Dragon Space and the ‘Impossible’

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:

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Emdrive_2

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.”

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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.

Chinese say they’re building ‘impossible’ drive

Shenzhou Astronauts Brace For Space Walk

Conservation of Energy

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3 responses

  1. […] 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 … Continue here: Dragon Space and the ‘Impossible’ […]

  2. Hi dad2059 et al. …

    I copied the photo of the alleged emdrive device, then enlarged it greatly and studied the works.

    At the very rear is what looks like a clock drive motor then in front towards the direction of the flared cavity I see a bunch of nylon gears etc similar to reduction gear device? The next thought that hit me is where is the magnetron oscillator or something that would indicate it could produce even anything in that part of the spectrum. This thing is either the wrong photo or its a hoax. Also the end of the horn would need to be closed rather than open as it seems, but possibly there a cover plate on the end.

    This thing surely looks almost Jules Verne clunky to me. I urge folks to do the same; ie., copy the photo, then enlarge it and take the time to study the clock motor and nylon “gear” works behind the horn?!

    If I could draw a block diagram a device to propel anything using such technology would have a power supply to generate DC electric power necessary to drive a “non-moving” part device; ie., the magnetron and then fed to a double closed end wave containment structure via a short waveguide. The containment chamber must have a differential cross section in order to create his proposed thrust. I see nothing connecting into the side of the containment horn section as explained in his paper. I’ll provide a link to the paper by Roger Shawer and associates mentioned in the acknowledgements section at the end of the paper. It’s worth going through even if one can’t due the math operations. Simply read and reread the general proposals on his behalf concerning the operation of the device.

    http://emdrive.com/theorypaper9-4.pdf

    All I can say is the device shown on the photo with this article surely doesn’t seem like the device described and sketched in Shawer’s paper; ie., there’s too many moving, questionable parts as far as I’m concerned.

    The following is a link to an article discussing the use of lasers to heat air in order to provide lift for spacecraft into orbit. A different application, but quite interesting to say the least.

    http://science.howstuffworks.com/light-propulsion.htm/printable

    Carl Nemo **==

  3. “All I can say is the device shown on the photo with this article surely doesn’t seem like the device described and sketched in Shawer’s paper…”

    It could be a fake device because of possible patent theft. I wouldn’t think Shawyer would have a real photo of his invention going viral over the ‘Tubes.

    As for the physics of it, I read the paper and I could understand about half of it.

    I guess the frame of relativity reference could work, but it seems to me almost like a perpetual motion machine, which as we all know isn’t possible in classical physics.

    “…the use of lasers to heat air in order to provide lift for spacecraft into orbit…”

    A concept that has some history to it. I remember reading a short story by Jerry Pournelle which utilized a launching laser powered by MHD generators ( http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/magnetohydrodynamics.aspx ) and that was about thirty years ago.

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