Thruster evaluation : NASA to be trusted ?

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Thruster evaluation : NASA to be trusted ?

Post by 99guspuppet » Thu Aug 07, 2014 1:07 am

A electromagnetic thruster concept has been lurking about since about 2001. Developed by Roger Shawyer , the claim was it did not require propellant. News reports say NASA has recently tested it ( 2014 ) and that thrust was measured.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EmDrive

So my thoughts are are 3-fold.

#1 What level of credibility should this development be accorded ? on a scale of zero to ten .
#2 If it becomes reality, what can we do with it ? Power a craft to Mars ? Lift a piano ?
#3 If it appears to be largely credible , how can we accelerate it's development ?

I really want to go to Mars , so I will probably be a sucker for any scheme that promises that result.
( Like Mars-One.com )
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Re: Thruster evaluation : NASA to be trusted ?

Post by clarsct » Thu Aug 07, 2014 3:57 am

There is a lot of skepticism about this. I'll dig up some links in a bit. PM me in a week if I forget.

Basically, a lot of fairly bright folks fell for cold fusion, as well. I would need to see the experiments independently replicated.

After that...well. If it pans out, it does make travelling between planets a lot easier, though I don't know about faster. I would have to see some efficiency stats to have an idea if it's of any use to us on Earth.

The real draw is the ability to create thrust without having to take material with you to do so. Means we can make probes and spacecraft lighter and cheaper.

But until it can be independently verified, it's all speculation for me.

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Re: Thruster evaluation : NASA to be trusted ?

Post by corplinx » Thu Aug 07, 2014 5:14 am

It isn't supposed to be a zero energy device, just a zero propellant one. The idea is that you convert solar energy into microwaves that bouncing inside the engine propel a device in a vacuum forward.

Think solar gyroscope but instead of spinning, you figure out a way to get actual directional vectors.

So, if it actually does work, I'm sure the explanation won't be earth shattering but something simpler.

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Re: Thruster evaluation : NASA to be trusted ?

Post by Anaxagoras » Thu Aug 07, 2014 5:20 am

Lifting a piano (in earth gravity) probably not.

In zero gravity though, it doesn't take much to move something.

My understanding of the ion drive is that it's not good for getting anything out of a large gravity well, but could be good for thrust in outer space where there is no significant gravity.
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Re: Thruster evaluation : NASA to be trusted ?

Post by Doctor X » Thu Aug 07, 2014 5:32 am

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Re: Thruster evaluation : NASA to be trusted ?

Post by Rob Lister » Thu Aug 07, 2014 10:34 am

corplinx wrote:It isn't supposed to be a zero energy device, just a zero propellant one....
The conservation of momentum is no less a physical law of the universe than is the conservation of energy.

Suggesting it can be violated is no less woo.

And that's all there is to that.

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Re: Thruster evaluation : NASA to be trusted ?

Post by Anaxagoras » Thu Aug 07, 2014 1:00 pm

Is this the paper?

http://arc.aiaa.org/doi/abs/10.2514/6.2014-4029

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi. ... 006052.pdf

So they don't talk about the physics, but they tested two devices, one which was supposed to produce thrust and one which wasn't. They both produced thrust. I have no idea what effect is really happening here.


Can NASA be trusted? In general I would say so, but of course it's not impossible for them to be wrong. Here in Japan there was a recent case of scientific misconduct at an important government-sponsored research institute. Hopefully such cases are the exception rather than the rule.

I see no reason yet to suspect any dishonesty is at work here, but maybe something other than these unusual theories is at work. After all, the device that wasn't supposed to produce thrust, did.
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Re: Thruster evaluation : NASA to be trusted ?

Post by Rob Lister » Thu Aug 07, 2014 1:16 pm

Anaxagoras wrote:Is this the paper?

http://arc.aiaa.org/doi/abs/10.2514/6.2014-4029

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi. ... 006052.pdf

So they don't talk about the physics, but they tested two devices, one which was supposed to produce thrust and one which wasn't. They both produced thrust. I have no idea what effect is really happening here.
Which points precisely to a problem with the test control. A bad test design. Why it is bad is an interesting question but not an important one. They have, in effect, demonstrated a momentum placebo. :) A.K.A. wishful thinking. Nothing more 'important' than that. I don't know if it is bad math, bad measurement, or just wishful thinking, but it.is.bad. If that is interesting, so be it. But whatever the problem, the solution will not be useful to the advancement of science.
Can NASA be trusted? In general I would say so,...
Why would you say so? What have they done in the last 30-odd years that would lead you to conclude that they are anything other than utterly incompetent? They don't even do real rocket science anymore. I doubt they even so much as calculate an orbit anymore; that work is left to the real scientists whose work they sponsor such as universities, industry, etc.

