Before we go any further here, we should brief you on a few things:
Today’s news has not been fact checked or tested or peer reviewed. It’s merely a lot of shop talk from NASA engineers on a NASA fan forum, and I’m not making that up. So, we could find out next month that this was all just a lotta hokum. Or bad math.
Secondly, if you don’t know what a warp drive is, you’re on the wrong website. Warp fields are the subspace displacement around a spaceship that distorts space and allows it to travel faster than light. In layman’s terms, it’s The Thing That Makes It Go.
The most important bit for you to know is that 15 years ago, a man named Roger J. Shawyer developed a spacecraft propulsion system called EmDrive. He alleged that he could propel an object without using any fuel, which violates the law of conservation of momentum. “How can a rocket accelerate forward when there’s no propellant burning out the back?” laughed everyone, as they dropped their pocket protectors into their Monster Energy Drinks.
Some time went by, and the Chinese decided to test Shawyer’s claims. Then, NASA tested their own version. Apparently, when microwaves are fired inside a specially-designed container, a small amount of thrust is created, much to NASA’s bafflement. (They still don’t really know how it actually works.)
Which means that Shawyer isn’t kinda sorta actually a total kook.
According to posts on NASASpaceFlight.com, someone at NASA wondered where the thrust came from and used a tool to measure variances in light’s path-time. What this tool recorded is that when lasers are fired through the EmDrive’s resonance chamber, some of the beams start moving faster than the speed of light. If everything checks out — and on the surface the math does — it means the EmDrive is producing some kind of warp field.
The real test is to try this system out in a vacuum, say, space. (Or, NASA’s giant vacuum chamber. Whatever. Way to be boring.) The thing to remember now is that the EmDrive still appears to be breaking the laws of physics, so either there’s witchcraft, there’s something funky with the math involved, or physics is somehow wrong.
Which is just details because WE’RE ABOUT TO MAKE STARFLEET A REAL THING, Y’ALL. The Vulcans are gonna be here any day now. Look like you know what you’re doing. Get a haircut. Don’t tattoo your children on your face. You know, the usual stuff.
(Via Escapist magazine)