Innovation with no limits — The Possimpible (Cannae-/) EmDrive
Earlier this week I read a fascinating article which only indicates a way of creating power with nearly no input. This way of creating power should even most probably violate the current laws of Physics, why most Physicians look skeptically at it, but actual tests are showing results. This made me on the other hand curious, so I read more.
Imagine you have two cars driving on a street on the same lane, into the same direction. The car behind is driving with a speed of 5 meters per second and weights 1.000 kilograms. The other car in the front drives with a speed of 3 meters per hour and weights 5.000 kilograms. We are now considering this as isolated system, i.e. under leaving all other influences such as wind or gravity outside consideration.
The Physical Law to be considered
In the starting point these two cars create a momentum of 5 m/s multiplied by 1.000 kg, plus 3 m/s multiplied by 5.000 kg, which equals 20.000 kg m / s (=Newton) or 20 kilo Newton (kN).
Depending on the distance between them, both cars will collide after some time. The Momentum Conversation Principle (also known as Newtons Third law) says, that after collision, the momentum will stay the same. As described above, this system leaves the other environment outside of the view, which also means that potential damages of both cars are not considered.
As a result both collided cars are now acting as one vehicle. The new mass is 6.000 kg (1.000 kg plus 5.000 kg). The momentum stays the same (20.000 kg m / s). This means that this new vehicle drives with a speed of 3,33 meters per second (20.000 kg m / s divided by 6.000 kg).
The (Cannae) EmDrive approach
EmDrive stands for Electromagnetic Drive. One further developed project is also known as Cannae Drive, but both methods seem to have similarities in the procedure. The Cannae Drive is also already positively confirmed by NASA, but many scientists still doubt this, as it should violate Newtons Third law.
The drive is a potential drive for travelling through space. The basis of this drive is a Magnetron producing Microwaves, directed into a fully closed metallic form (also called “Q resonant Cavity”). This procedure produces a thrust. In eve more simple words: This Drive uses electricity to create thrust, without even the need of a mass. The shape of the cavity (in which the Microwaves are being produced / released) enables Momentum in the electromagnetic waves, which are inside the cavity. This momentum is being transferred to the cavity itself and electric energy is changed to kinetic energy.
Many physicians interpret the EmDrive as reactionless procedure. The Developer Roger Shawyer describes it contrary. The EmDrive works because of Newtons Third Law. In the one direction Thrust is being produced. In the opposite direction it is being accelerated. The Momentum should be conserved.
Anyways, I am not a Physician that understands the whole procedure in detail, but I am curious about it. What I read about the EmDrive sounds fascinating and might be a real progress in technology. I personally believe in this technology and am excited about further developments. At the end you see three main sources I used for this.
The power and risk with innovations
The more interesting and innovative a discovery is, the more skeptical the most people generally are. Great innovations can change the world as we know it, but they can also include high risks.
Nikola Tesla e.g. believed and worked on methods of a controlled wireless transfer of electricity on long distance, even on a worldwide range. He worked on it in the late 19th and early 20th century. He truly believed in the success of his Theory and even claimed his proven idea on positive testing on a short distance. Nevertheless, he could never officially confirm the success of his experiment as required. Challenges with the investor caused a stop for him on this project. Some further tries of other scientists were never successful, why it seems proven to be not possible, although some myths are around that Tesla succeeded.
This specific project could have changed the world as we know it, but as much as it could have changed the world, scientists also fear risk: Which way does the electricity chose? What happens to objects that are on the way (comparing this with thunders which actually is wireless electricity)? How can potential damages be stopped and how to find a valid testing area? This project bears for sure high risks. I would not want to have the responsibility of e.g. causing a forest fire or the dead of people. Did Tesla not care about this or was he maybe a visionary?