No sir. I do not like them.

Honest to god, Einstein and Newton, absent new physics that utterly lays waste to every model of the universe that we think we know and understand, and the formula to go with it, this is stupid. It is not even worth testing. Not worth the salary of the secretary devoting the time to open the email of the idiot suggesting it should be tested. Momentum, like energy, is conserved.

Unless some form of mass, be it a photon, traditional propellent, or even a astronaut's turd, exits the ass-end, there will be no net gain of momentum at the fore-end. Period.

Would you like to hear how I really feel about it?

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Re: Thruster evaluation : NASA to be trusted ?

Post by DrMatt » Thu Aug 07, 2014 3:03 pm

Photons have momentum. So a violation of conservation isn't necessary, but you still need energy inputs. If you get energy inputs from photons from the sun, you have to deal with the fact that those photons have momentum.
It could be good for very slow maneuvers within a solar system, I suppose. Moving towards the sun would involve a kind of spiral motion, the 3-D equivalent of jibing upwind.








The inventor claims that the device generates a thrust even though no detectable energy leaves the device.
Image


Nothing leaves the device, nothing happens.
The fact that the chamber has a different area on one end than the other suggests to me that the engineer hasn't thought it through.
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Re: Thruster evaluation : NASA to be trusted ?

Post by corplinx » Thu Aug 07, 2014 4:00 pm

No propellant (rocket fuel) or classical exhaust leaves the device.

We'll see if it's more than an ion drive-like mechanism.

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Re: Thruster evaluation : NASA to be trusted ?

Post by whitefork » Thu Aug 07, 2014 4:53 pm

tachyons guys. tachyons.
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Re: Thruster evaluation : NASA to be trusted ?

Post by DrMatt » Thu Aug 07, 2014 5:33 pm

aliens
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Re: Thruster evaluation : NASA to be trusted ?

Post by Abdul Alhazred » Thu Aug 07, 2014 5:36 pm

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Re: Thruster evaluation : NASA to be trusted ?

Post by DrMatt » Thu Aug 07, 2014 5:37 pm

I didn't do it
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Re: Thruster evaluation : NASA to be trusted ?

Post by Rob Lister » Thu Aug 07, 2014 6:23 pm

corplinx wrote:No propellant (rocket fuel) or classical exhaust leaves the device.

We'll see if it's more than an ion drive-like mechanism.
With ion-drive, ion's leave the ass end, thus thrust, thus momentum is conserved.

There must be actual 'exhaust'. that's where the rubber meets the road (counter-ironically).

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Re: Thruster evaluation : NASA to be trusted ?

Post by Nyarlathotep » Thu Aug 07, 2014 7:00 pm

The effect is very small. Almost undetectable. Effects that small are just as likely to be some error in measurement as some actual effect. C.f. the recent excitement about neutrinos travelling faster than light. So I wouldn't be popping any champagne corks and telling Newton to suck it just yet.
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Re: Thruster evaluation : NASA to be trusted ?

Post by corplinx » Thu Aug 07, 2014 7:05 pm

Rob Lister wrote:
corplinx wrote:No propellant (rocket fuel) or classical exhaust leaves the device.

We'll see if it's more than an ion drive-like mechanism.
With ion-drive, ion's leave the ass end, thus thrust, thus momentum is conserved.

There must be actual 'exhaust'. that's where the rubber meets the road (counter-ironically).
I think you know what I meant though. I was speaking in the taxonomy of classic "burn" and "smoke", yes, with ion drives the ions leave the ass end.

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Re: Thruster evaluation : NASA to be trusted ?

Post by Rob Lister » Thu Aug 07, 2014 7:18 pm

Nyarlathotep wrote:The effect is very small. Almost undetectable. Effects that small are just as likely to be some error in measurement as some actual effect.
Not to be pedantic, but not 'just as likely'. Instead, 'almost certainly to a 99.999999999999... probability.

:(

i'm such a pedantic asshole.

but i did leave off a few 9's

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Re: Thruster evaluation : NASA to be trusted ?

Post by Nyarlathotep » Thu Aug 07, 2014 7:22 pm

Fair point. I was being generous.
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Re: Thruster evaluation : NASA to be trusted ?

Post by sparks » Thu Aug 07, 2014 10:15 pm

To say that no energy leaves the device is, of course bullshit. If it's moving, or even trying to move, then energy is leaving the device.

But, unless and until someone esplainifys how this bitch works and we have a couple of dozen confirming experiments under our belt, then: Horseshit!

Thoroughly charming notion though. It could open the solar system to human travel. Anywhere else, you still need the ubiquitous FTL or warp drive.
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