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When cooled to extremely low temperatures, electromagnets demonstrate an unusual behavior: For the first few nanoseconds after electricity is applied to them, they vibrate. David Goodwin, a program manager at the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of High Energy and Nuclear Physics, proposes that if this vibration can be contained in one direction, it could provide enough of a jolt to send spacecraft farther and faster into space than any other propulsion method in development.
In the mid-1990s, Goodwin chaired a session for NASA's Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Project, which is working to design propulsion systems that have no propellant, use a very high energy system and can eventually overcome inertia.
The U.S. Department of Energy also is working on plans for a nuclear space reactor for NASA. Goodwin believes that this reactor could be used to power the electromagnetic-propulsion system. The DOE is working to secure funding from NASA, and a 300-kilowatt reactor could be ready by 2006. The propulsion system would be configured to convert the thermal power generated by the reactor into electric power.
"For deep space, Mars and beyond, you pretty much need to go nuclear if you are going to move any mass," Goodwin said.
Skeptics of such a system say that all Goodwin will accomplish is to vibrate the magnet very rapidly, but it won't go anywhere. Goodwin admits that there's no evidence yet that his propulsion system will work. "It is highly speculative, and on my most wildly optimistic days, I think there's one chance in 10 that it might work," said Goodwin.
Originally posted by EasyPleaseMe
reply to post by Vasa Croe
Check out EMDrive for a real working EM drive. This guys research has been funded by the UK government.
Chinese university replication paper (pdf)
Apparently he has undertaken a 'Technology Transfer' to Boeing.
Here is a presentation (pdf) on his 2nd generation system.
Originally posted by Druscilla
All the talk about ETs is speculative since we've yet to have any confirming evidence that such things are in fact ET as opposed to just being some other unexplained and possibly as of yet understood natural phenomenon.
Regarding propulsion systems, it was my understanding that the next big investment in high-energy propulsion, especially as to how it applies to nuclear energy would be the Fusion Rocket, which to my understanding is on the table as a potential real candidate for space travel.
A 6 month journey to Mars could be cut down to 6 weeks with a Fusion Rocket.
Then, there's that whole thing with the Warp Drive if the problem with energy requirements and a few other engineering hurdles can be gotten over.
Originally posted by justwokeup
In the mean time, while awaiting more exotic concepts we could be using:
Nuclear Thermal (en.wikipedia.org...)
Nuclear VASIMR (www.adastrarocket.com...)
In realistic timescales we need to get over the PR problems with fission reactors in space or we aren't accomplishing much.
Originally posted by Angelic Resurrection
reply to post by Druscilla
Yes. Warp drive essentially gravitic/ time propulsion and would be a great candidate
for future space travel.