An Electromagnetic (EM) Drive, is also known as a Radio Frequency Resonant Cavity Thruster. It creates a force by bouncing microwaves back and forth in a truncated cone. The energy is thrust towards the narrow end of the cone which prompts the device to begin moving. As the cone moves, the momentum increases and it advances without the need for a propellant. This works against Newton’s Third Law of Motion, which states that ‘for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.’ Based on this theory the concept of creating an EM Drive should be impossible, yet many scientists believe that one can be made. China has even claimed to have gone against the current Laws of Physics, and created a functioning prototype.
EM Drives are often mistaken for warp drives which, in theory, would move faster than the speed of light. Without either technology confirmed, a mission to Mars would need to be fueled by rocket propulsions methods currently available. NASA, and other companies that focus on space exploration, are trying to build bigger spaceships and expand on rocket launching technology to significantly shorten the time it would take to travel between Earth and Mars. A functioning EM Drive would add to these advantages, by propelling a rocket to Mars in just 10 days. In addition, satellites could be reduced to half their current size, and space exploration could be expanded as a result of the propulsion that would be created along the way.
NASA has previously published peer reviewed test results, which show that creating an EM Drive is theoretically possible. Even though they have confirmed this possibility, NASA has been unable to produce one. The Chinese, on the other hand, have recently released a video which is aimed at corroborating their claim to have a functioning EM Drive. The footage reportedly shows the drive in action, even though the details of the EM Drive are not discussed in the video. There has also been speculation that the country is preparing to launch a vessel fueled by this EM Drive into outer space in the near future.
The existence of the technology is yet to be confirmed, and this isn’t China’s first claim to have a working EM Drive. In December 2016, researchers stated that the government has been funding research into the topic since 2010. There was also the claim that the EM Drive had been tested in low earth orbit, with the goal of validating the technology and incorporating it into the field of satellite engineering as quickly as possible. These tests were supposed to have been taking place aboard Tiangong-2, in November 2016.