on the EmDrive tests, as the EmDrive has no such features which might have be tested in this way, which has been another point of confusion among many people.

            EmDrive Tests

            The following independent tests have been performed for the EmDrive.

            1. A test at 2500 W of power during which a thrust of 750 millinewtons was measured by a Chinese team at the Chinese Northwestern Polytechnical University.
            2. A test at 50 W of power during which a thrust of 50 micronewtons was measured by Eagleworks at the Johnson Space Center at ~760 Torr of pressure. (Summer 2014)
            3. A test at 50 W of power during which a thrust of 50 micronewtons was measured by Eagleworks at the Johnson Space Center at ~5.0×10−6 torr or pressure. (Early 2015)
            4. A test at 50 W of power during which an interferometer (a modified Michelson device) was used to measure the stretching and compressing of spacetime within the device, which produced initial results that were consistent with an Alcubierre drive fluctuation.

            All these tests were conducted with a control device that did not produce thrust.


            NOTE: a better source was found for the Chinese results, and I have changed this section to reflect that.
            Test #1 was conducted at the direction of lead researcher Juan Yang. She tested the device at several power levels and frequencies using the same equipment used to test Ion Drives. The given result above was the largest result produced. Her team estimated that the total measurement error was less than 12%. Source 1 | Source 2
            Tests number 2 and 3 were performed multiple times, changing direction of the device and observing a corresponding change in the direction of force. They were not especially careful about controlling for ALL variables however, mostly owing to the lack of funding for the project. The positive tests have resulted in more funding becoming available, although it is still very, very little, and possibly not enough to explain where the error occurred if the measurement is error of some kind.
            Test #4 was performed, essentially, on a whim by the research team as they were bouncing ideas off each other, and was entirely unexpected. They are extremely hesitant to draw any conclusions based on test #4, although they certainly found it interesting.
            The Eagleworks team has been able to dedicate very little hardware towards this experiment, as there has been almost no dedicated funding for this experiment. The lack of funding is related to how outlandish the claims are to those who understand physics very well, and the lack of adequate explanation on the math behind the devices from the inventors.


            Much criticism has been given to the experiments. Some of it is warranted, but some of it is confusion.
            The idea that the control produced thrust is false, and has been perpetuated due to people interpreting the name “null test” to correspond to the control test. Other physicists have attacked the results based on the null test as well, although they have limited the criticism mainly to showing that the explanations provided by the inventor are wrong, not to invalidate the data collected so far.
            There has also been much criticism over not testing in a vacuum, (although they have since tested the device at approximately 5.0×10-6 torr pressure and achieved identical results), while others have claimed the team did not account for the Earth’s magnetic field.
            I can’t find any definitive accounts that the team accounted for Earth’s magnetic field, but many find it hard to believe that they would be putting so much effort into these tests without accounting for something that is so easy to account for.
            Others have criticized the measurement devices, specifically that so little force was measured. While the measured thrust was over 5 times the sensitivity limits of the torsion pendulum, with such small forces it is much easier for some sort of noise or other factor to appear to be thrust.
            Relatedly, some have claimed that tests at such small power are useless. The main reason the tests were conducted at such low wattage have to do with the hardware that was available to test with, and Eagleworks is planning on conducting a higher power test sometime this year.
            Some have questioned why no companies such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, or SpaceX have attempted to investigate the device, but regardless of how likely these companies find the results so far, the largest reason is almost surely that the devices are both patented by their inventors.
            Most however have criticized the tests based on the fact that there is no explanation for such results, and that they apparently contradict known laws of physics. With no understanding of the mechanism of such a device, the obvious answers seem to violate principles that nearly every other experiment in history have followed. For some, this alone is enough to dismiss the data, regardless of the controls used and the directional results.

