Every once in a while, science news seems to walk a fine line between fantastic and fantasy. Em Drive, the topic of our latest podcast, is a recent example of exactly that!
Em Drive (pronounced “M” drive) also known as RF resonant cavity thruster is a hypothetical propulsion mechanism designed in part for space travel. Em Drive was proposed by Roger Shawyer, a British aerospace engineer who has a background in defense work as well as experience as a consultant on the Galileo project (a European version of the GPS system).
Em Drive “uses a magnetron to produce microwaves which are directed into a metallic, fully enclosed conically tapered high Q resonant cavity with a greater area at one end of the device, and a dielectric resonator in front of the narrower end. Shawyer claims that the device generates a directional thrust toward the narrow end of the tapered cavity. The device (engine) requires an electrical power source to produce its reflecting internal microwaves but does not have any moving parts or require any reaction mass as fuel.” In layman’s terms, the Em Drive bounces microwaves around in a metal ice cream cone which produces directional energy without using fuel.
To learn more about Em Drive, and why you should be skeptical, have a listen to the podcast! Thanks for listening.