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A group at NASA’s Johnson Space Center has successfully tested an electromagnetic (EM) propulsion drive in a vacuum – a major breakthrough for a multi-year international effort comprising several competing research teams. Thrust measurements of the EM Drive defy classical physics’ expectations that such a closed (microwave) cavity should be unusable for space propulsion because of the law of conservation of momentum.
Various hypotheses and theories have been proposed explaining the underlying physics for how the EmDrive and related designs might be producing thrust. Shawyer claims that thrust is caused by a radiation pressure imbalance between the two faces of the cavity caused by the action of group velocity in different frames of reference within the framework of special relativity. Yang from NWPU calculated the net force/thrust using classical electromagnetism. Harold G. "Sonny" White, who investigates field propulsion at Eagleworks, NASA's Advanced Propulsion Physics Laboratory, speculated that such resonant cavities may operate by creating a virtual plasma toroid that could realize net thrust using magnetohydrodynamic forces acting upon quantum vacuum fluctuations. Likewise, the paper describing the Eagleworks test of the Cannae drive referred to a possible interaction with a so-called "quantum vacuum virtual plasma". This reference has been criticized by mathematical physicists John Baez and Sean M. Carroll because in the standard description of vacuum fluctuations, virtual particles do not behave as a plasma.
A Journey through the Improbable
From attending graduate school at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, and later returning there to lecture on interstellar travel – to advising the co-head of a NASA Blue Ribbon Panel investigating NASA’s Eagleworks’ Q-Thruster (EM Drive) claims – to being invited to confidential meetings at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory – Jeff Lee will take the audience on a fascinating, and yet equally improbable, journey through the experiences of being on the leading edge of Breakthrough Propulsion Physics, the quest for interstellar travel, and the search for a greater understanding of “extreme cosmological environments”.
Jeff Lee is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of theoretical astrophysics at the Center for Astrophysics, Space Physics and Engineering Research (CASPER), and member of the Early Universe Cosmology and Strings Group (EUCOS) at Baylor University, where his research specializations are Quantum Black Holes, and Relativistic Radiation & Thermodynamics.
He is a reviewer for the journal Physics Essays, and sits on the Board of Advisors of the Astrosociology Research Institute, where his interests include the Hazards from Near-Earth Objects, the Virtual Evolution of Interpersonal Relationships across Interplanetary and Interstellar Distances, and the Implications and Plausibility of First Contact Scenarios. Jeff is formerly the Project Lead of the X-Physics Propulsion and Power Project (XP4) at Icarus Interstellar. In addition to numerous publications, his Breakthrough Propulsion Physics research on the Schwarzschild Kugelblitz has been featured on Discovery News, PBS, and New Scientist.
He is a tenured faculty member of Crescent School in Toronto, Ontario, where he lectures on Physics and Earth & Space Science. Additionally, he retains research interests in the field of Instructional Strategies for Students with High Functioning Autism.
Jeff is a certified H-2 hang glider pilot who, in his spare time, also enjoys skydiving, snorkeling, weightlifting, martial arts, archery, ham radio (VE3SPB) and electronics, computers, sociology, history, philosophy, and freshwater ichthyology.