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The universe we live in is a place of vastness beyond human conception. It has principles of operation that can be divined by observation, analysis, and calculation. It is the goal of this organization to attempt to set an order to those principles in a fashion that results in the unification of the principles into a coherent calculable science.

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NASA's EMDrive actually appears to work

A German scientist​ has confirmed that NASA's inexplicable new propulsion system actually does work. Despite being branded as 'impossible' by most scientists, NASA's electromagnetic propulsion engine has been attracting a lot of interest in recent months as a possible successor to the chemical engines traditionally used in deep space probes and other spacecraft.

Now German scientist Martin Tajmar, an expert in debunking questionable propulsion methods, claims that he has tested the device himself and found that it does actually work.

"Our measurements reveal thrusts as expected from previous claims after carefully studying thermal and electromagnetic interferences," he said. "If true, this could certainly revolutionize space travel."

EMDrive allegedly works by converting electrical power in to thrust without the need for propellant through a process that scientists argue is in direct violation of the laws of physics.

"My insight is that the EMDrive is complete crap and a waste of time," said physicist Sean M. Carroll. "I'm going to spend my time thinking about ideas that don't violate conservation of momentum."

Despite widespread skepticism however EmDrive appears to be here to stay and if it does what it claims it does then it could lead to a whole new chapter in humanity's exploration of the solar system.

Recent media coverage on the topic has speculated that with electromagnetic propulsion it may be possible to reach the moon in only four hours and Pluto in just 18 months.

Did you know...

Mock mirage of the setting sun
  • ...that your watch would run slower when orbiting a black hole than it would on Earth?
  • ...that Aristotle's ideas of physics held that because an object could not move without an immediate source of energy, arrows created a vacuum behind them that pushed them through the air.
  • ...that nuclear fusion reactions are probably occurring at or above the sun's photosphere; it is a process called solar surface fusion.
Artist's depiction of the WMAP satellite measuring the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation to help scientists understand the Big Bang
  • ...that neutron stars are so dense that a teaspoonful (5 mL) would have ten times the mass of all human world population?
  • ...that every year, the Moon moves 3.82 cm away from Earth?
  • ...that Neptune was discovered by its gravitational pull on Uranus?

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Lunar Charge Protection
A 2-dimensional slice of a 3-d simulation of the ion charge density just above the moon's surface. Image Credit: J. Deca, A. Divin, G. Lapenta, B. Lembège, S. Markidis, and M. Horányi/PRL/APS

The Sun constantly sends out high-energy charged particles in all directions — a stream of plasma known as the solar wind. Here on Earth, we have a strong magnetic field that deflects these particles before they hit us. Without this protection, life on Earth would not have evolved to its current state.

Smaller objects, however, don't have the benefit of a strong magnetic field or atmosphere. The moon's lack of a significant atmosphere, for instance, has contributed to the many impact craters that litter the lunar surface.

The moon also lacks an intrinsic magnetic field, so it's not protected from bombardments from the solar wind. Nonetheless, there's still magnetic activity on the lunar surface in the form of Lunar Magnetic Anomalies (LMA). Some research has suggested that these magnetic fields on the surface — some of which can stretch for hundreds of kilometers — arose from impacts by foreign objects.

To create the image above, Jan Deca (KU Leuven in Belgium) and his team created simulations of the solar wind's interactions with these anomalies. The image above represents a horizontal slice of the ion density above the lunar surface where an LMA was present after it was hit with solar wind. Red indicates a higher relative density and blue represents a lower relative density.

From their simulations, the research team found that these magnetic anomalies can create mini-magnetospheres that do shield parts of the lunar surface from the solar wind. Nonetheless, this shielding proved ephemeral in the simulations and may not provide reliable protection to future lunar explorers and their scientific equipment. The team published their results earlier this spring in Physical Review Letters.

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