The so-called electromagnetic( EM) drive, which is loosely connected to NASA, is a hypothetical form of spacefaring propulsion that uses microwaves in a small chamber in order to produce thrust. Some in the media have mischievously claimed that this drive will actually be able to reach speeds wherein it will warp space and time around it.
So, has NASA really devised a warp drive? No, of course it hasnt but that wont stop it being peer reviewed, according to a comment made by one of its chief designers on the NASA Spaceflight forum last week. Among all the cloak-and-dagger mystery surrounding the EM drive, a study written about it may have been sent out to a journal for some rigorous scientific examination.
Theres been a lot of controversy surrounding this drive. Back in 2011, NASA announced that they were implementing an advanced propulsion physics laboratory. Colloquially known as Eagleworks, it was designed to look into the possibilities of constructing systems capable of sending humen to the farthest, deepest, darkest regions of space.
One of the projects to emerge from this is the EM drive. The NAS-Abased group claimed there was a route to use microwaves to fire a craft through space without needing a heavy propellant. Claims were made all across the wilderness of the Internet that during the testing of the drive, the researchers noticed that the fabric of space was being warped around it hence, the warp drive.
The laws of physics are notoriously hard to break. Markus Gann/ Shutterstock
Had they really received a route to travel faster than the speed of light? Well , no. Making thrust without a propellant transgres the law of the conservation of momentum; with no pushback by any sort of propellant, you cant get thrust. Claiming you are able to is like saying you can get to the Moon by only sitting in a tin can and leaning against the front end of it from the inside believe it or not, this wont work. So much for faster-than-light traveling, then.
Nevertheless, Paul March, one of the Eagleworks researchers, lately claimed that they have still somehow developed a propellant-lacking thrust system in a space-like vacuum. Regrettably, there werent any peer reviewed studies to back this up, and to date, there has been absolutely no confirmation that the EM drive has broken the laws of physics. NASA, perturbed by all these rumors, has even come out and said that theyre not working on a warp drive.
However, responding to a thread discussing the fate of Eagleworks and the EM drive, March told NASA Spaceflight forum users to please have patience about when our next EM paper is going to be published. He then noted thatpeer reviews are glacially slow, which could imply that one of their newspapers is currently undergoing the peer review process.
Without any additional information, its completely uncertain as to what Eagleworks researchers may or may not have been discovered, and what may be described in this EM drive analyse. Watch this space, but as always, remain skeptical its not easy to break the speed of light, after all.