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A NASA engineer has proposed an alternative for space travel that could send a craft hurdling through space 'close to light speed'.
Called a helical engine, this concept suggests pushing a particle accelerator back and forth along a helix, with the mass increasing as it moves in the forward direction and decreasing as it bounces backward.
Design - Thrust - Percent - Speed - Light
The design is capable of producing a thrust up to 99 percent the speed of light without breaking Einstein's theory of relativity, but breaches Newton's law of motion.
David Burns of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama has attempted 'to define an in-space propulsion engine that does not expend propellant'.
Someone - Shot - Burns - New - Scientist
'If someone says it doesn't work, I'll be the first to say, it was worth a shot,' Burns told New Scientist.
'You have to be prepared to be embarrassed. It is very difficult to invent something that is new under the sun and actually works.'
Concept - Ring - Box - Direction - Box
The concept describes a ring inside a box that is sprung in one direction, while the box recoils in the other – just as Isaac Newton's laws of motion say they should.
When the ring hits the end of the box, it will then bounce backwards, ultimately switching the direction in which the box recoils.
Albert - Einstein - Theory - Relativity - Box
According to Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity, if the box and ring are travelling near the speed of light, the ring approaches the front end of the box it will increase in mass because it's going faster than when it's going backwards - so it'll hit harder, resulting in forward momentum.
However, Burns have noted that...
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