            What’s Next

            Following the positive results last year and early this year, Eagleworks have been able to dedicate more and better hardware to the experiment. They plan to conduct the experiment with more controls at higher power this year, and when they are able to achieve results higher than 100 micronewtons for either device, they plan on having the test replicated at the Glenn Research Center, the Jet Propulsion Lab, and John Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab.
            If the experiment for either or both devices is replicated at higher power, and again at the other labs, it is likely that the physics community will work very hard to try and invalidate the experiments as there is little explanation for the results. This is good. This is science. You don’t do science by proving correct things, you do science by disproving wrong things.
            If either device gets to that stage however, it is likely that someone will start on a test in space very quickly. The applications for a device that functions as these appear to would basically replace every form of transportation and thrust invented by humans to date. Such a device would easily be used to make cars, planes, bikes, boats, etc., all more efficient, clean, and cheap.
            There are many reasons to doubt we will ever be flying to Saturn with one of these things, but it is equally important to talk about science in the context of what we KNOW.
            We KNOW that this experiment is producing results that contradict hundreds of years of other data, although that data was collected under different circumstances with different characteristics.
            We KNOW that thrust is being measured, and that it is beyond the range of “noise”, and that it is directional according to the device, but we do not know if the cause is thrust actually being generated, or some other factor which makes it appear that way.
            We KNOW that Fetta’s explanation for the Cannae Drive did not pass the “null test”, making it extremely unlikely that his explanation is correct. We also KNOW that Shawyer’s explanation for the EmDrive involve physics that won’t actually be directly tested with this device, and so even a positive result doesn’t necessarily vindicate his explanation.
            We KNOW that it’s very likely that the results are spurious, and that is why we are dedicating so few resources to the tests that the team didn’t even have vacuum rated capacitors for over six months. But we also KNOW that a positive result, however unlikely, would be a world changing discovery, and so the possible reward is great, while the extremely limited resources we are committing to the project give us little risk.
            And finally, we KNOW that the teams involved at the moment are well educated, well trained, experienced researchers dedicated to figuring out what is true, not what people wish was true, and so we should have little reason to criticize the researchers personally for their involvement in such a project.
            All of the stuff we know has come out without any results being published, because all the researchers involved, in the US and in China, are committed to doing a thorough job before drawing final conclusions. When you get a peek behind the curtain, science looks incredibly messy, but the result is a better understanding of our Universe, and that’s always worth it no matter how these tests pan out.”

          • coreyspowell

            Thanks for an extensive and heartfelt reply. You and I agree on the key points. This is potentially an exciting and hugely important finding, but it is far too soon to tell. The teams are measuring something. Whether that something is unexpectedly high instrument noise, unrecognized systematics of the setup, some other error, or a real effect is still unknown.

            The only way to cut through the confusion is to repeat the measurements with a full accounting of potential error; submit the results to peer review, so that other researchers can evaluate the results; and wait for independent parties to run their own tests.

            I recognize the researchers’ frustrations here. Unfortunately, this is what happens when you tease a sensational result before you have finished doing due diligence (something that happened to the BICEP2 team as well). The Eagleworks team also did themselves a great disservice by speculating wildly about a high-speed mission to Mars before properly checking whether the effect they were describing was even real.

  • Robert Collier

    Grand Unified Field Theory Curvature Constant 0.78615 : 0.70711 Fractal Circle Splitting Cone Parabolic: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/102617586/2014-11-02-vortexspace-package.zip

  • Noholdsbarred22

    In light of the recent tests, I think Mr. Powellshould update his statements on the Eagleworks Research.

    • coreyspowell

      The Eagleworks team finally did the vacuum test, with possibly encouraging results. But it is still wildly premature to say that they are seeing a real effect, much less to start building whole new physical theories around it.

      My colleague Ethan Siegel just did a thorough analysis of the latest report from Eagleworks and came to the same conclusion:


      • Noholdsbarred22

        I understand the skepticism. and I too agree that it is a little premature to start celebrating. But you do have to admit that they have now pretty much ruled out most other external forces that may be causing the effect. Now, three separate and independent teams have verified the same results which are repeatable. Whether this is the effect of the theory being tested is not yet known. For sure more testing is needed. I happen to think that if this is proven, we may have stumbled on a momentous discovery.

        • coreyspowell

          If it is proven to be real, no question, this is a hugely important discovery. But so far it is not proven, not even close. Almost everything we know about the EmDrive comes from limited information reported by a single team that has not submitted its work to peer review and that has a strong emotional interest in finding a positive result.

          One of the most important things to keep in mind in these cases is that it is very easy for researchers to fool themselves when they know what the answer “should” be. The history of science is full of examples of reputable researchers who carefully documented amazing phenomena that turned out in the end to be completely spurious. When the stakes are high, that is exactly when you need to be most cautious.

          • TLongmire

            What says you now?

