The Em Drive, a controversial piece of technology that allegedly creates thrust without propellant, is at the center of the plot of the current TV ShowSalvation.” A commercial space entrepreneur named Darius Tanz, loosely based on Elon Musk is building the device to save the Earth from an impending collision with a giant asteroid. No one could be more excited by the use of the EM drive as a plot device than the inventor of the technology, Roger Shawyer, according to the International Business Times.

Just like the real thing

Shawyer, who has been working on versions of the EM drive since the early part of this century, believes that the device depicted on the show is based on a version that was tested last year by NASA’s Eagleworks lab at the Johnson Spaceflight Center.

To be sure, the EM drive in the TV show is far more advanced than anything tested in the real world. One scene has the prototype floating in the air from the generated thrust. Real world EM drives have emitted minute but measurable thrust that so far cannot be accounted for experimental error or anything else besides the action of the device.

Shawyer is not getting credit, though

However, Shawyer noted that he is not being given credit on the show as the inventor of the Em drive. He believes that the writers are not even aware that it is a British invention. Nevertheless, he is pleased to see the technology being showcased on a major American network series.

Could the EM drive save us from an asteroid strike?

Shawyer points to a paper that suggested the use of an EM drive as a means for asteroid diversion. Since the device, in theory, would provide constant thrust so long as a power source is turned on, it could send a spacecraft to an oncoming asteroid quickly and then could be used to push it into another course, missing the Earth entirely.

Of course, all that depends on the technology working at a big enough scale to propel a spacecraft. Many scientists, despite the positive experimental results at Eagleworks and other placed, believe that the technology violates known physical laws. An object cannot gain momentum without propellant being expelled in the opposite direction.

The EM drive is alleged to work by bouncing microwave energy inside a reflective cavity, Shawyer and some physicists believe that the technology can be explained by advanced physics. Whatever the case is, Shawyer is working on a third generation of the EM drive and rumors persist that so are the Chinese and the United States Air Force.