There's been a story percolating around the internet that NASA may have accidentally discovered, or have created, a "space warp" in its tests of the EM engine. This was one of those stories that many of you noticed and sent various articles to me, and it does require paying attention to, both for what is said, and is not said. First, let's look at a couple of the more popular presentations of the story, one of which, incidentally, is from Russia's Sputnik website in its English language version:
Now, according to Sputnik, the process was discovered when laser interferometers were fired through the field produced by the so-called EM drive, during which it was observed that the lasers were traveling faster than light, and producing the type of intereference pattern that would be produced by a "warp bubble":
"According to posts on NASASpaceFlight.com, a website devoted to the engineering side of space news, when lasers were fired through the EmDrive’s resonance chamber, some of the beams appeared to travel faster than the speed of light.
"If that’s true, it would mean that the EmDrive is producing a warp field or bubble.
Mysterious Universe pulled the following comment from a space forum after the tests:
“That’s the big surprise. This signature (the interference pattern) on the EmDrive looks just like what a warp bubble looks like. And the math behind the warp bubble apparently matches the interference pattern found in the EmDrive.”
Now note that the Sputnik article references the one from Mysterious Univese, and that Mysterious Universe references the observation is being made by commentators on the story:
"Which brings us to today’s warp field buzz. Posts on NASASpaceFlight.com, a website devoted to the engineering side of space news, say that NASA has a tool to measure variances in the path-time of light. When lasers were fired through the EmDrive’s resonance chamber, it measured significant variances and, more importantly, found that some of the beams appeared to travel faster than the speed of light. If that’s true, it would mean that the EmDrive is producing a warp field or bubble. Here’s a comment from a space forum following the tests.
"'That’s the big surprise. This signature (the interference pattern) on the EmDrive looks just like what a warp bubble looks like. And the math behind the warp bubble apparently matches the interference pattern found in the EmDrive.'" (Emphasis added)
So, the story really boils down to a comment made by someone on a forum, not by NASA itself. Nothing to see here, move along. Right?
Well, true enough, as far as it goes, for the Mysterious Universe article ends with this recommendation, which makes perfect sense:
"To prove that the warp effect was not caused by atmospheric heating, the test will be replicated in a vacuum. If the same results are achieved, it seems to mean that the EmDrive is producing a warp field, which could ultimately lead to the development of a warp drive."
So Sputnik is simply copying the Mysterious Universe article. Nothing to see here. Move along.
But things begin to get really interesting when one turns to this article, which reviews the whole development much more thoroughly:
Now notice something: when the first tests were made on the EM drive, the tests were not performed in hard vacuum, and hence some physicists and scientists objected that the results being obtained with th EM engine were simply due to thermal heating, and that no thrust in hard vacuum could be possible, since the quantum medium itself is assumed to be "frameless" and hence, one cannot "push agsinst it". The trouble is, the tests of the EM engine have now been performed in a hard vacuum, and the device is still producing thrust:
"The tests reported by Dr. White’s team in July 2014 were not conducted in a vacuum, and none of the tests reported by Prof. Yang in China or Mr. Shawyer in the UK were conducted in a vacuum either.
"The scientific community met these NASA tests with skepticism and a number of physicists proposed that the measured thrust force in the US, UK, and China tests was more likely due to (external to the EM Drive cavity) natural thermal convection currents arising from microwave heating (internal to the EM Drive cavity).
"However, Paul March, an engineer at NASA Eagleworks, recently reported in NASASpaceFlight.com’s forum (on a thread now over 500,000 views) that NASA has successfully tested their EM Drive in a hard vacuum – the first time any organization has reported such a successful test.
"To this end, NASA Eagleworks has now nullified the prevailing hypothesis that thrust measurements were due to thermal convection."
Assuming for the sake of argument that this is true, then an important question is raised:
"After consistent reports of thrust measurements from EM Drive experiments in the US, UK, and China – at thrust levels several thousand times in excess of a photon rocket, and now under hard vacuum conditions – the question of where the thrust is coming from deserves serious inquiry."
With this in hand, consider carefully the end of the article:
"For the last three years, Dr. White’s team has been conducting experiments to find out whether it is possible to measure, with an interferometer, a distortion of spacetime produced by time-varying electromagnetic fields.
"The ultimate goal is to find out whether it is possible for a spacecraft traveling at conventional speeds to achieve effective superluminal speed by contracting space in front of it and expanding space behind it. The experimental results so far had been inconclusive.
