Unless you’ve been living under a rock this past week, you know the Chinese launched their Shenzhou VII flight into Earth orbit yesterday for their first space walk mission.
Other than the usual Chinese government news blackout and rumors the “taikonauts” might be suffering some space-sickness, the objective of the mission is still on schedule for Saturday.
It is quite amazing to see the Chinese space program is advancing as quickly as it is. Of course all those electronic designs that got stolen and shipped over there during the 1980s and 1990s probably didn’t hurt either. Alot of people on both sides made some money doing that.
With that in mind, the Chinese have a huge opportunity with a rather esoteric technology the author of the following post claims will propel them to the lead of space technology:
Chinese researchers claim they’ve confirmed the theory behind an “impossible” space drive, and are proceeding to build a demonstration version. If they’re right, this might transform the economics of satellites, open up new possibilities for space exploration –- and give the Chinese a decisive military advantage in space.Emdrive” (short for “electromagnetic drive”) concept is controversial would be an understatement. According to Roger Shawyer, the British scientist who developed the concept, the drive converts electrical energy into thrust via microwaves, without violating any laws of physics. Many researchers believe otherwise. An article about the Emdrive in New Scientist magazine drew a massive volley of criticism. Scientists not only argued that Shawyer’s work was blatantly impossible, and that his reasoning was flawed. They also said the article should never have been published.
“It is well known that Roger Shawyer’s ‘electromagnetic relativity drive’ violates the law of conservation of momentum, making it simply the latest in a long line of ‘perpetuum mobiles’ that have been proposed and disproved for centuries,” wrote John Costella, an Australian physicist. “His analysis is rubbish and his ‘drive’ impossible.”
Shawyer stands by his theoretical work. His company, Satellite Propulsion Research (SPR), has constructed demonstration engines, which he says produce thrust using a tapering resonant cavity filled with microwaves. He is adamant that this is not a perpetual motion machine, and does not violate the law of conservation of momentum because different reference frames apply to the drive and the waves within it. Shawyer’s big challenge, he says, has been getting people who will actually look into his claims rather than simply dismissing them.
Such extravagant claims are usually associated with self-taught, backyard inventors claiming Einstein got it all wrong. But Shawyer is a scientist who has worked with radar and communication systems and was a program manager at European space company EADS Astrium; his work rests entirely on Einstein being right. The thrust is the result of a relativistic effect and would not occur under simple Newtonian physics. Many have dismissed his work out of hand, and British government funding has ceased. He has had some interest from both the United States and China. Now the Chinese connection with the Northwestern Polytechnical University (NPU) in Xi’an seems to have paid off.
“NPU started their research program in June 2007, under the supervision of Professor Yang Juan. They have independently developed a mathematical simulation which shows unequivocally that a net force can be produced from a simple resonant tapered cavity,” Shawyer tells Danger Room. “The thrust levels predicted by this simulation are similar to those resulting from the SPR design software, and the SPR test results.”
I don’t know the physics of this technology, but I do know of the law of the conservation of energy that states, “…the total amount of energy in any isolated system remains constant but cannot be recreated, although it may change form…”
Now by looking at the device, I can’t see where it could get any working reaction mass that’ll make it go, unless it uses the entropy of the actual material of the device itself to convert electricity into microwaves.
But as Shawyer states, the device uses relativity, or possibly quantum effects ( my guess ) as frames of reference.
Perhaps some of my more learned readers can tell whether this guy is full of shit or not.
Like it or not, the Chinese are taking this research seriously and the potential pay-off could be huge.
Unless the Pentagon has something better already.