4 Reasons Why The EM Drive is Probably Bullshit
4) The Experiment Write-Up was just a conference paper
The paper written by NASA employees about the EM (Cannae) Drive experiments was not a formal signed-off paper, just a conference paper. This type of write-up is common and is just preliminary. It’s basically meant to say to the physics community: “Hey, check this shit out, Cool huh? Whaddya think? Anything we can do to make this better?”.
3) “NASA” Experimenters put Star Trek Technobable in their Paper
The conference paper written by NASA employees tries to explain the ultra tiny anomalous force (30-50 micro-newtons) generated by this drive as “potentially demonstrating an interaction with the quantum vacuum virtual plasma.” What?!? This is not a physics term (go ahead, google it). They pulled it out of their butts. They probably mean that the engine pushes against ephemeral and ubiquitous virtual particles. The problem is that virtual particles are not something you can push against. This would require a rewrite of physics which I didn’t notice in their paper (maybe I missed it).
2) Experiment controls were not what they should have been
Experiments making claims that would rewrite physics based on the tiniest of results should make a prodigious effort to control for the myriad potential sources of error. This doesn’t seem to have happened here. The power input compared to the force generated left plenty of room for this extra energy to creep into the results. The most egregious example may be not testing the device in a vacuum. Isolating the device in this way seems critical to me especially for proposed space engines.
1) It violates Conservation of Momentum
British aerospace engineer Roger J. Shawyer says microwaves in his device push on one side more than the other to create thrust. A spaceship moving itself forward with no propellant shooting out of the back violates conservation of momentum. This principle is fundamental and has never been violated (except in Bugs Bunny cartoons of course). Motion needs to balance out, it can’t be created or destroyed. Can you move your car by pushing against the dashboard (while you’re inside)?
UPDATE: Supporting links:
Discover Blog: Did NASA Validate an “Impossible” Space Drive? In a Word, No
Astro Notes: No, NASA has not verified an impossible space drive!