NASA's EmDrive thruster just took an important leap forward

The dream of the EmDrive, a futuristic space propulsion engine capable of getting us to Mars in a matter of weeks, may sound like science-fiction — but it’s just taken one big leap toward being science-fact.

That’s because a paper describing how it can achieve thrust has reportedly passed the peer review process and is all set to be published by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ AIAA Journal of Propulsion and Power.

Written by scientists at the NASA Eagleworks Laboratories, the paper’s successful passing of rigorous academic scrutiny was confirmed by independent scientist Dr. José Rodal on NASA’s Spaceflight forum — only for the comment to be quickly deleted.

The paper is entitled “Measurement of Impulsive Thrust from a Closed Radio Frequency Cavity in Vacuum.” It’s exciting because it suggests that EmDrive technology is getting closer than ever. Engineer Paul March of NASA’s experimental Eagleworks Laboratories confirmed that a paper on EmDrive was going ahead earlier this year, but he didn’t sound too much hopeful when he noted that “peer reviews are glacially slow.”

For those unfamiliar with it, the propellantless propulsion system EmDrive was first designed by aerospace engineer Roger Shawyer back in 2001 — offering a way to make aircraft lighter, faster, and (possibly) cheaper since they won’t have to carry fuel. The reason for skepticism in some quarters has come because it appears to defy Newton’s conservation of momentum law, stating that an object won’t move unless some outside force is applied.

That skepticism has made even respected publications like New Scientist question how much space they should be dedicating to a concept which seems to defy much of what we know about the way the physical world works.

Hopefully, the publishing of a peer-reviewed article on EmDrive will answer a few more of those questions.

Wearables

Lack of regulation means wearables aren’t held accountable for their health claims

As fitness trackers become more like health monitors, some physicians are concerned they can lead to over-diagnosis of non-existent problems. It’s already happening with wearable baby monitors.
Web

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. With so many subreddits, however, navigating the "front page of the internet" can be daunting. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.
Mobile

Rekindled yet again, Nokia’s next-gen phones offer more than just nostalgia

HMD Global, a startup that designs and builds Nokia Android smartphones, wants to put the Nokia brand name back “where it belongs.” It helps that it’s made up of ex-Nokia employees. We go behind the scenes to see how HMD formed.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: heat-powered watches, phone cases with reflexes

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.
Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Emerging Tech

Want to know which drones are flying near you? There’s an app for that

Want to know what that mysterious drone buzzing over your head is up to? A new system developed by AirMap, Google Wing, and Kittyhawk.io could soon tell you -- via a map on your phone.
Emerging Tech

A Japanese hotel fires half its robot staff for being bad at their jobs

Japan’s oddball Henn na Hotel has fired half of its 243 robot staff. The reason? Because these labor-saving machines turned out to be causing way more problems than they were solving.
Emerging Tech

CERN plans to build a massive particle collider that dwarfs the LHC

CERN already has the world's biggest particle accelerator. Now it wants a bigger one. Meet the 9 billion euro Future Circular Collider that will allow physicists to extend their study of the universe and matter at the smallest level.
Emerging Tech

Forget fireworks. Japan will soon have artificial meteor showers on tap

Tokyo-based startup Astro Live Experiences is preparing to launch its first artificial meteor shower over Japan, serving as a showcase of its prowess in the space entertainment sector.
Cars

Robomart’s self-driving grocery store is like Amazon Go on wheels

Robomart's driverless vehicle is like an Amazon Go store on wheels, with sensors tracking what you grab from the shelves. If you don't want to shop online or visit the grocery store yourself, Robomart will bring the store to you.
Emerging Tech

Glowing space billboards could show ads in the night sky

Look up at the night sky in 2020 and you might see an ad for McDonald's floating among the stars. A Russian startup is working on a project that uses a constellation of small satellites in low-Earth orbit to create glowing ads.
Emerging Tech

New brainwave reader tells teachers if students are concentrating

Massachusetts-based startup BrainCo has developed brainwave-reading headbands which can reportedly help reveal if students are concentrating in class. Here's how they're being used.
Emerging Tech

Fears about kids’ screen use may have been overblown, Oxford researchers find

Many people take it as gospel that digital technologies are harmful to young people’s mental health. But is this true? A recent study from the University of Oxford takes a closer look.