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·The scientists say they've created a working prototype and are testing in orbit

1. 科学家们声称他们已经做出了一个样机并且在低轨道测试中

·They've revealed plans to implement it in satellites 'as quicklyas possible'

2. 他们已经公布了“尽可能快的”装配在卫星上的计划

·They say it is 'currently in the latter stages of the proof-of-principle phase'

3. 他们声称此项技术已经“处于原理验证阶段的后期”

·EmDrive creates thrust by bouncing microwaves around a chamber

4. 电磁引擎通过在密闭空间发射并发射微波来产生推动力

·The system has caused a stir as it it 'goes against' the laws of physics

5. 该系统由于工作原理“违反经典物理定律”已经引起了反响

Scientists in China claim they’ve created a working prototype of the ‘impossible’ reactionless engine – and they say they’re already testing it in orbit aboard the Tiangong-2 space laboratory.


The radical, fuel-free EmDrive recently stirred up controversy after a paper published by a team of NASA researchers appeared to show they’d successfully built the technology.


If the physics-defying concept is brought to reality, it’s said the engine could get humans to Mars in just 10 weeks.


But now, scientists with the China Academy of Space Technology claim NASA’s results ‘re-confirm’ what they’d already achieved, and have plans to implement it in satellites ‘as quickly as possible.’


A fuel-free engine, described as 'impossible' to create, may now be a step closer to reality, according to leaked Nasa documents.
Pictured is a prototype of the EMDrive


With no fuel to eject, the EmDrive would violate Newton’s third law, which states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.


At a press conference in Beijing, however, researchers with Cast confirmed the government has been funding research into the technology since 2010, and claimed they’ve developed a device that’s already being tested in low-Earth orbit, IBTimes UK reports.


It comes just a month after anonymous sources told IBTimes UK that tests on the EmDrive were underway aboard Tiangong-2.


‘National research institutions in recent years have carried out a series of long-term, repeated tests on the EmDrive,’ Dr Chen Yue, head of the communication satellite division at Cast said at the press conference, IBTimes UK reports.


‘NASA’s published test results can be said to re-confirm the technology. We have successfully developed several specifications of multiple prototype principles.


‘The establishment of an experimental verification platform to complete the milli-level micro thrust measurement test, as well as several years of repeated experiments and investigations into corresponding interference factors, confirm that in this type of thruster, thrust exists.’


Cast is a subsidiary of the Chinese Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) and the manufacturer of Dong Fang Hong satellites.


According to Li Feng, chief designer of Cast’s communication satellite division, the team has built a prototype that so far generates just a few millinewtons of thrust, IBTimes UK reports.For it to work on a satellite, they will need to bring the levels up to something between .1-1 Newtons.


This means they will have to improve the cavity design to reduce electrical losses, and develop a solution for the placement of the microwave thruster on the satellite itself.


‘This technology is currently in the latter stages of the proof-of-principle phase, with the goal of making the technology available in satellite engineering as quickly as possible,’ Li Feng said at the conference, IBTimes reports.
‘Although it is difficult to do this, we have the confidence that we will succeed.’ 


The NASA tests managed to generate powers of 1.2 millinewtons per kilowatt (mN/Kw), 
a fraction of the current state of the art Hall ion thruster, which can achieve a massive 60 mN/Kw (illustrated)




The concept of an EmDrive engine is relatively simple.


It provides thrust to a spacecraft by bouncing microwaves around in a closed container.


Solar energy provides the electricity to power the microwaves, which means that no propellant is needed.


The implications for this could be huge. For instance, current satellites could be half the size they are today without the need to carry fuel.
Humans could also travel further into space, generating their own propulsion on the way.


But when the concept was first proposed it was considered implausible because it went against the laws of physics.
Its allegedly fuel-free nature also means the drive may directly contradict the law of conservation of momentum.


It suggests it would produce a forward-facing force without an equal and opposite force acting in the other direction.



Following the official publication of the NASA research last month, many have dismissed the results as an experimental error.
This includes advanced propulsions systems expert Brice Cassenti, who says there is likely a ‘mundane explanation’ behind the findings.

根据NASA上个月发布的官方研究结果,数据结果中有很大一部分其实是实验误差。涉及此事的高级推力系统专家Brice Cassenti说,这些发现的背后其实都是很普通的解释。

But, while the expert argues that there’s a ‘slim’ probability that the results will hold up in further investigation, he also notes that ‘it’s not zero.’


