Elon Musk & NASA FINALLY Reveal New Light Speed Engine: We have continuously adapted and overcome any difficulties as a scientific community when it comes to space exploration. Yet, despite these achievements, there has always been a seemingly impossible task that we only dreamed about, light speed!
We’ve found a way to peer into the cosmos, we’ve landed a man on the moon, we’ve sent probes beyond our solar system, we’ve done all these remarkable feats of engineering in a couple of decades, but despite these achievements, there has always been a seemingly impossible task that we only dreamed about, light speed!
We can research exoplanets and send probes into the limitless beyond. Still, we’ve never been able to glimpse the wonders of the universe up close, although the nearest galactic neighbor, Proxima Centauri b, is 4.25 light-years away.
There would take us 6 300 years to reach it with present technology. The awful fact is that everything worth understanding in our cosmos, or so we assumed, is beyond our lifespan. NASA just announced that their new rocket engine could travel at 99 percent the speed of light.
If this is true, a new era of space travel has begun. The speed of light is primarily used as the most preferred unit to measure distance in space. To be clear, the speed of light is estimated to be 299 million 792 458 meters per second, a speed that seems only possible in Star Wars, but if you think about it, the speed of sound seemed nearly impossible to reach at one point as well.
Now, we have a jet that can quadruple that speed; but, the rate of sound and the speed of light are vastly different. Space is just too ample; with current technology, reaching anything in space takes a significant period of time; even reaching our nearest nearby stars and planets would take years.
To put that into perspective, if the new frontiers spacecraft, which reached Pluto at a speed of 58 000 kilometers per hour, were utilized to fly to Alpha Centauri, it would take no less than 78 000 years. It takes us a week to go to the moon, so picture attempting to get to another star.
If we truly want to explore space and be true pioneers, we need a better means of traveling. Traveling at the speed of light would take us to the moon in a fraction of a second, to Mars in a few hours, and finally to the stars above, but speed is only one of the problems we’d face; we’d also have to worry about fuel and how much of it we’d need to navigate through the cosmos, which is where the problem lies.
Not only would this light engine need to be fast, consuming a significant amount of fuel, but it would also need to be able to conserve enough energy to last for years. While a fuelless engine is not an entirely new concept, previous attempts at such machines have been made.
In the late 1970s, a US inventor named Robert Cook patented an engine that converted centrifugal force into linear motion. In the early 2000s, a British inventor named Roger Sawyer proposed them drive, claiming to convert trapped microwaves into thrust.
The m drive, in particular, was dubbed the impossible engine because it is essentially a container with microwaves bouncing around inside it, supposedly moving due to these bouncy microwaves. Nobody truly understands how it’s meant to function since the explanations go beyond our present knowledge of physics.
It’s possible that our understanding of physics is flawed or that testing this device will reveal some previously unknown laws of physics. In 2001, some research groups claimed to have measured a net force coming from their devices, but what they measured had such a small effect that it couldn’t move a piece of paper. This inefficiency will become a recurring problem for all these would-be impolite people.
Since the prototype’s inception, scientists have discovered that the inefficiency of these engines outweighs their utility. To generate any significant thrust in the helical engine, we’d have to build a megastructure the size of a skyscraper.
However, David Burns, a NASA engineer who has been working on this problem in his own time, claims to have created an engine idea that can potentially accelerate to 99 percent the speed of light. Amazing! That’s true, but it gets better: this engine wouldn’t even need propellant to do this.
On October 11th, 2019, the engine was suggested to NASA and made public. He calls it the helix engine in his article, and he goes into great detail on how this futuristic ship can be pushed into orbit using in-space engines that don’t require any fuel. So, how does this new helical engine work?
The helical engine exploits a flaw in Einstein’s Indian theory by speeding a loop of ions to near light speed and then adjusting their velocity and mass according to the rules of relativity, allowing the engine to go ahead without needing to fire anything out behind it. This is where things get a little tricky.
According to Burns, the engine may be understood by looking at the diagram below. Consider putting a ring in a box that bounces in one way while recoiling in the other direction; when the ring within the box reaches the end, springing backward, the recoil direction of the box is also modified.
The box would wriggle back and forth in normal circumstances, but because both the box and the ring are traveling at the speed of light, by the time the ring reaches the end of the box, its mass will have increased as it travels faster while bouncing back, resulting in forward momentum.
While this engine would not require propellant, it would necessitate the use of a particle accelerator as well as ion particles. The spaceship is supposed to launch into space with any fuel by utilizing the mass shifting phenomena near light speed.
Technically, since the engine is stated to travel at the speed of light, this may work to describe the rules of physics. However, the moment David Burns’ paper was published, it caused a massive uproar among the entire space community.
Some have claimed that the very foundation of this new engine may be violating the laws of physics. In contrast, others argue that the engine concept is excellent but only on paper and that it would be impossible to build an engine large enough and powerful enough to work.
Both the drive and Robert Cook’s engine were never successfully demonstrated, and both violated the conservation laws. The concept of conservation of momentum is a fundamental physics principle that asserts that in the absence of any physical forces, a system’s momentum remains constant.
With that said, a helical engine should not be viable, but there’s always the particular relativity loophole. Unlike the other machines, the helical engine takes advantage of special relativity, which states that when an object approaches the speed of light, it accumulates mass.
Burns envisions replacing the box and ring in his picture with a helix-shaped accelerator that generates a net push in a selected direction. The engine would then accelerate the ions in the loop to a moderate relativistic speed before varying their velocities to alter and change their mass.
The engine produces thrust by moving the ions back and forth in the direction of movement. The engine would have no moving parts except for the ions going in a vacuum line while being confined inside electric and magnetic fields. The concept has yet to be reviewed and tested, and many are already debating whether or not it will be a success.
If it shows promise and proves to succeed, many-core physical laws will be called into question. Others argue that it will not necessarily defy the laws but rather expand our understanding of the laws of physics. Before you become too thrilled, bear in mind that there will always be some challenges with anything new, especially anything that hasn’t been done before.
When it comes to the NASA helical engine, there are many things to consider. The bare minimum size of the machine to work would have to be 200 meters long and 12 meters wide, which would make it unsuitable for space travel.
It would also have to be extremely powerful, requiring nearly 165 megawatts of power to generate a single neutron of thrust, which is a lot of effort. Simply put, it is an inefficient engine that would require a frictionless environment of space to reach any meaningful speeds.
Still, if there was enough time and power, this machine could use Einstein’s special relativity to reach near light speed. As of right now, the helical engine is still just on paper, but it certainly opens up new avenues.
Perhaps with enough resources and manpower, NASA could give this engine a serious try; who knows if it succeeds. Thank you for sticking with me to the end; comment down below. What do you think about this new light speed engine which is being proposed?
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Information Source: Youtube – Tech Bombs