Reactionless space thruster under construction in China


The Chinese are attempting to implement the Emdrive, a hypothetical propulsion system derided by many scientists as a perpetual motion machine that doesn't account for conservation of momentum. Check out the designers' FAQ and description of how it works and, and then read why people think it won't.

Conceived by Roger Shawyer, the drive is under development at the Northwestern Polytechnical University in X'ian. And if it does work? Fuel-free satellites and other spacecraft is the hook: something China is very much interested in.

Perhaps there should be a sort of "Mr. Yuk" or "Smokey the Bear" for scientists, so they know not to lick or set fire to the wrong things. "Mr. Thermodynamics," doesn't quite have the right ring to it.

Photo: Emdrive
Chinese Say They're Building 'Impossible' Space Drive [Danger Room]

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11 Responses to Reactionless space thruster under construction in China

  1. strougly says:

    you hit the nail on that one…a mascot to warn against violating fundamental laws of physics.

    the best i can come up with is something like a hot stuff demon.

  2. Logotu says:

    I’m skeptical, but also intrigued that it’s shown enough promise to get this far.

  3. Big Dave Diode says:

    It’s the oscillation overthruster!

  4. elguapostrikes says:

    Yo-Yo Dine propulsion systems: Where the future begins tomorrow!

  5. markfrei says:

    I’m so bored of all this steampunk art.

  6. Anonymous says:

    this is crap. I just read the paper that discrribes(sp) the theory and it reads like a sophmore physics test where the student failed. The use of special relitivity is plain wrong, the analysis of the resonator neglects the fact that it has side walls, and so on. I’m stuned they got money. Sorry if this is a bit garrbaled, I am on my iPod touch.

  7. maoinhibitor says:

    If, against all odds, this thruster works, it will be the first item of Chinese technology ever reverse engineered by an American company.

  8. Daemon says:

    Looks like a cooking apparatus of some sort.

  9. Mac says:

    One of my pet annoyances is when people point out why these devices won’t work they just resort to ‘It breaks the law of conservation of energy/conservation of momentum/thermodynamics’.

    The real interest is in WHERE the calculations are wrong to give the obviously wrong result. Simply pointing out that the end result is wrong is cheating .. its the equivalent of looking up the answer in the back of the book.

    Costella does a nice job of showing to the layman (such as me) the flaw in the logic. It’s not what most people think, either.

    For example, the analysis DOES take into account that the resonator has side walls.

    Read this for the cheat notes if you give up searching for the puzzle’s answer yourself:

    (Hint: It is in Figure 2.4 of Shawyer’s paper: )

    Happy debunking !

    (PS: It isn’t really true that ‘The Chinese’ is building it. Some guy at a tech college is building a model. Sounds like a pretty cool project … even if doomed)

  10. Anonymous says:

    ALL devices that claim to defy the so-called “laws of physics” should be built and tested!

    Many of the “immutable laws” I was taught in school (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth) have since been disproved. We wouldn’t have superconducting electromagnets, for one example, if people hadn’t explicitly defied the conventional wisdom. (We’d also be stuck with less than 100 TV channels, but I guess that might have been all for the better.)

    Having students build and study such devices is pure brilliance. Brilliant, I say! Pass me a pint o’ Guinness.

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