The Verdict Is In: EmDrive Doesn’t Work

in STEMGeekslast month

It would be awesome to have an engine for our spaceships that doesn’t require reactive fuel. This is where EmDrive claimed it had the solution as it required only electricity. But sadly, now it seems it’s all over.


Image by Inactive_account_ID_249 from Pixabay

It was the year 2001 when the space drive called EmDrive started to tease both the public and experts. It was supposed to propel spaceships without the need to carry any fuel. But as it tends to be, this amazing engine actually breaks some of the fundamental laws of physics. More specifically, the EmDrive contradicts Newton’s Second Law that simplified sounds like this: acceleration takes place when force acts on an object.

The EmDrive was supposed to work by sending microwaves into a cone-shaped chamber. In there, the microwaves were supposed to bounce around and interact thus creating thrust. Not a large amount of thrust but enough to push a spaceship forward. All it needed was electricity. It’s not surprising that just the idea of it working made many dream. We truly want to become a space-faring civilization and it would be more than awesome to get there without the need for gigantic amounts of fuel.

The EmDrive, in three different variants, was recently tested by a team led by Martin Tajmar from the Technische Universität Dresden in Germany. They published their results in a series of studies that can be summarized in a single heart-breaking sentence. The EmDrive doesn’t provide any thrust.

This is especially sad because previous experiments did claim to see some positive results. Especially the results from the Eagleworks laboratory that works with NASA. Back in 2016, they built an EmDrive prototype and claim that have seen thrust. But Tajmar and his team are uncompromising. They built the same EmDrive configuration and came to a clear conclusion. According to their detailed analysis, the effect observed by Eagleworks was caused by the devices heating up, that’s all.

It’s such a shame. There is still a tiny, miniature chance but the German team discredited all the previous promising evidence. There’s only a small chance EmDrive will survive because it doesn’t have many further chances. On the other hand, we shouldn’t stop trying to research new and revolutionary types of engines. Physics still has a lot of possible loopholes where we may find something awesome.


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I always thought the EM drive was too good to be true, but hopefully there are other breakthrough physics programs that help us reach the stars in the future.

There's still the Alcubierre drive which is mostly used when talking about FTL speeds, but honestly many forget it could also be used just for faster traveling at non-FTL speeds. But that one is also just on the edge of physics so who knows.

It's an incredible theoretic drive, we just have to discover exotic matter to make it work.

Ouch that is a blow!

Back to the Alcubierre Drive drawing table I guess.