EmDrive: Controversial Propulsion Tech Could be Essential for Future Space Travel

By Prei Dy, | May 25, 2017

EmDrive could be necessary for future space travel. (YouTube)

EmDrive could be necessary for future space travel. (YouTube)

Scientists said that the highly experimental yet controversial EmDrive could be necessary to carry out future interstellar missions as it is safer for human space travels and regular rockets are not suited for such ambitious journeys.

According to Paul March, one of the scientists working on NASA's prototype, the thruster should be more efficient if it plans to carry humans into space.

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"You just couldn't have a big enough fuel tank," Heidi Fearn, a physicist at the California State University, Fullerton, said. "This is giving us a new possibility of... going beyond our solar system."

Space travel using EmDrive could also be safer for humans. Radiation and microgravity could wreak havoc on human bodies, and EmDrive's speed could significantly cut short length of exposure and travel time.

Researchers also believe that EmDrive would eventually lay the foundation for other technologies that would soon take humans far deeper space, such as warp drives and traversable wormholes.

"Chemical rockets just won't cut it when it comes to deep space transport," March said. "We're at the basement floor of developing the technology required to make the Star Trek Enterprise a real ship."

On theory, the amount of thrust an EmDrive could produce would be sufficient enough to accelerate a manned spacecraft from the Earth orbit to Mars in just 10 weeks, or even less. To compare, if today's chemically powered rockets are to be used, a trip to the red plane would take several years.

The quest for EmDrive has also started a new race for China and the US. The former claimed that it is already testing the device on space, while Pennsylvania-based Cannae Inc. also plans to launch a similar device on a shoebox-sized satellite later this year. A small lab at NASA is also reportedly developing a motor to propel ships to space faster than today's conventional rockets.

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