Scott developed and won the U.S. patent on a manufacturable ion drive platform.
His Team his building something, involving this technology, that will change the world...
(read more about it here). During the course of testing the workable flying prototypes, quantitative metrics sensors indicated that the devices were showing a difference in energy that had previously unknown qualities. New tests for a large bulk thrust version, by third parties, still show these novel variances:
Think it's way out science? Read the Proof that the technology works:
SEE THIS VIDEO OF AN EARLY EXPERIMENT: MICROTHRUSTERS-TODAY.mp4
SEE THIS VIDEO OF AN EARLIER EXPERIMENT:
Here is a working unit of the kind Scott received a U.S. Patent on:
A new theory of inertia could explain the EM Drive’s anomalous thrust
The EM Drive is the most important advance in space propulsion since rocket fuel itself — just so long as it isn’t a big, fat mistake. It’s being hailed as a next-generation electric space thruster that requires no fuel, but its apparent ability to generate thrust has defied scientific explanation. The question of whether the EM Drive is a huge step forward for science, or simply a refresher course in the importance of taking careful measurements, has vexed NASA engineers. Last year they announced thrust readings that could not be falsified by any means they devised, but in their own paper they went on to actively disown the results. Now, a physicist from Plymouth University may have figured out an explanation for the EM Drive’s stubborn refusal to sit still: with a whole new theory of inertia, we could explain both the EM Drive’s anomalous thrust and a long-standing mystery in physics.
Repeated testing, with multiple versions of the EM Drive built by multiple independent sources, have all failed to prove that it is not generating the thrust reported by prior tests. Against all odds, the EM Drive’s abilities are seem to be holding up to scrutiny, and thus seemingly in contravention of the law that every action must have an equal and opposite reaction. EM Drive inventor Roger Shawyer thought he could get around this by invoking a process called vacuum polarization, arguing that the system takes transient particles that appear spontaneously in space, turns them into a plasma, and expels them out the back. If true, this would mean that the EM Drive really doesn’t break the laws of physics but, unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be the explanation. This theory could equally fix the EM Drive’s problem with Newton’s Third Law by positing a whole new theory of inertia. Relativity predicts something called the Unruh effect, in which any accelerating body should observe an amount of extra heat relative to its acceleration. Put differently, the faster you accelerate, the hotter the universe should look; wave a thermometer in absolute zero, and in principle its movement should cause it to observe a temperature very, very, very slightly above absolute zero, especially if you can wave it at relativistic speeds.
The new study‘s argument relies on a further idea called Unruh radiation, which refers to the unconfirmed idea that the observation of this heated universe will stimulate the release of real particles — in other words, particles from the pure vacuum of space, not unlike our vacuum polarization particles. In the vast majority of cases, this theory predicts the results we’re used to seeing in the world around us, same as the classical theory of inertia. But its predictions diverge from tradition in one area: extremely small accelerations, or, about the level of acceleration (perhaps) observed in the EM Drive.
The idea is that, since the wavelength of Unruh radiation would increase as acceleration decreases, for extremely small accelerations a body should be experiencing Unruh radiation with a wavelength longer than the observable universe. With this being the case, inertia may only take on whole-wavelength units over time. Behaving in this way is to become “quantized,” to exist only in some multiple of an indivisible unit of measure (“a quanta”). So, at very low accelerations, inertia jumps from tiny magnitude to slightly less tiny magnitude without going through all the intervening values we would expect. Evidence for this theory may predate the EM Drive. Scientists have long observed a phenomenon called the Flyby Anomaly, in which spacecraft performing a flyby of Earth will move noticeably and reliably faster than we calculate they ought to. The study’s author claims that this new theory of inertia could explain this effect, and produce more accurate inertial predictions that better reflect our observations. On the other hand, it’s not like this is the first theory that could explain the Flyby Anomaly, and most of the others don’t have to posit whole new theories of inertia to do it. Occam’s Razor would have us assume the simplest explanation — but Occam’s Razor is just a guideline, and certainly wrong from time to time. In the context of the EM Drive, this new inertial effect would cause thrust inside the EM Drive’s truncated cone section. Different wavelengths of Unruh radiation will be allowed at either end of the cone, due to the change in diameter. This means that as particles bounce back and forth inside the cone, their inertia would have to change as well. According to our good friend the law of conservation of momentum, this means the particles will have to generate thrust — that is, thrust without the need to bring fuel. To us, this sounds far-fetched. It’s arguing that the acceleration caused by the EM Drive is a product of…the EM Drive’s own acceleration? Inertia is associated with the release of particles which can be manipulated to produce inertia. Now, we still have to input energy in the form of electricity, so it’s not quite a perpetual motion scheme — but it’s not far off. If confirmed, this is the sort of insight that could give us hover-cars, or with a cheap source of abundant clean power, hover-castles, too. This is perpetual thrust for nothing more than the cost of electricity.
