China's New Space Drive

Discussion in 'Techforge' started by The Night Funky, Sep 3, 2011.

  1. oldfella1962

    oldfella1962 light & lethal

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    Uh oh! If they team up with guys there's NOTHING that can stop them!
  2. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    Not disputing that. Just sayin' that this is such a small amount of thrust that it could be experimental error, especially given that our conventional understanding says there should be NO thrust.

    This will be a big deal if it turns out to be true: non-Newtonian propulsion. Not having to carry reaction mass would be a huge leap forward for spacecraft, though we'd need to see an increase of several orders of magnitude in output for it to be useful for manned space flight...
  3. ed629

    ed629 Morally Inept Banned

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    They were on to something, not sure what but definitely on to something there. Oops... I meant on something, not on to something.
  4. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    Discover Magazine says it's hooey.

    And, if they're right, that really damages the credibility of Sonny White, the guy who's looking into real warp drive.
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  5. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    Sean Carroll's response is worth reading (from your link): "The eagerness with which folks embrace sketchy claims about impossible space drives would make astrology fans blush."
  6. The Night Funky

    The Night Funky BMF Staff Member Moderator

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  7. gturner

    gturner Banned

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    They're getting microNewtons of thrust off kilowatts of energy. It's extremely difficult to run high power electric circuits without bolting everything down because of all the Newtons of force generated, and getting things down to microNewtons is pretty good. With a little more work they should be able to almost entirely eliminate the problem.
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  8. oldfella1962

    oldfella1962 light & lethal

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    You forgot point #4 - these are the people that believe ground up endangered animal parts can make you fuck better. Just sayin'
  9. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    Still skeptical, but hoping it's true.

    If it's true--and it scales--a "reactionless" drive could make exploring the solar system much, much easier.
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  10. gul

    gul Revolting Beer Drinker Administrator Formerly Important

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    According to a sci-fi pulp novel I read, just such a drive opens up much of the Solar System to human activity. But I bet there will be some delay -- no colonies on the moons of Jupiter just yet. :(
  11. K.

    K. Sober

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    OK, I'm hitting a wall. How does this work? You get different microwaves at various angles within your metal cone, and then --?
  12. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    The otter starts to run.
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  13. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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  14. Liet

    Liet Dr. of Horribleness, Ph.D.

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    N rays. Faster-than-light neutrinos. And, despite whatever @steve2^4 says, flying otters.
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  15. K.

    K. Sober

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    Huh.
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  16. gturner

    gturner Banned

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    My bet is still EM interaction with the surrounding environment. 20 microNewtons is about the force you'd get from something like 50 microamps DC running through a 1-meter wire in the Earth's magnetic field. All it would take to do that is a metal-to-metal junction (such as a coating) acting like a really crappy diode in the GHz range and you'd have some stray DC current.
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  17. gul

    gul Revolting Beer Drinker Administrator Formerly Important

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    I'm going to suggest that if NASA can't figure it out, it's probably not within the realm of amateur physics.
  18. steve2^4

    steve2^4 Aged Meat

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    it's goofy, but I'm happy NASA can bankroll some goofiness, just in case they accidentally discover flubber.
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  19. gturner

    gturner Banned

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    One test nobody has run is one I've suggested at a couple of places, on the theory that it's trivially easy to accidentally build a really crappy electric motor, and the drive they're testing is the rotor. The next logical step is to identify the stator.

    Take all the test equipment, the metal cages, mounts, racks, and everything else within 20 feet of the drive and hang them from the ceiling with strings, adjusting the length of the strings so that everything swings with a pendular period of 2 seconds. Then cycle the drive on and off every two seconds and see what starts moving. That would be the stator.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2015
  20. Paladin

    Paladin Overjoyed Man of Liberty

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    I know (indirectly) a dynamicist at Lockheed, and this is pretty much his standard for any "revolutionary" drive: hang it from a string and see if it departs from vertical when turned on.

    Some people think an unbalanced washing machine is some kind of propulsion system because it moves across the floor. Of course, without the floor to work against, it wouldn't move at all.
  21. gturner

    gturner Banned

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    Well, their drive deflects its own string, so my suggesting is to attach strings to everything else to see what it's pushing against. Of course if its interacting directly with the Earth's magnetic field then you wouldn't see any secondary motion unless you'd hung a magnet nearby.
  22. Bickendan

    Bickendan Custom Title Administrator Faceless Mook Writer

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    Godspeed, Captain Otter :salute:
  23. gturner

    gturner Banned

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    A seemingly unrelated article from Scientific American about an attempt to build a chamber that blocks out magnetic fields.

    Weakest” is rarely a superlative worth celebrating, but experiments began this summer in a room (below) with the weakest magnetic field in our solar system—and scientists are excited. Built by physicists at the Technical University of Munich, the room achieves a millionfold reduction in the intensity of ambient magnetic fields, a 10-fold improvement on any previous man-made structure, registering even less such activity than the vast, empty space between planets. The facility's shielding consists of layers of a highly magnetizable metal that ensnare fields so they do not pass through to the structure's interior. Within, ultraprecise experiments can take place with only minute interference from the results-mucking effects of Earth, electronics, living bodies, and more. The room's special type of silence therefore offers a unique opportunity to probe important questions in physics, biology and medicine.

    That leads me to believe that the test chambers for these drives do indeed have significant magnetic fields around them, with which the drive could interact due to stray currents, given that in the Earth's full magnetic field it would only take microAmps of current to generate the measured forces.
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