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[–] mrrabe 1 points 17 points (+18|-1) ago 

Two dreams come true at once. A pathway to interstellar travel and a rumbling forming cracks in the facade of certainty in modern physics.

I love science, but its success has lead to cockiness and is heading towards dogma, a little reminder of human fallibility is good for us all.

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[–] KeepItUp 1 points 6 points (+7|-1) ago 

dogma. No I don't think so. The dogmatic ones were born that way, the discipline is iron clad.

You're thinking about academics not scientists.

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[–] 6760669 0 points 3 points (+3|-0) ago 

Scientists are human beings, and prone to all the cognitive errors of human beings

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[–] rwbj 1 points 3 points (+4|-1) ago 

With no offense intended, I think the only people that think physicists or physics is dogmatic or self assured are ill informed about the current state of physics. Physics is in a massive state of flux, as in most of all science as it always has been and in all probability always will be.

The reason science is taught at a fundamental level as a certainty is many fold, but the most fundamental being that the current state of science in most any topic is the most well supported view based on all evidence we have. To a degree I do think it would be beneficial for the 'riddle' nature of our universe and science to be more openly hinted at in lower level education, but there is the danger of less educated individuals trending towards the "well if it's not 100% certain then my hypothesis is just as valid!" point of view, which is simply wrong. Uncertainty in the most viable explanation does not suddenly mean every other explanation is just as viable, yet we see this sort of attitude in numerous topics where the general public and science begin to intersect. At least given the current state of the general public's scientific education and intellectual maturity, I think the 'certainty' approach is probably preferable. In the future I'm certain that will change.

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[–] mrrabe 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

The disdain with which the em drive was dismissed prior to Nasa verification is an example of the dogma I speak of.

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[–] tame 0 points 7 points (+7|-0) ago 

1.2mN / kW is a pretty significant amount, and would make this genuinely useful for space travel (as opposed to just an oddity which technically breaks the rules and may point us in the direction of other, more useful breakthroughs.)

The maximum power they tested at was 80 watts, though, so the maximum force they would have measured was just 96μN. That seems like a remarkably small force to measure accurately.

I look forward to someone strapping this thing onto a cubesat and settling the question once and for all.

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[–] obsessedcrf 0 points 4 points (+4|-0) ago 

96uN is equivalent to 9.8 milligrams at standard g. That isn't too unreasonable to measure in a vacuum

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[–] tame 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

Hmm, when you put it like that, it sounds more reasonable. I should have gone the extra conversion. :P

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[–] Hektik 0 points 4 points (+4|-0) ago 

Thankfully that's scheduled to happen in the coming months, with plans to launch the first EM Drive having been made back in September.

[–] [deleted] 1 points 0 points (+1|-1) ago 

[Deleted]

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[–] Crashmarik 0 points 7 points (+7|-0) ago 

It will be beautiful if this breaks physics out of the navel gazing it's been in for the past couple of decades. We may at last have some experiments a little more creative and insightful than just building a bigger damn accelerator.

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[–] AmaleksHairyAss 0 points 6 points (+6|-0) ago 

and by "leaked" they mean "published"

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[–] rwbj 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

Publication usually implies editorial/peer review of which this paper has had neither. Given the nature of it though that's mostly a formality, but I'm glad it was leaked. This is very big news that could very quickly start reaching "nuh uh - national security, classified classified" once somebody educates the political types on the potential implications of this.

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[–] GuenMakunikoru 0 points 4 points (+4|-0) ago 

Wasnt it confirmed to work several months ago?

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[–] nicethingyoucanthave 0 points 3 points (+3|-0) ago 

Wasnt it confirmed to work several months ago?

Well, since nobody knows for certain how it works (though some theories have been put forward), and since it hasn't yet been actually attached to a spaceship (remember, $10,000 per pound, plus the development costs of the spaceship - so millions of dollars at least) the experiments that are done on it (including the one in this paper), cannot be said to "prove it works." All you can really say right now is that the experiments have, "failed to falsify the hypothesis that it's generating net acceleration."