The violations seen in the EmDrive concept would ‘invalidate much of the basis for all of physics as we know it,’ Cassenti, an engineering professor at the University of Connecticut, told UConn Today.


The paper, now published in the AIAA’s Journal of Propulsion and Power, describes a series of successful tests carried out by scientists at NASA’s Eagleworks Laboratories. 


Its publication means it has been reviewed by scientists independent to the study, adding to its credibility – but, this does not necessarily mean that the results are valid.

公开发表的内容表明此项研究的科学家们独立的进行了反复核查,增加了它的可信度 --- 但是这还不能一定说明结论是有效的。

As there is no ‘plausible proven physical explanation’ for the findings as of yet, either experimentally or theoretically, the expert says the results may boil down to an experimental error.


‘I personally believe that there is a mundane explanation for the results,’ Cassenti said.
‘For example, electric currents are heating components within the Drive that expand during the experiments, causing motion that would appear as a force.




The paper, which has now been published in the AIAA’s Journal of Propulsion and Power, describes a series of successful tests carried out at Nasa’s Johnson Space Center in Texas.
It outlines a experiments with a 'closed radio frequency cavity'.


The paper describes how early tests of the system in a vacuum, recreating the conditions of the engine if were used in space.
Engineers carried out controlled bursts at 40, 60 and 80 watts, reporting that the thrust achieved in a vacuum was similar to the performance achieved in air.


The tests managed to generate powers of 1.2 millinewtons per kilowatt (mN/Kw), a fraction of the current state of the art Hall thruster, which can achieve a massive 60 mN/Kw.
But the researchers say that the lack of fuel consumption could make up for the drop in power.


The technology has been dubbed the 'warp drive' for its similarity to the fictional propulsion system seen  in the Star Trek series


‘It is very difficult to remove such effects, although the authors of the journal article tried to remove not only these thermal effects but also many other possible sources for experimental errors.’


According to Cassenti, it’s extremely difficult to be certain that all sources of error have been eliminated, and this can only be proven through independent tests of the hypothesis.
If the EmDrive results do turn out to be valid, the achievement ‘points to new physics.’


And while there have been circumstances where Newton’s laws have been found not to apply at high speeds, as in large gravitational fields and with tiny molecules, the researcher note that ‘Newton is still mostly right.’


If the physics-defying concept is brought to reality, it’s said the engine could get humans to Mars in just 10 weeks


‘Over my professional life, I have seen several of these exciting experimental or theoretical results reported in peer-reviewed literature,’ Cassenti said.
‘So far only the reality of black holes has come through. 


'So, based on my experience, the probability of this holding up under further analysis and testing appears slim. But it’s not zero.’  


Essentially, the EmDrive generates thrust by harnessing particles of light and bouncing microwaves around inside a closed chamber, shaped like a cone.


The movement generates thrust at the slim end of the cone, which drives the engine forward. 
In the new study, which tested if the device could operate in a vacuum, the researchers found that 'thrust data from forward, reverse, and null suggested that the system was consistently performing at 1.2±0.1 mN/kW1.2±0.1 mN/kW, which was very close to the average impulsive performance measured in air.'



The supporting physics model for these conditions, according to the researchers, could be a 'nonlocal hidden-variable theory, or pilot-wave theory for short' - an interpretation of quantum mechanics. 

根据研究者们所述,支持这些条件的物理模型,应该是“非局部隐变量理论,或者是导航波理论的缩略版” ——也就是量子力学的一种解释。

Many have taken interest in the findings, including one physicist who has claimed that there ‘may really be something’ in the findings – but, the cause might be something entirely different than what’s been proposed.

许多人都对发现表示了兴趣,包括一位物理学家,他声称这个发现“可能真的有点分量” —— 但这和实际的情况可能完全不一样。

Rather than the quantum vacuum theory which was initially cited in the leaked version to explain the findings, a phenomenon known as the ‘Mach effect’ could be to blame, according to Motherboard. 


By this effect, which Woodward first theorized in the 1990s, some of the force applied to an accelerating body of mass is stored as potential energy in its body rather than generating kinetic energy, according to Motherboard.


This causes fluctuations in the object’s resting mass, and this effect could be harnessed to create the type of thrust seen in the experiments.