"During the first two weeks of April of this year, NASA Eagleworks may have finally obtained conclusive results. This time they used a short, cylindrical, aluminum resonant cavity excited at a natural frequency of 1.48 GHz with an input power of 30 Watts.
"This is essentially a pill-box shaped EM Drive, with much higher electric-field intensity, aligned in the axial direction. The interferometer’s laser light goes through small holes in the EM Drive.
"Over 27,000 cycles of data (each 1.5 sec cycle energizing the system for 0.75 sec and de-energizing it for 0.75 sec) were averaged to obtain a power spectrum that revealed a signal frequency of 0.65 Hz with amplitude clearly above system noise. Four additional tests were successfully conducted that demonstrated repeatability.
"One possible explanation for the optical path length change is that it is due to refraction of the air. The NASA team examined this possibility and concluded that it is not likely that the measured change is due to transient air heating because the experiment’s visibility threshold is forty times larger than the calculated effect from air considering atmospheric heating.
"Encouraged by these results, NASA Eagleworks plans to next conduct these interferometer tests in a vacuum." (Emphases added)
In other words, using their laser interferometers, NASA has concluded that the path changes of laser light were beyond the margins of change by refraction, and due to the presence of something else, a "space-time" bubble or "warp" perhaps, but the only way to test this theory is to conduct the interferometry experiment in a hard vacuum.
In other words, the story is that NASA may have discovered small "space-time warps" in its tests of the EM drives... maybe, but it is still too early to predict.
So what's my high octane speculation here? It's quite simple, if one really looks at what is being said here, and that implication may be gleaned by asking a simple question: if they are trying to find evidence of a space warp via interferometry in the EM drive(or even just to test the feasibility of the drive for space travel, with or without space warps), and if such effects could only be truly verifiable by tests in a hard vacuum, then why bother with tests that are not in a hard vacuum to begin with? Why not just "cut to the chase" so to speak? The article implies one answer, namely, that if such effects were observable, then some fundamental conceptions would have to be rethought completely:
"A note of caution is that Dr. White’s simulations do not assume that the Quantum Vacuum is indestructible and immutable. The mainstream physics community assumes the Quantum Vacuum is indestructible and immutable because of the experimental observation that a fundamental particle like an electron (or a positron) has the same properties (e.g. mass, charge or spin), regardless of when or where the particle was created, whether now or in the early universe, through astrophysical processes or in a laboratory."
But leaving this aside, the fundamental questions remain: why were these tests not performed in a hard vacuum to begin with? My high octane speculation of the day is that they probably were, and that they might have indicated the same results (requiring that fundamental re-think), and that's the real rub, for that rethink would imply that the public consumption physics is fundamentally flawed, and that certain people have known about it for some time.That would also be by implication a disclosure of a whole black projects world and its hidden projects (and science). Additionally, that "rethink" would have far-reaching implications, not the least of which would be for potential weaponization, and that is the problem. There's another problem, though, represented by this line of thinking, and that is that if such experiments were already conducted in the vacuum, then their results were probably already highly classified. Thus, what we may be looking at is a controlled, slow drip disclosure of information. The real news will be what those experiments in hard vacuum show, and if the genuine results will be disclosed. For the moment, the cat is out of the bag with the EM drive, and will be very hard to put back in. So a real positive result in hard vacuum that is repeatable and confirmed will be a huge news item, if and when it does occur. And if and when it does, than on that day human history will have changed in a far more fundamental way than the discovery of nuclear fission. Making that discovery, if and when it does occur, will of course be a far cry from actual practical application. But by the same token, it's worth recalling that it was a mere seven years (or six years, if you accept the revisionist theory of a Nazi atom bomb test in 1944), from the discovery of nuclear fission to actual functioning a-bombs. And it's worth recalling DARPA's goal of having the USA be warp capable in 100 years. Perhaps they know something we don't, and perhaps what they know is related to this strange story, with experiments strangely performed in such a way - i.e., not in a hard vacuum - as to be of no value whatsoever in determining the feasibility of EM drive for space travel. the other possibility? Well, that's implied by the speculation itself: suppose such tests were conducted, and proved either positive (or conversely, negative). One way to bury the story would be to simply release nagative results (if those results were genuine, or, if not, cooking the books to make it look that way). So the real focus here will have to be on independent testers, and on their ability to report and duplicate results in hard vacuum.
See you on the flip side...