It’s important to note that the Unruh radiation theorized to cause this behavior has not been confirmed to exist, so in principle we have a hypothesis built on a hypothesis — not the strongest of footing. However, it does make some testable claims — and according to the paper, they’ve managed to predict the observed acceleration in the EM Drive to within an order of magnitude, in every case. More exciting is the fact that they have concrete ideas for future work. One idea is that, if the cone shape is truly causing the observed thrust by providing an asymmetrical environment for the Unruh radiation, then flipping the cone also ought to flip the direction of the thrust. In other words, it should be trivially easy to produce a backwards EM Drive with only the cone direction changed, and thus should produce the same amount of thrust as before, but in the opposite direction. Another prediction is that putting a dielectric in the reaction chamber should increase the drive’s thrust output, which is both an easily testable idea and exciting, if true. The fact is, the EM Drive is still a big mystery. Its readings are now far better supported than they were at this time last year, but that’s not to say that they have been accepted by a majority of the scientific community. Any eventual explanation for this seemingly impossible behavior will, almost by definition, be an astonishing change to basic physical theory — all we really need to do is hope that the thrust readings hold up to testing in space and elsewhere.
This test engine accelerates ions using electrostatic forces
Main article: Electrically powered spacecraft propulsion
Rather than relying on high temperature and fluid dynamics to accelerate the reaction mass to high speeds, there are a variety of methods that use electrostatic or electromagnetic forces to accelerate the reaction mass directly. Usually the reaction mass is a stream of ions. Such an engine typically uses electric power, first to ionize atoms, and then to create a voltage gradient to accelerate the ions to high exhaust velocities.
For these drives, at the highest exhaust speeds, energetic efficiency and thrust are all inversely proportional to exhaust velocity. Their very high exhaust velocity means they require huge amounts of energy and thus with practical power sources provide low thrust, but use hardly any fuel.
For some missions, particularly reasonably close to the Sun, solar energy may be sufficient, and has very often been used, but for others further out or at higher power, nuclear energy is necessary; engines drawing their power from a nuclear source are called nuclear electric rockets.
With any current source of electrical power, chemical, nuclear or solar, the maximum amount of power that can be generated limits the amount of thrust that can be produced to a small value. Power generation adds significant mass to the spacecraft, and ultimately the weight of the power source limits the performance of the vehicle.
Current nuclear power generators are approximately half the weight of solar panels per watt of energy supplied, at terrestrial distances from the Sun. Chemical power generators are not used due to the far lower total available energy. Beamed power to the spacecraft shows some potential.
Some electromagnetic methods:
- Ion thrusters (accelerate ions first and later neutralize the ion beam with an electron stream emitted from a cathode called a neutralizer)
- Electrothermal thrusters (electromagnetic fields are used to generate a plasma to increase the heat of the bulk propellant, the thermal energy imparted to the propellant gas is then converted into kinetic energy by a nozzle of either physical material construction or by magnetic means)
- Electromagnetic thrusters (ions are accelerated either by the Lorentz Force or by the effect of electromagnetic fields where the electric field is not in the direction of the acceleration)
- Mass drivers (for propulsion)
In electrothermal and electromagnetic thrusters, both ions and electrons are accelerated simultaneously, no neutralizer is required.
Without internal reaction mass
See also: Zero-propellant maneuver
NASA study of a solar sail. The sail would be half a kilometer wide.
The law of conservation of momentum is usually taken to imply that any engine which uses no reaction mass cannot accelerate the center of mass of a spaceship (changing orientation, on the other hand, is possible). But space is not empty, especially space inside the Solar System; there are gravitation fields, magnetic fields, electromagnetic waves, solar wind and solar radiation. Electromagnetic waves in particular are known to contain momentum, despite being massless; specifically the momentum flux density P of an EM wave is quantitatively 1/c^2 times the Poynting vector S, i.e. P = S/c^2, where c is the velocity of light. Field propulsion methods which do not rely on reaction mass thus must try to take advantage of this fact by coupling to a momentum-bearing field such as an EM wave that exists in the vicinity of the craft. However, because many of these phenomena are diffuse in nature, corresponding propulsion structures need to be proportionately large.[original research?]
There are several different space drives that need little or no reaction mass to function. A tether propulsion system employs a long cable with a high tensile strength to change a spacecraft's orbit, such as by interaction with a planet's magnetic field or through momentum exchange with another object. Solar sails rely on radiation pressure from electromagnetic energy, but they require a large collection surface to function effectively. The magnetic sail deflects charged particles from the solar wind with a magnetic field, thereby imparting momentum to the spacecraft. A variant is the mini-magnetospheric plasma propulsion system, which uses a small cloud of plasma held in a magnetic field to deflect the Sun's charged particles. An E-sail would use very thin and lightweight wires holding an electric charge to deflect these particles, and may have more controllable directionality.
As a proof of concept, NanoSail-D became the first nanosatellite to orbit Earth.[full citation needed] There are plans to add them[clarification needed] to future Earth orbit satellites, enabling them to de-orbit and burn up once they are no longer needed. Cubesail will be the first mission to demonstrate solar sailing in low Earth orbit, and the first mission to demonstrate full three-axis attitude control of a solar sail.