          • coreyspowell

            Have you read the actual post on the NASASpaceflight.com forum? It is not a paper, much less a peer-reviewed one, nor is it a new, independent experiment. It is a self-reported, undocumented note with no backup claiming that the latest test runs have ruled out some of the possible sources of error. It is a tiny step forward, but not even remotely what is needed to make a credible case for the EmDrive.

  • http://www.rufusgwarren.com/ Rufus Warren

    It could fly, … the manipulation of the magnetic field and any particles trapped, i.e. even a simple vacuum is not “nothing”. So measure the same’s, i.e. a laser, … velocity, acceleration? Yes! Possible. Good idea. Depends upon your shielding.

    • Tau

      The shielding is one of the most important parts and most difficult parts of the machine to get right so I understand your concern.

  • http://www.rufusgwarren.com/ Rufus Warren

    Feedback and tonal response, yea. My problem is the shield, you would need a total energy transformation as having zero momentum but a finite acceleration. Along the correct paths through space, i.e. plotted required energy, multiple paths ,…

  • http://www.rufusgwarren.com/ Rufus Warren

    i.e. Strength of magnetic field?

  • IdPnSD

    You wrote – “At the same time, the important point here is that the things we do know are also vast.”

    I would claim exactly opposite. Let’s take the simplest example – Newton’s first law. It is completely wrong. Have you ever seen an object moving in a straight line with constant velocity on earth or in universe? No, you haven’t. Same can be said about the Newton’s third law.

    It is not necessary to understand math and physics to know that they are wrong. Two very fundamental philosophical ideas will prove them all wrong. (a) Money is not an object of nature. Therefore money is false and it must be free and abundant at the source. How can you create something true using something that is false like money? (b) Same can be said about real numbers. Real numbers are also not objects of nature and therefore are false. Real numbers cannot be used to describe nature. Therefore all of math must be wrong. Since physics uses math, it must be all wrong.

    For more details take a look at the free book on Soul Theory at the blog site – https://theoryofsouls.wordpress.com/ We are afraid of telling the truth, and knowing the truth also. We just want to maintain the status quo. We must define the truth first, see chapter one.

  • Spock

    The laws need to be revised for the theory is sound and based on the pressure the waves created by the magnetron. The system is comparable to a laser gyroscope as it also violates certain laws though still works. It does not violate open closed “circuits” as it does not itself reproduce or produce its own energy. I have also found their website and checked the math it is sound. PS I am thirteen and came up with the idea of light prepulsion with a friend when we were studying em waves so to have a prototype is an amazing advance.

  • Ryan Dunphy

    Cell phones are also impossible, at least according to the communication theory text books I had in college in the 70’s. Impossible to get a signal if the S/N ration was negative, as cell phone transmissions are.

    It’s unfortunate the author is biased without refuting evidence having been presented, but instead dismisses with comments like “When the results of the Cannae Drive prove impossible to validate (as will almost surely happen)”

    It the results presented in the paper were obtained using less than $10K in time and material, then it’s worth a $100K to complete the experiment in a full vacuum chamber set up as the author notes is necessary to remove other heating-related errors.

    Let’s keep an open mind until FACTS prove otherwise, shall we?

    • coreyspowell

      My attitude is simply: Don’t believe everything you are told. Look for convincing evidence before you accept an improbable result. In this case, keeping an open mind means being maintaining a healthy skepticism. Improbable results can be correct–and they should certainly be investigated fully–but belief should not precede evidence.

  • http://earthsociety.org/ Philosopher Rex

    Some people came up with inventions and are working to take them to market … people can debate why it works all they want when it comes to market – worrying about why it cannot work before it’s even gotten there is just taking a piss – why bother at all? Or is this just about the poor little ego’s of some people who’ve dedicated their lives to mainstream physics; getting frustrated that their work could possibly be ignored and left-behind if this pans out? Who cares what NASA thinks. Who cares what anyone thinks. if it works great, if not, back to the drawing board. whoop-di-do.

    • coreyspowell

      I agree: If it works, that would be great. That is the attitude of every scientist I’ve spoken to. The EmDrive would be revolutionary if it works. The reason for the grumpiness among many of those scientists is that so far the claims are huge but the evidence is meager…and so far, the people making those claims have touted their results while refusing to make them available to peer review.

      If White et al build a working prototype and show it can propel a spacecraft in orbit, I will be first in line to sing their praises. But running an equivocal lab test and prematurely proclaiming “it works!” is the kind of behavior that naturally invites skepticism.

