Since the dawn of mankind, the night sky has fascinated us. We love to look at the stars, watch astronomical phenomena, and even indulge in science fiction fantasies about Space Travel. During the Cold War period, we prevailed in the great space race against Russia to put the first person on the moon, but soon after, the hype surrounding space travel tapered away, and we never traveled to the moon again. Talk of colonizing Mars has been abuzz since the discovery of ice at Mars' poles, yet we have sent little more than a rover to survey the planet.

Problems with space travel

Space travel is taxing on the body. Prolonged time in zero gravity can result in loss of muscle mass, decreased immune system, and even vision problems.

Due to these issues, the idea of a mission to Mars, which would take roughly six months each way, is simply not appealing. It would place too much stress on the astronauts’ bodies to be practical. But where are the fancy space ships we’ve grown up seeing in the movie theaters? The Millennium Falcon, with its hyper drive capability? The Enterprise, with its warp drive?

What is the EmDrive?

While we are far from the incredible (and likely impossible) speeds of the spacecrafts in popular culture, a new type of spaceship drive has recently come to light, and it could make the trip to Mars in only ten weeks. This revolutionary drive, the EmDrive, is very real, very fast, and very cool. The EmDrive has a cone-like structure which bounces microwaves within it, thus creating a thrust, but without any exhaust.

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This is the puzzling part, for physicists at NASA, and the reason the EmDrive has just become relevant, though the theory behind it has been around for years. Isaac Newton stated that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, which is the foundation of physics. Rockets have exhaust, which pushes them forward. Yet the EmDrive was tested at NASA and shown to truly have thrust with no exhaust, which should be impossible. Due to this confusing reality, NASA is conducting extensive testing on the drive, to ensure its safety for use and to study what has been nicknamed “the impossible engine.”

If the EmDrive is cleared for takeoff, space travel will get a lot faster and a lot greener, since the EmDrive could theoretically be powered completely by solar power rather than the expensive and hard to come by hydrogen fuel of modern rockets. While the laws of physics will definitely need to be revisited, the possibilities are endless with the EmDrive. Maybe science fiction could become the new reality, as it often does.