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.

Emerging Tech

NASA’s planet hunter satellite gets first hit in its search for another Earth

NASA's planet hunter satellite TESS has discovered a new Earth-like planet. At only 62 light-years distant, the new find is much closer than the Kepler Mission's 2015 exoplanet discovery -- that one was 155 light-years distant.
Movies & TV

September brings 'The Dragon Prince,' an animated war series, to Netflix

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Gaming

These are the best Xbox One games out right now

More than four years into its lifespan, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From 'Cuphead' to 'Halo 5,' the best Xbox One games offer something for everyone.
Emerging Tech

Robot jellyfish could be used to patrol fragile coral reefs

Could schools of robotic jellyfish soon be patrolling the world’s oceans, monitoring fragile environments such as coral reefs? A team of United States researchers certainly thinks so.
Emerging Tech

Versatile robotic skin gives stuffed horse, other inanimate objects some giddyup

Researchers at Yale University have developed a new sensor-packed robot skin that can be wrapped around inanimate objects, such as toys, to transform them into functioning robots.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Click-to-brew beer, comfy headlamps, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

JackRabbot 2 is Stanford’s friendly new campus-roaming social robot

JackRabbot 2 is a robot developed by researchers at Stanford University -- designed to navigate around the campus, while carrying out friendly interactions with the humans around it.
Emerging Tech

New sustainable plan to mitigate climate change involves… a hot dog cooker?

Chemists have demonstrated a new, energy-efficient method of pulling carbon dioxide directly from the air. The secret ingredients? An air humidifier and a solar-powered hot dog cooker.
Emerging Tech

Removing ‘zombie cells’ in the brain could help battle the effects of dementia

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have demonstrated how the removal of so-called "zombie cells" can help reverse the effects of dementia-style cognitive decline in mice. Here's what they did.
Emerging Tech

From flying for fun to pro filmmaking, these are the best drones you can buy

In just the past few years, drones have transformed from a geeky hobbyist affair to a full-on cultural phenomenon. Here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now, no matter what kind of flying you plan to do.
Emerging Tech

New mask-mounted head-up display gives Navy combat divers tactical advantage

Divers are often forced to work in low-light conditions where visibility is limited or all-but nonexistent. In order to help solve this problem, the Navy has developed a new head-up display known as Shadow Nav.
Emerging Tech

Roll over, SpotMini — here comes the ALMA robo-dog

If two robo-dogs met on the street, would one try to sniff the mechanical components at the rear of the other? We have no idea, but with at least two different rob-dogs now making real advances, we may soon find out.
Emerging Tech

A Japanese spacecraft just landed two rovers on an asteroid

Japan's space agency has succeeded in landing two rovers on the surface of an asteroid around 200 million miles from Earth. The deployment is part of a bold mission aimed at unlocking some of the mysteries of our solar system.