While some may say that nothing is impossible, that is a word that has been frequently used by experts to describe the EmDrive. To some the EmDrive is crazy, junk science that will never amount to anything; however, its British inventor Roger Shawyer has stuck by it resolutely and insists that this ground breaking spacecraft propulsion system does in fact work.The EmDrive is a highly efficient propellant-less propulsion system that converts microwave energy into thrust inside a sealed chamber. Such a thruster could be powered by solar electricity, eliminating the need for the supply of propellant that occupies up to half the launch mass of many satellites.
Now, the big boys in the field, NASA, have tested the viability of a microwave thruster, built by US scientist Guido Fetta. The results are in, and it seems Shawyer may have been right after all. After eight days of work, which involved using a highly sensitive low-thrust torsion pendulum within a Stainless Steel vacuum chamber, the scientists were able to confirm that around 30-50 micro-Newtons of thrust were produced.
A working microwave thruster would radically cut the cost of satellites and space stations and extend their working life, drive deep-space missions, and take astronauts to Mars in weeks rather than months. The EmDrive may well turn out to be another great British invention.
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