NASA funded scientist claims new thruster can approach the speed of light

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The concept of interstellar travel has fascinated the human race for thousands of years.

(TMU) – The concept of interstellar travel has fascinated the human race for thousands of years. Discoveries made in the last century, however, have both bolstered and dampened that fascination. While the number of habitable star systems available for visitation has grown exponentially, the distance between these systems has grown more bleakly, mathematically daunting.

If we sent our fastest space probe to the nearest star, Alpha Centauri, it would take tens of thousands of years to arrive. While galaxies look like homogenous swirls of star clusters, the reality is we are looking at it from a vast, intergalactic scale; the extraordinary distances between stars still make crewed interstellar travel a dubious proposition that many scientists believe won’t be possible for centuries if at all.

However, in recent years, a number of technological models of propulsion – such as light sails pushed by lasers, ion thrusters, fusion engines, wormholes, and even hydrogen bombs – have made the concept of an interstellar probe that can travel a certain percentage of the speed of light increasingly possible.

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“Impossible” EmDrive engine could make interstellar travel a reality

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Latest research aims to resolve whether the exciting and controversial thruster could actually work.

The EmDrive could usher in an era of interstellar voyages for human beings. Or it could be a failed experiment that unsuccessfully tried to break the laws of physics. A pair of upcoming papers may just settle that decades-long argument.

The EmDrive was first proposed in 2001 by scientist Roger Shawyer. In theory, the drive—also called a radiofrequency resonant cavity thruster—converts electricity into microwaves and forces them through a sealed cone. The microwaves would bounce around the reflective surface of the cone, and since the microwaves carry momentum, they would impart that momentum to that surface. The waves would exert more force on the larger end of the cone than the smaller one, creating enough thrust—without the need for propellant—to push a spacecraft through the vacuum of space. And, the drive could theoretically increase momentum once it starts moving.

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