That seems like a minor difference but it's really not. Since it's generating such tiny amounts of thrust, the simplest explanation has always been measurement error or some known effect that wouldn't work for space travel (like for example, maybe it's just pushing on the earth's magnetic field). So the experiments that have been done on Earth have been looking for those explanations, and failing to find them.

At this point, it's probably earned a trip to space. That'll take years to set up, and in the mean time, people will continue to explain how it works, or explain it away.

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[–] Jonny_Monroe 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago  (edited ago)

I believe I read somewhere that some private individual has built one small enough to place on a 3u cubesat and is paying for it to go up on one of NASA's launches. Since I can't remember the source take this as rumour but I think it was being talked about on the Eagleworks forums a while back.

Edit-

Just checked Google and cannae is putting their version on a 6u cubesat some time next year.

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[–] GuenMakunikoru 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

Thats a very good explanation. Thanks man, because i did read a paper that explained how it worked and i i think i took that as a confirmation (unjustly it seems) that it works. Thanks for clearing it up.

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[–] Jonny_Monroe 0 points 4 points (+4|-0) ago 

a lot of brilliant minds are now seriously considering the possibility that we might have a way to get to space without rocket fuel. We're excited to see what happens next

This thing doesn't have close to enough twr for that. It's great for travel once you're at 0 g but it isn't getting you to space. We'll still need fueled rockets for that part. Or a space plane if we ever get that tech working.

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[–] Viropher 0 points 3 points (+3|-0) ago 

TLDR; Awesome EM drive still working,still unexplained.

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[–] rwbj 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

Really exciting news, but I have to remain skeptical until this baby is in deep space accelerating to no end. The implications of this really working are ridiculous. The mere possibility of going from putting our first probe into space to even even conceiving of the possibility of the possibility of relativistic travel within 60 years is stupefying. It's like going from the stone age to the Manhattan Project in 60 years.

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[–] nicethingyoucanthave 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

The implications of this really working are ridiculous

One implication that I see is that it proves we're alone in this galaxy.

A lot of people don't understand the Fermi Paradox. They think it's asking why SETI hasn't detected a civilization like our own. That's not it at all. The Fermi paradox is about the fact that, given technology we literally already have - not this EM drive, but just something like an Orion, it takes "only" about 50 million years to populate the entire galaxy. Here's an explanation if you've never heard that before.

The Fermi paradox is asking why there aren't colony ships here, now, in our solar system. It's asking why there aren't colonies everywhere we look.

Plug in whatever numbers you like into the Drake equation and look at how many technological civilization you predict should arise every year. Then multiply that by about 10 billion (because civilizations have been coming and going for that many years - given the age of the universe minus a few years for metal-rich stars to form, minus a few years for the first life to evolve). Even if you estimated only 1 technological civilization per year, that means 10 billion have come and gone. And here's the thing:

only 1 out of that 10 billion has to survive for 50 million years, and have the desire to colonize the galaxy - and if that happens, they'd be here in our solar system right now. But they don't seem to be. That's the fermi paradox.

What this drive does, if it works, is shorten the colonization time dramatically. Now it's not 50 million years, it might only be a million.

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[–] rwbj 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

There's a lot of counter arguments there. I'm not sure where to begin so I'll just go for a stream of consciousness.

The advent of relativistic travel will make all notions of time somewhat meaningless. It'd also mean there'd be little reason to believe there would be a outward linear expansion. A species setting up a few colonies in the Milky Way and then making Andromeda, or much further, their primary target is entirely conceivable. There's also a question of motivation or desire. When a species has dozens of populated planets, has effectively eliminated any sort of material desire, let alone need, I think it's reasonable to expect that the drive to colonize ever further might begin to decline. The necessity of such certainly would. The birth rates of humans will likely continue to decline and converge near replacement levels meaning at some point it would become practically impossible for us to continue expansion.

AI and automation throws a huge monkey wrench in this, but again there are issues and counter-issues there. The whole issue I think remains unsolvable for now. In any case, who knows. We've literally only just begun actively looking for other civilizations in ways that stand any realistic chance of yielding results and we're already getting abnormalities like KIC8462852.

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