  • Spock

    I have read the direct articles and papers from the inventors their equations seem to be correct though I have taken certain numbers from their website to plug into the equations possibly skewing the results. It is quite an interesting machine and should be researched further.

  • Hugo Galvão Ribeiro Arraes

    Well, well, well :-p

  • Kieran Garland

    Mildly amused to know that ‘Cannae’ is a Scottish colloquialism meaning ‘cannot’.

    • TLongmire

      Dismayed a rock consumes.

  • KellyManning

    The century old discovery that microwave and other photons have momentum, as well as mass equivalence, seems to be a case of security by obscurity, at least to those who have forgotten secondary school physics.

    Among other effects it shows up in gravitational lenseing.

    The “leaking” microwaves have momentum, so there is no need to get worried about non-conservation of momentum. The tiny thrust is a reaction which exactly balances the momentum of the microwaves emitted.

    This is decades old news with the Pioneer 10 and 11 course anomalies, not to mention being century old news from Einstein.


    “The magnitude of the force was still tiny by Earth standards—about the same as the backward push your car experiences in reaction to the photons spit out by its high-beam headlights.”

    This is the same principle as “Solar Sailing” with thrust generated by reflecting sunlight or a laser or maser beam.

    By the way, the mass equivalence of the microwave or other photon energy would come from the space craft.

    So much for thrust without “propellant”.

    Any attempt to use this would result in mass loss from the energy used to generate the photons and the photon mass energy equivalence. With the Pioneer probes the mass loss comes from Radioactive Thermal Generators units. The energy of radioactive decay is associated with reduced mass of the decay products which is exactly balanced the energy produced by the decay. Even chemical reactions generate small amounts of mass loss equivalent to the energy produced by the reaction. Once the reaction has occurred spent chemical or nuclear power fuel is just dead weight on the space craft.

    In my 1972 first year university physics class someone proposed using solar panels to power a photon drive. Somehow they realized that photons leaving a laser or other light would have momentum, but forgot that the photons absorbed by the solar panels have momentum which would push the craft away from the sun or any other star it was using as a power source. You may be able to redirect a fraction of the energy as photon thrust, but the dominant photon thrust is away from the star or laser source.


  • ThomasXxs

    Just because you can’t explain it using existing theory, does not mean this device does not work to produce measurable thrust. It may mean existing laws of physics are incomplete and that should no longer count as a huge surprise. When the position of the device was reversed, so was the direction of the thrust. And the testing was much more scientifically sound than you seem willing to admit.

    • http://www.rufusgwarren.com/ Rufus Warren

      True, true. !. The laws of physics, i.e. Maxwell are true. False, the universal constants using an ambiguous unit, mass. True, every reaction has an opposite reaction. The field gives momentum to 1 or more particles; therefore, thrust will exist and calculable, and measurable given a strong enough field.

      Also, the speed of light is not a constant. Only the propagation constant, frequency divided by the period; hence, moving into a light wave front will increase frequency and moving away will decrease frequency. The wave front may then be minus/plus infinity. juz say’n

  • grenouillard

    Good job, Corey. Critical thinking seems to be the propellant we are always in dire shortage.

  • Hugo Galvão Ribeiro Arraes

    Well, well, well. It’s been a pleasure to see this topic again. History never forgives.

  • skarletsyquia

    My business partners were looking for VA DoT 760 a few weeks ago and were made aware of a great service with an online forms database . If others require VA DoT 760 too , here’s http://goo.gl/W5VZZf.

  • Peter Pietro

    I’m gonna share this on fb 2 years after pubblication because it seem here in Italy this topic is still considered a legitimate news.

  • Hugo Galvão Ribeiro Arraes

    It’s over. Works. Ha ha ha ha ha

    Science 1, medieval thinking 0

    • http://www.lenrnews.eu/lenr-summary-for-policy-makers/ AlainCo

      not definitive, but should definitively push scientific people to look further and either understand the error, or confirm the anomaly.

      Note that some buzz says Chinese may have new results from Space.
      The project of Cannae company to launche a test sattelite may be implemented too.

  • Slo-Mo

    My comment is latecomibg, probably wont be read except perhaps by the author.

    Why should a lone inventor collaborate or present all of their work openly? If they show you their rocket, give you a demo, over and over again then why must you have the honor of getting a look under the hood, e.g., if he’s operating it for business. Who are we to question their intentions, we should merely be honored to get an invite to a showing.

