One of the biggest obstacles we have faced when it comes to going to other planets is the amount of time that it will take for us to get there. NASA, and other independent space exploration teams, has been working on a solution to this for decades. In 1999, a British scientist, Roger Shawyer, came up with the idea of producing an EM drive (short for electromagnetic propulsion drive) which would be able to cover these amazing distances in significantly less time. The only opposition he has had to making the EM drive is the fact that it completely defies one of the fundamental laws of physics.
Newton’s third law is: ‘To each action there is an equal and opposite reaction.’ The law of conservation of momentum breaks this down further; to state that for any thruster to gain momentum it will need to expel a propellant in the opposite direction. The design of the EM drive would allow it to go in one direction without any propellant in the other. It would operate by turning radio waves into thrust by bouncing them back and forth inside of a cone-shaped closed metal cavity. The other end of the EM drive will then thrust forward. A range of tests at NASA’s Eagleworks Laboratory have proven that this ‘impossible’ device works, even though scientists are still unable to come up with an explanation as to how it can defy one of Newton’s laws.
The possibilities of space exploration would become unlimited with the use of the EM drive, which would be able to transport humans to Mars in 70 days (presently it takes between 150 and 300). It is rumoured that the years of research into the possibility of sending one into space has now been peer approved, and papers regarding the device are expected to be published shortly. In addition, Guida Fetta has designed a rocket engine based on the original concept of Shawyer’s EM drive and plans to launch it on a miniature satellite within a few months. His team of scientists will let it remain in orbit for at least six months to prove that the drive will continue to work over an extended period of time.
There are also speculations that other devices using the same technology are being made by the original designer Shawyer, and several private companies in China, that are almost ready to be launched as well. The race seems to now be on to see which team will be able blast the barriers of space exploration, in the shortest amount of time. Regardless of the country or inventor that makes the first launch, the important thing to note is that this invention will be one of the greatest of all time and another giant leap into our exploration of the universe.