A satellite or other space vehicle is subject to the law of conservation of angular momentum, which constrains a body from a net change in angular velocity. Thus, for a vehicle to change its relative orientation without expending reaction mass, another part of the vehicle may rotate in the opposite direction. Non-conservative external forces, primarily gravitational and atmospheric, can contribute up to several degrees per day to angular momentum, so secondary systems are designed to "bleed off" undesired rotational energies built up over time. Accordingly, many spacecraft utilize reaction wheels or control moment gyroscopes to control orientation in space.
A gravitational slingshot can carry a space probe onward to other destinations without the expense of reaction mass. By harnessing the gravitational energy of other celestial objects, the spacecraft can pick up kinetic energy. However, even more energy can be obtained from the gravity assist if rockets are used.
Planetary and atmospheric propulsion
Main article: Space launch
There have been many ideas proposed for launch-assist mechanisms that have the potential of drastically reducing the cost of getting into orbit. Proposed non-rocket spacelaunch launch-assist mechanisms include:
- Skyhook (requires reusable suborbital launch vehicle, not engineeringly feasible using presently available materials)
- Space elevator (tether from Earth's surface to geostationary orbit, cannot be built with existing materials)
- Launch loop (a very fast enclosed rotating loop about 80 km tall)
- Space fountain (a very tall building held up by a stream of masses fired from its base)
- Orbital ring (a ring around Earth with spokes hanging down off bearings)
- Electromagnetic catapult (railgun, coilgun) (an electric gun)
- Rocket sled launch
- Space gun (Project HARP, ram accelerator) (a chemically powered gun)
- Beam-powered propulsion rockets and jets powered from the ground via a beam
- High-altitude platforms to assist initial stage
Main article: Jet engine
Studies generally show that conventional air-breathing engines, such as ramjets or turbojets are basically too heavy (have too low a thrust/weight ratio) to give any significant performance improvement when installed on a launch vehicle itself. However, launch vehicles can be air launched from separate lift vehicles (e.g. B-29, Pegasus Rocket and White Knight) which do use such propulsion systems. Jet engines mounted on a launch rail could also be so used.
On the other hand, very lightweight or very high speed engines have been proposed that take advantage of the air during ascent:
- SABRE - a lightweight hydrogen fuelled turbojet with precooler
- ATREX - a lightweight hydrogen fuelled turbojet with precooler
- Liquid air cycle engine - a hydrogen fuelled jet engine that liquifies the air before burning it in a rocket engine
- Scramjet - jet engines that use supersonic combustion
Normal rocket launch vehicles fly almost vertically before rolling over at an altitude of some tens of kilometers before burning sideways for orbit; this initial vertical climb wastes propellant but is optimal as it greatly reduces airdrag. Airbreathing engines burn propellant much more efficiently and this would permit a far flatter launch trajectory, the vehicles would typically fly approximately tangentially to Earth's surface until leaving the atmosphere then perform a rocket burn to bridge the final delta-v to orbital velocity.
Planetary arrival and landing
A test version of the MARS Pathfinder airbag system
When a vehicle is to enter orbit around its destination planet, or when it is to land, it must adjust its velocity. This can be done using all the methods listed above (provided they can generate a high enough thrust), but there are a few methods that can take advantage of planetary atmospheres and/or surfaces.
- Aerobraking allows a spacecraft to reduce the high point of an elliptical orbit by repeated brushes with the atmosphere at the low point of the orbit. This can save a considerable amount of fuel because it takes much less delta-V to enter an elliptical orbit compared to a low circular orbit. Because the braking is done over the course of many orbits, heating is comparatively minor, and a heat shield is not required. This has been done on several Mars missions such as Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and at least one Venus mission, Magellan.
- Aerocapture is a much more aggressive manoeuver, converting an incoming hyperbolic orbit to an elliptical orbit in one pass. This requires a heat shield and much trickier navigation, because it must be completed in one pass through the atmosphere, and unlike aerobraking no preview of the atmosphere is possible. If the intent is to remain in orbit, then at least one more propulsive maneuver is required after aerocapture—otherwise the low point of the resulting orbit will remain in the atmosphere, resulting in eventual re-entry. Aerocapture has not yet been tried on a planetary mission, but the re-entry skip by Zond 6 and Zond 7 upon lunar return were aerocapture maneuvers, because they turned a hyperbolic orbit into an elliptical orbit. On these missions, because there was no attempt to raise the perigee after the aerocapture, the resulting orbit still intersected the atmosphere, and re-entry occurred at the next perigee.
- A ballute is an inflatable drag device.
- Parachutes can land a probe on a planet or moon with an atmosphere, usually after the atmosphere has scrubbed off most of the velocity, using a heat shield.
- Airbags can soften the final landing.
- Lithobraking, or stopping by impacting the surface, is usually done by accident. However, it may be done deliberately with the probe expected to survive (see, for example, Deep Impact (spacecraft)), in which case very sturdy probes are required.