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The latest patent for the

'impossible' EM Drive has just


been made public - and its wild

Its been a big year for the 'impossible' EM Drive - a new kind of rocket engine that appears
to generate thrust without any kind of exhaust or propellant. Back in May, NASA researchers
reported a successful 10-week trial of their EM Drive prototype, and inventor Guido
Fetta just got approval to test his own version in space.Now, the UK Intellectual Property
Office has released the latest patent application from British EM Drive inventor Roger
Shawyer, and he says millions of pounds rest on the success of design within.
For the uninitiated, the EM Drive was first invented by Shawyer back in 1999, and despite
experimental evidence suggesting that such an engine could work, its been courting
controversy ever since.
Why? Well, it just so happens to violate one of the most fundamental laws of physics we
have: Newton's Third Law, which states, "To each action there's an equal and opposite
reaction."
In its most basic form, the EM Drive uses electromagnetic waves as 'fuel', creating thrust by
bouncing microwave photons back and forth inside a cone-shaped closed metal cavity. This
causes the 'pointy end' of the EM Drive to accelerate in the opposite direction that the
photons are pushing.
But there's the problem - "an equal and opposite reaction" means something needs to be
pushed out the back of propulsion system in order for it to move forwards, and the EM Drive
doesn't have an exhaust.
Newton's Third Law states that without an exhaust, you can't produce thrust, but
experiments from NASA and a number of other research teams from around the world have
shown that not only can the EM Drive produce thrust - it can theoretically produce enough to
power an entire spacecraft.
If we can power spacecraft with such an engine, it could replace the incredibly expensive
and heavy rocket fuel thats been a major hurdle in getting us much of anywhere in the Solar
System.
As Harold (Sonny) White, leader of the research group over at NASA's Eaglework
Laboratories, says, a crewed mission to Mars in an EM Drive-powered spacecraft could
arrive at Mars in a mind-boggling 70 days. Thats less than half the timeNASA has estimated
it will take using current technology.

His latest patent has just been made public, and describes a new thruster design that features
a single flat superconducting plate on one end, with a uniquely shaped, non-conducting plate
on the other.
He says this is necessary to minimise the internal Doppler shift - a change in frequency or
wavelength of a wave for an observer moving relative to its source - and also keep
manufacturing costs down.
"This is pretty significant, because it enables you to easily manufacture these things, and we
want to produce thousands of them"."The patent makes the construction of a viable
superconducting thruster easier, and it will produce a lot of thrust."
According to Russon, Shawyer is working with an unnamed UK aerospace company to
develop his second generation EM Drive, which he says will produce thrust many orders of
magnitude greater than that observed by NASAs Eagleworks team or any other laboratory.
And in the meantime, weve got a milestone paper coming up, because the American Institute
of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) has finally confirmed that a paper by the
Eagleworks team has been peer-reviewed and accepted for publication in December.

SAHIL NAZIR POTTOO


10-ECE-14