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The Mach Effect Thruster (MET) is a propellant—less space drive which uses Mach’s principle to produce thrust in an accelerating material which is undergoing mass—energy fluctuations. Mach’s principle is a statement that the inertia of a body is the result of the gravitational interaction of the body with the rest of the mass-energy in the universe. The MET device uses electric power of 100 - 200 Watts to operate. The thrust produced by these devices, at the present time, are small on the order of a few micro-Newtons.
According to Einstein, General Relativity contains the essence of Mach’s ideas. Mach’s principle can be summarized by stating that the inertia of a body is determined by the rest of the mass-energy content of the universe. Inertia here arises from mass-energy there. The latter, was a statement made by John Wheeler in his 1995 book, Gravitation and Inertia, coauthored by Ciufolini. Einstein believed that to be fully Machian, gravity would need a radiative component, an action-at-a-distance character, so that gravitational influences on a body from far away could be felt immediately. In 1960’s, Hoyle and Narlikar (HN) developed such a theory which was a gravitational version of the Absorber theory derived by Wheeler-Feynman for classical electrodynamics and later expanded upon by Davies and Narlikar for quantum electrodynamics. The HN-field equation has the same type of mass fluctuation terms as in the Woodward Mach effect thruster theory. The force equation, used to predict the thrust in our device, can be derived from the mass fluctuation. We outline a new method for deriving the force equation. We present new experimental tests of the thruster to show that the thrust seen in our device is not due to either heating or Dean Drive effects. Successful replications have been performed by groups in Austria and Canada, but their work is still pending in the peer review literature.
So much for Einstein's support.
A space ship could be equipped with however much mass it needs to move, spend its voyage flinging that mass around its internal systems while employing the Woodward Effect, and come back home with exactly the same amount of fuel it had in the beginning.
How likely is this? That depends on whether Mach's Principle actually works, practically speaking. Many scientists dismiss the very idea — and Einstein was one of them.
When test results are inconsistent (all over the place), we can't claim to have a handle on this subject. The tests mentioned that gave results even greater than Woodward predicted were done in 2006 and in 2011 Dr Sonny White of NASA's Eagleworks lab said they would try to replicate those results, but I haven't heard the outcome. I have read that Paul March who got the 2006 favorable test results is cooperating with NASA in their replication attempts:
The Woodward Effect has been tested multiple times. While some tests indicate it might be even greater than Woodward himself estimated, other tests are muddy and inconclusive.
Paul March is now working at the NASA Eagleworks labs with Sonny White...
Aerospace Engineer Paul March has been working diligently on the Mach-Lorentz Thruster project for several years. He talks about the beginning of true reactionless propulsion in the lab, as presented in his stunning STAIF 2006 experimental results.
The Mach-Lorentz Thruster project is an outgrowth of research by Dr. James Woodward, which predicts a net-directional reactionless drive thrust originating from a piezo-electric crystal resonating in a phase-locked magnetic field. The project has spawned several replication attempts including March's, and despite some negative setbacks in a European replication, March is among the American inventors seeing positive results above the experimental threshold for error.