jueves, 14 de mayo de 2015

NASA may have found a way to travel as fast as in 'Star Trek'

Fly to the moon in FOUR hours: The British scientist who says he's found the secret of Star Trek's 'warp speed'

Anyone who has ever watched an episode of Star Trek or a Star Wars film will know how it works.

The good guys are minding their business in outer space when suddenly the Klingons or the Dark Empire bear down on them out of nowhere.
There is only one way out. At the flick of a switch, our heroes are flashed — in a blur of passing stars — to safety elsewhere in the universe. 
Call it warp drive or a hyper drive, it adds up to the same thing: a miraculous power source that allows a spacecraft to fly at unimaginable speeds.
But while it’s so far confined to the realms of sci-fi, the concept could become reality.
U.S. space agency Nasa is thought to have successfully tested a revolutionary new power source that could enable spacecraft to travel to the Moon in just four hours instead of more than three days and to Mars in two or three weeks instead of seven months.
Compact enough to fit into a suitcase, this whizzy new device could — it is claimed — keep flying for eons, at the equivalent of an astonishing 450 million miles an hour.
Load up the spacecraft, we’re all off for a long weekend on Venus!
The invention fuelling such hopes is called an electromagnetic drive or EmDrive — and it’s powered by a device similar to that found in a microwave oven.
It was invented by British scientist Roger Shawyer, who has endured years of ridicule since he unveiled it nearly a decade ago.
Critics insisted his invention was a scientific impossibility because it broke one of the basic laws of physics governing the universe.
This rule is Sir Isaac Newton’s third law: that if you push in one direction, you accelerate in the opposite.
Indeed, every rocket engine ever made has fired burning rocket fuel out behind it, thus powering the craft forward.
But the EmDrive doesn’t use a propellent. It works by converting electric power — from solar panels or a small on-board nuclear reactor — into forward thrust. According to some scientists, it is the ‘impossible drive’.
The scepticism, however, hasn’t stopped EmDrive’s development rights being bought by aircraft giant Boeing and the UK Government funding the early development of Mr Shawyer’s ideas.
Now retired, he acts as a consultant to a British company that is continuing the research, and he says other countries are developing similar designs. In fact, five years ago the Chinese claimed they had built an EmDrive and proved it worked — but no one believed them.
It’s harder to be sceptical when the news comes from Nasa — an organisation that put men on the Moon and sent rockets to Mars.
According to Nasa engineer Paul March, it has conducted the first successful tests of an EmDrive in a vacuum, to recreate the emptiness of outer space.
Some suggest the EmDrive is set to become one of many wonderful British inventions which — for lack of investment and vision — end up being hijacked by someone else.
Examples of this lamentable tendency include the tank, the jet airliner and the programmable electronic computer.
When I tracked down Mr Shawyer to his base in Havant, Hants, he said he was pleased Nasa was ‘having fun’ with his creation and felt some vindication after years of scepticism.
That said, he seemed a bit peeved that the Americans were grabbing all the attention.
An aerospace engineer who worked for the Galileo space project to build a European satnav system, Mr Shawyer unveiled his idea in 2006.
He promised it would not only speed us to new galaxies, but ‘put an end to wings and wheels’ by making traditional forms of transport redundant.
His prototype looks like something sci-fi writer Jules Verne might have dreamt up to blast Victorians to the Moon.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3080846/Fly-moon-FOUR-hours-British-scientist-says-s-secret-Star-Trek-s-wrap-speed.html#ixzz3aApwtKSA

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