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Fri Aug 1, 2014, 01:14 PM

NASA Tests "Impossible" Perpetual Motion Drive; Says it Works [View all]


A study conducted last year by NASA scientists has become the latest, and by far the highest profile, piece of evidence in favor of a seemingly impossible space thruster design that’s been evoking worldwide skepticism for some time now. Apparently annoyed by the persistent boosters of several similar but distinct designs, the space agency finally agreed to test an American-made variant called the Cannae Drive. “Alright!” they said. “We’ll test your stupid drive that won’t work.” Except it did work. Seemingly in contravention of the law of conservation of momentum, the team confirmed that the device produces thrust by using electricity, and nothing else. Supporters call them microwave thrusters or quantum vacuum plasma thrusters (QVPT), while most others use the phrase “anomalous thrust device.”

*SNIP*

While NASA might not want to talk about it, though, for us it’s worth discussing just how this drive’s creators hypothesize the thruster works. By now, most people are aware that the laws of classical physics tend to break down at the quantum scale, and exploiting that fact can give you interesting little physical impossibilities like infinitely accelerating negative-mass photons. However, the effects of these quantum-scale impossibilities have always stayed at the quantum scale; sure one atom could theoretically phase-shift through another, but we still can’t run through walls.

The central insight here (assuming this isn’t all a big mistake) is that something called quantum vacuum fluctuations will occasionally spontaneously create particles all throughout the vacuum of space, and that these short-lived particles can be put to useful work. Thus, this thruster actually does use fuel — it just finds and uses that fuel as it goes. The thruster essentially turns these virtual particles into a plasma and expels them out the back of the ship, much like a conventional fuel source. The quantum fuel, though, spontaneously appears inside the thruster’s reaction area without even the need for collection or injection hardware. All things considered, that’s more than a little exciting.

http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/187346-nasa-tests-impossible-no-fuel-quantum-space-engine-and-it-actually-works

Interesting if this holds up. A spacecraft would not have to carry fuel because it would rely on particles "spontaneously" appearing in the drive. Also interesting because theories about this type of drive have so far been more in the realm of thought experiments than hard science, and so have drawn intense skepticism.

A case of woo come true?

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