I believe that that every person sees things from a different point of view. Everyone has different experience and knowledge. Everyone interprets observations his own way, depending on the experience and knowledge. Some people are special visionaries. Albert Einstein e.g. was a theoretical physicist. He changed the ideas and basics of Physics fundamentally. He developed several theories regarding the structure of matter, Time and Space, as well as the gravity. Some of his Theories stayed Theories and are partly being proven just now, like the gravitational waves caused by two merging black holes. From my perspective (depending on possible consequences), such visionaries should be heard and understood. Theories should be tested under high security standards to avoid damages. Confirmed visions can cause real fast progress of the whole environment.
What could the EmDrive accomplish?
The EmDrive ca be used as Drive. On earth, the gravity is working as a break, why the energy to be invested is very high. The acceleration in space is in contrast much higher, but the visions of Roger Shawyer does not fear the gravity. The General methods of the EmDrive can make the next Science fictions come true.
Cars can use the technology to hover above the ground. Streets are no longer necessary and traffic jams can be minimized, but of course, also in the air, traffic needs to be organized to avoid catastrophes. The transportation of people can be faster and more Eco-friendly, as emissions are not being caused. Transfers can even be automated.
Another topic, also promoted by Shawyer: Sun-shields can be sent and automatically held in the atmosphere to compensate the holes on the ozone hole and therefor to minimize the climate change. The electricity can be won from the sun directly.
Satellites can use this technology and would not need a nuclear reactor anymore. In space the gravity is much lower than on earth. Therefor the needed energy for simply moving and operating satellites is lower as well.
Space travels can be much faster. As of theory, Mars could be reached in only a few weeks instead of in some years. The acceleration shall be around seven times faster than that of conventional rockets, plus also energy saving.
From my perspective, scientists should not always be thinking strict in the borders of their understanding of scientific rules and laws. I do not think that the world has also nearly the knowledge available that it can reach. There are still many secrets that need to be discovered and thinking and testing outside of these borders might open the view to new, undefined rules. This can speed up the development in science.
So, who could have anything against this progress?
On the one hand, there is the industry, e.g. the car industry. Of course, this innovation can cause great benefits and progress, as it is also Eco-Friendly, but it also challenges the industry. Car manufacturers invested a lot of money in the development of their technology. They are even proud of it. They are waiting for the Return on Investment, so, why should they speed up in the development of this new Technology? For economic reasons, proven players work on their developments becoming Stars and Cash Cows, at least before publishing new innovations that risk their model.
The next group of people may be doubters in science. They take a quick look, possibly do not understand the technology and find reasons to grow their doubts based on smattering and maybe some bad experience, or just to keep others small / let themselves shine brighter. They are breaks and are not even willing to test this vision to find out, whether they are right or wrong. Such people keep ideas small and try to stop visionaries and supporters, but they are probably right, in their thinking system.
The politics can also be a blocker. Politicians are usually no people with a strong scientific background and understanding. Public facilities might support in testing innovations, or they might block, as those scientists who think negative about an innovation shout louder or important Media prefers to sell catastrophes instead of small successes.
What might the distrust, worrying and fear cause?
Where there is shadow on the one side, the sun might shine on the other side. Companies with a high liquidity that are interested in driving innovations might test such technology and even make it ready for the commercial market. I heard about a company that even encourages its employees, to prove as fast as possible that a new theory about a technology does not work. This company does this regularly and as a result opens itself for innovations and new markets to enter, which is a risk for the conventional industry, if they do not start, working on it.
Other countries, maybe even countries that are developed less at the moment might see chances for their economy to grow international players by subsidizing companies researching on new technologies. These countries might grow global players inside its borders and the rest of the world might not even listen to it.
The mistrust and fear from is of course well-reasoned sometimes, but it also causes a slowdown in the development of science.
What if no one paid attention to Albert Einstein and its Theories?
What if Nikola Tesla had investment for more testing and his revolutionary thoughts had been safe and successful?
What if Roger Shawyer is correct and the EmDrive will be officially proven?
The first successful test was achieved in 2001. 15 year already passed, but in the last years the development starts to speed up and the EmDrive was already successfully tested more than once. Maybe the next visions of Science Fiction movies become true. Maybe we can save planet earth. Maybe we can colonize Mars even faster.
See also (last access 28.06.2016):