Episode 1 of "Salvation" set up the asteroid coming to destroy the Earth scenario. Episode 2 has our intrepid heroes setting about Saving The World in earnest. As Entertainment Weekly reports, the cast of the CBS series has a spiffy new technology that was unavailable either to Bruce Willis or President Morgan Freeman in the two 1998 Save The World from cosmic catastrophe movies. The technology is called the Em Drive, a real world device that some suggest will revolutionize space travel and other say violate the laws of physics. Also, the technology may be easy but dealing with government bureaucracy is hard.

What is the EM drive?

The EM drive is purported to create thrust by emitting microwaves inside a resonating cavity. The idea was first proposed by a British aerospace engineer named Robert Shawyer. The problem with the EM drive is that, unlike a rocket, it does not expel propellant to create thrust. That such a device would create thrust violates known laws of physics.

However, tests of the device by various labs, including Eagleworks at NASA’s Johnson Spaceflight Center, have demonstrated that EM drive creates thrust.

Moreover, the researchers have not divined whether an experimental error caused the thrust. Questions remain as the observed thrust was tiny and doubts remain as to whether the device could be scaled up to be a practical space engine. On the other hand, rumors persist that the United States Air Force and the Chinese have tested an EM drive in space.

Meanwhile, the technology may be easy, but the bureaucracy is hard

In previous movies in which a big rock is coming to hit the Earth, the United States government is fully engaged in the project to stop the catastrophe.

In the world of “Salvation,” bureaucratic rules start to get in the way. When Darius, the high tech billionaire who has been tasked with saving the world, presents his wish list, the government gives him less than what he needs. The world may be less than half a year from destruction, but the Defense Department cannot part with too much money without consulting Congress. DOD cannot ask Congress for the money without the news that the world is coming to an end leaking to the media and causing a panic.

As for the quantity of fissionable material Darius needs, the answer is not a chance under any circumstances.

Salvation” could become one of the funniest satires on the nature of government bureaucracy ever made. However, the series aspires to be a straight techno-thriller that features the government behaving irrationally even in the face of total destruction. The two story lines do not altogether mesh.

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