In 2001, British Electrical Engineer Roger Shawyer introduced the EmDrive, famously dubbed the “impossible drive” due to its claim of reactionless propulsion, seemingly defying the laws of physics. Despite initial excitement, two decades of testing led to the conclusion in 2021 that the EmDrive was not feasible. However, the dream of propellant-less space travel persisted.

Now, a new contender has emerged, backed by former NASA scientist Charles Buhler. While at NASA, Buhler helped establish crucial labs at Kennedy Space Center and now co-founded Exodus Propulsion Technologies. Their latest drive, powered by a “New Force” outside known physics, has shown promise in overcoming gravity without the need for propellant.

Buhler emphasized that this work is independent of NASA and presented his findings at the Alternative Propulsion Energy Conference (APEC). His team, comprising experts from NASA, Blue Origin, and the Air Force, spent decades exploring propellant-less drives, eventually focusing on electrostatics. In 2023, their drive achieved enough thrust to defy Earth’s gravity.

According to Buhler, the discovery hinges on asymmetries in electrostatic pressure or fields, allowing for non-zero force on an object’s center of mass. While Buhler’s claims are intriguing, the history of propellant-less drives warns of premature enthusiasm. The EmDrive, once hailed as a breakthrough, ultimately failed to produce measurable thrust in subsequent studies.

Before celebrating, rigorous third-party verification is essential. While the possibility of a new physics discovery is tantalizing, skepticism is warranted until independently confirmed. As science progresses, hope remains for revolutionary advancements in space propulsion.

By Impact Lab