NASA engineer proposes controversial fuel-less engine that ‘violates the laws of physics’ – Daily Mail

NASA engineer proposes controversial fuel-less engine that ‘violates the laws of physics’ – Daily Mail

NASA engineer proposes controversial particle accelerator fuel-less engine to power space craft at nearly the speed of light

  • Helical engine is fuel-less and uses  a particle accelerator – instead of a weight
  • Capable of producing a forward thrust up to 99 percent the speed of light 
  • However, it breaches Newton’s law of motion – violating the laws of physics 

A NASA engineer has proposed an alternative for space travel that could send a craft hurdling through space ‘close to light speed’.

Called a helical engine, this concept suggests pushing a particle accelerator back and forth along a helix, with the mass increasing as it moves in the forward direction and decreasing as it bounces backward.

The design is capable of producing a thrust up to 99 percent the speed of light without breaking Einstein’s theory of relativity, but breaches Newton’s law of motion. 

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The helical engine (diagram shown here) suggests pushing a particle accelerator back and forth along a helix, with the mass increasing as it moves in the forward direction and decreasing as it bounces backward.

David Burns of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama has attempted ‘to define an in-space propulsion engine that does not expend propellant’.

‘If someone says it doesn’t work, I’ll be the first to say, it was worth a shot,’ Burns told New Scientist.

EINSTEIN’S THEORY OF RELATIVITY 

The  theory of special relativity was published in 1905 and explains how motion and speed is always relative to the observer’s frame of reference.

The theory connects measurements of the same physical incident viewed from these different points in a way that depends on the relative velocity of observers.

As well as this, relativity introduced the concept of time dilation, which suggests that the faster you travel, the more time seems to slow.

However, special relativity breaks down if two observers relative velocity – the difference between their respective speeds – approaches the speed of light.

‘You have to be prepared to be embarrassed. It is very difficult to invent something that is new under the sun and actually works.’

The concept describes a ring inside a box that is sprung in one direction, while the box recoils in the other – just as Isaac Newton’s laws of motion say they should.

When the ring hits the end of the box, it will then bounce backwards, ultimately switching the direction in which the box recoils.

According to Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, if the box and ring are travelling near the speed of light, the ring approaches the front end of the box it will increase in mass because it’s going faster than when it’s going backwards – so it’ll hit harder, resulting in forward momentum.

However, Burns have noted that even though it would be able to produce a forward thrust up to 99 percent the speed of light without going again Einstein’s theory, this technology breaches Newton’s law of motion – that an action always has an opposite and equal reaction. 

In addition to breaking the laws of physics, Burns said the engine would have to be 656 feet long and 39 feet wide to be successful.

And to add another hurdle to this design, the helical engine could only working properly in a frictionless environment, which is only found in deep space.

‘I know that it risks being right up there with the EM drive and cold fusion,’ Burns told New Scientist.

The design is capable of producing a thrust up to 99 percent the speed of light without breaking Einstein's (pictured) theory of relativity, but breaches Newton's law of motion

However, NASA engineer, David Burns, pictured, understands the challenges of this engine and how it viloates the laws of physics

The design, created by David burns (right), is capable of producing a thrust up to 99 percent the speed of light without breaking Einstein’s (left) theory of relativity, but breaches Newton’s law of motion

‘But you have to be prepared to be embarrassed. It is very difficult to invent something that is new under the sun and actually works.’

Einstein’s theory of relativity was published in 1905 and explains how motion and speed is always relative to the observer’s frame of reference.

The theory connects measurements of the same physical incident viewed from these different points in a way that depends on the relative velocity of observers.

In addition to breaking the laws of physics, Burns said the engine would have to be 656 feet long and 39 feet wide to be successful. And to add another hurdle to this design, the helical engine could only working properly in a frictionless environment (concept drawing)

In addition to breaking the laws of physics, Burns said the engine would have to be 656 feet long and 39 feet wide to be successful. And to add another hurdle to this design, the helical engine could only working properly in a frictionless environment (concept drawing)

As well as this, relativity introduced the concept of time dilation, which suggests that the faster you travel the more time seems to slow.

However, special relativity breaks down if two observers relative velocity – the difference between their respective speeds – approaches the speed of light.

According to the mass-energy equivalence formula E = mc2, an object travelling at c would have infinite mass and would therefore require an infinite amount of energy to reach c.

 


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