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Aerospace NASA's EM Drive

  1. Sep 9, 2016 #1


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    Gold Member

    Is this subject still verboten on here? They say it has pass peer review and it will soon be launched into space. What are your thoughts other than ''thread closed'' lol?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 9, 2016 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Until there is something credible to discuss, in the form of a peer-reviewed paper, it is still on the banned topics list. This isn't because we think the topic is uninteresting or unimportant, but because in the absence of solid and vetted results, it is unreasonably difficult (the mentors are unpaid volunteers, remember) to maintain an acceptable signal-to-noise ratio in the thread.

    We are aware that such a paper is due to be published late this year. After we've seen it we will consider whether it justifies relaxing or changing the policy.
  4. Nov 21, 2016 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    The expected paper has been published in The Journal of Power and Propulsion: http://arc.aiaa.org/doi/full/10.2514/1.B36120

    After reviewing it, we have decided to leave the ban on EM-drive and similar reactionless propulsion systems in place.
    - The analysis of the measurement data is poor enough that there is some doubt as to whether the effect they've measured even exists.
    - The speculation about momentum-carrying pilot waves and the informal discussion of vacuum energy and virtual particle pairs is not supported by any accepted theory.
    - The Journal of Power and Propulsion lacks experience reviewing and publishing papers at the frontiers of quantum field theory.
    Of course things could change if more evidence comes in, but based on what we have so far, this is much more likely to be cold fusion all over again than a major new development. There are plenty of places on the Internet where such things can be discussed, but Physics Forums is not one of those places.

    It is worth comparing this development with another recently published extraordinary result: the OPERA collaboration's measurement of faster-than-light neutrinos. Their data analysis was impeccable, so there was no doubt that they had measurements that did not match the theoretical prediction. And even then they published with the explicit position "We are sure we've made a mistake somewhere, but we can't figure out what it is, please help us spot it." There was no woo about something being the new physics that enabled neutrinos to go faster than light. It's not exciting, but it's the way that good science gets done.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2016
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