  • Andinz

    I should like someone to rule out the effect of the Earth’s magnetic field. As a thought experiment, if I had a handful of North poles that I could switch on like this drive, I would surely experience movement in a direction governed by the interaction of the magnetic fields. I am not saying that this drive creates N-poles but a similar interaction of fields could produce movement without transfer of material. You need to combine CoM with CoE don’t you?

  • http://WWW.AmericanTemplarTacticalArmyofChristianKnights.com cavetroll

    This article was written by those with a “Flat World vision. It reminds me of how Gravity was explained to me in 7th Grade science classes. We we’re taught, as a solid principle of Physics, that gravity was a sort of centrifugal force, like water in a bucket being swung in an arc, causing the water to be pressed down to the buckets surface. It took an uneducated painter to question and disprove the world Physicists wrong about so basic a concept. Today, none of them can explain Gravity, with any certainty.
    Einstein’s relativity states we cannot exceed the speed of light no matter how much energy is used in propulsion. He may be right. How can we ever exceed the speed of light and achieve a Warp speed engine? Maybe we need to consider other types of motion than propulsion. Maybe pushing is an antiquated way of achieving motion. What happens when there’s a change in polarity in a sine wave? The polarity shift isn’t pushed or propelled and the speed at which the polarity shifts is regulated , presently, by the speed at which we generate that wave. The faster the sine is generated, the faster the polarity changes, Can a sine be generated at a speed faster than light ?
    Another factor to look at is, the universe may be infinite. If it truly is, then direction does not truly exist other than as reference or standard of measure. Without true direction, Is a straight line still the shortest , fastest route from one point to another? If the known molecular composition of an object can be reproduced, and an object is scanned at one point while it is reproduced at another point light years away , the object is transferred or reproduced, faster than light could be propelled that distance. How could that be accomplished? Maybe in short steps expanding a network as we go further out into space. Warp remains a future prospect. I put it to you that faster than light travel is inevitable and Einstein’s theory while essentially correct, applies to a very old concept of motion. Propulsion is like the wheel , it works, but is no longer the most efficient form of travel or workload transfer. Maybe , like a front wheel drive car, pulling is more efficient than pushing. I suggest you keep your perceptions and convictions open to the strange and weird possibilities that are so lightly dismissed by narrow minds with narrower vision. I remember when Kennedy challenged the scientific community to put a man on the moon within ten years. We all thought the President, was nuts. Today, a man on the moon, isn’t even exciting..

  • http://WWW.AmericanTemplarTacticalArmyofChristianKnights.com cavetroll

    Any discussion of faster than light speed requires an understanding of time. Time ,doesn’t truly exist though. Time is simply a standard of measure. It is not an entity, it is a concept. The thought of faster than light speeds is often included in considering “time Travel” but there is no such thing. If you left Earth at faster than light speed, you would eventually catch up to light images of things that occurred on Earth in the past, and possibly be able to watch what happened in past times, but you would only be able to watch. Like an old movie, you could see but not participate in. Thus “time Travel” to the past could sort of be accomplished allowing us to view the past’s images. Travel to the future will never be possible. Again, like time, “the Future” is strictly a standard of measure, not an entity. If faster than Light speed would bring us visions of the past as we catch up to the light images that left earth, to move through time in the opposite direction, would mean travel at slower than light speeds. Well that doesn’t work, that’s all we’ve ever had and we can’t reach the future, because it’s still a term used to describe a standard of measurement. The future has never occurred yet, so it can’t be caught up to. It doesn’t exist as an entity. Time travel to the future will never be possible.

  • http://brentjones.org/ brentrjones

    Cold fusion. Magic socks. Transmutation of lead into gold, excluding radiation. Orange juice or massive doses of vitamin C can cure colds. The moon is made of cheese. Those lines on Mars are canals. Levitation by mystics. Psychokinesis. ESP. These are a few of comparable things. 😀


Out There

Notes from the far edge of space, astronomy, and physics.

About Corey S. Powell

Corey S. Powell is DISCOVER's Editor at Large and former Editor in Chief. Previously he has sat on the board of editors of Scientific American, taught science journalism at NYU, and been fired from NASA. Corey is the author of "20 Ways the World Could End," one of the first doomsday manuals, and "God in the Equation," an examination of the spiritual impulse in modern cosmology. He lives in Brooklyn, under nearly starless skies.


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